Kendra Leigh Photography and Video

Giving an Old Chair a Facelift

DIY, Photography PropsKendra HillComment

I like to think I am crafty. The truth is, while I enjoy crafting on occasion, I am not very good at it. I usually start a project and find out it takes a LOT longer than I expected and doesn't turn out, then I don't finish it. This chair turned out better than I was expecting! Perfect? No. But it sure makes me proud to see what I was able to do. The post below details the steps I took to complete the transformation.

We begin with this sad looking chair that I got for $7 at Savers. It was worn, faded, sticky, and looked like it had been left outside for a while. I needed a fun chair for my Mother's Day Minis and other photography sessions, so I decided to take on a project.

First up was to clean the wood. I don't even know what it was covered in, but it smelled awful and it was sticky. I sanded the worst parts of the grime off of the wood, then I cleaned it with some soapy water. It sure needed it.

After it was sanded and cleaned, I used white chalk paint spray and painted the wood white. This is after 2 coats, I did 4 for the finished chair. 

Now it was time for the hard part... the cushion. I have basic sewing knowledge and skills, but I am in no way a seamstress. I was a little worried about sewing the cushion. I took out all of the staples (using a little staple remover that I bent, there is a much easier way that I learned later...) and removed the fabric and padding. The padding was dirty, smashed, and beyond saving so I just threw that out. I had bought materials to create my own cushion anyway.

When I had the fabric removed, I took apart the pieces and used them as my pattern. I traced about an inch larger for a seam allowance. 

Ah... this chair is looking oodles better already! I then sewed the edge pieces (not shown) and pinned them to the top layer and sewed the pieces together. 

Next I needed to trim the cushion padding I got for the chair. I bought a large square of poly foam from Hobby Lobby and used the wood base to cut the shape I needed. I also got some batting and cut it out in the same shape and put a layer on the top and bottom of the poly foam, along with a couple extra layers in the hole of the wood cushion base. 

Now the part I'd been dreading since I took out those first staples.... removing the staples for the supporting fabric! My husband had recently taken out a lot of staples in our floor because we got new carpet, and he showed me this amazing tool! I just had to be careful not to squeeze too hard because it would slice through the staple rather than pulling it out. I have no idea what it's called, but it worked tons better than the staple remover!

After removing the old torn fabric, I stapled a layer of burlap in it's place. I would place a couple of staples, then pull the burlap and put some more staples on the opposite edge to keep the fabric tight. 

Ahhhh! Getting so close to the end! Time to staple the padding and fabric to the top to finish off the cushion and.....

Da da daaaaaa! We have completed our chair facelift!

I would say it's a bit of an improvement. And it smells better and is much more comfortable! I can't wait to use this for my photography appointments! While it isn't being photographed, it may just have a spot of honor in my front room, or be hidden away in the guest room to keep it pretty. Haven't quite decided yet ;)