Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Don't do as I say... Or do... Unless you wanna...



When I upholstered my full-sized slipper chair, I didn't take any photos. That was my absolute first time attempting to upholster anything, and I figured that anyone that'd done it before would know better ways.

I don't upholster.

I don't sew.

I don't know what I'm doing.

With that said, I built an entirely new slipper chair solely to document MY upholstering... uhh... "technique"... That way you can upholster YOUR slipper chair..

Because you're GOING to build one, right? :-)

(before we get started, I want you to note that I made this toddler-sized slipper chair from scraps, so ignore the random paint colors - ehhh... while we're ignoring things, I really need to replace my jig saw blade, there are a bunch of.. umm... "character" marks from my bent blade... which we're ignoring as well)






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First things first... PAINT YOUR LEGS! Or stain them... but it's so much easier if done FIRST!

 Paint the front legs from the bottom to top.

The back legs need to be painted to just above the bottom apron. Nothing else will be showing.










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Step 2:

Cut your foam to size. Pretty self explanatory... I also glued mine into place. Don't know if it's necessary, but it can't hurt!

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Step 3:

Cut a piece of batting large enough to wrap all the way around your seat.

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Step 4: 

Fold the batting up and staple along the insides. Do one side and then the other, leaving the front and back 'til the next step.

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Step 5:

Tuck the front of the side under, and pull the front down taut. The best way I can describe this would be like wrapping a present. Trim the excess.

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Step 6:

I didn't photograph this, but I stapled the back down along the sides and top, and cut out a large rectangle along the back board. That will be where I will be screwing the pieces together, and I don't want fabric there.

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Step 7:

Cut enough fabric to completely cover the seat. (Are you dying over this fabric, too?! I LOVE this!!!!)

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Step 8:

Staple the fabric just like you stapled the batting, starting with the sides. Make sure you pull everything taut. When you get to the front, you'll want to crease the fabric (like you did with the batting - gift-wrapping-style), but be sure to pull this extra taut so the fabric stays put when sat on... staple to the bottom of the front apron at the crease. 

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Step 9:

I glued my cut-edges around the legs.. I have no idea if they would fray or not, but I didn't want to risk it (remember, people, I've never done this!!!). Trim excess.

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I don't know if you can tell, but i was over-zealous with my stapling, and stapled pretty much a continuous line along the back of this board. Inside my staples, I cut the fabric to allow for me to screw through this area.

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Step 10:

Measure the foam for the back by placing your seat where it will sit when finished. There should be absolutely not foam UNDER your seat (like what's circled in the photo above). To solve that, I just moved the foam up and trimmed the excess from the top.

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Step 11:

I'm putting 3 steps in this one, since, by now, we're all proficient upholsters.

Cut your batting so that it will cover the front and sides of the chair. There is no need to go all the way around, unless you REALLY want to. Staple along the insides of the boards. Trim the excess.

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Step... Umm... 12?

Cut your fabric to go completely up the front and down the back. The fabric should be starting where your bottom apron is (and completely covering that board). Lay your fabric print-side down, and lay the chair front-down on it. Starting at the bottom of the front, roll your fabric up a tad, as shown above. This will cover your unfinished edge, and only needs to be pulled like that on the side and back of the chair. Pull to the back of the chair and staple.

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(the arrow is pointing to the staple that I mentioned in the previous step - it's what's holding the "fold"



























Step 13:

As with the batting, staple up both sides of the back of the chair. As long as the staples are on the back of the board, and not right near the edge, they won't be visible... so you can go staple-crazy like I did.

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Step 14:

When you get to the top, tuck the sides in (remember, ALWAYS pulling taut) and staple. You want to get the tuck to where, when you pull the front down, it's a straight line along the side of the back. This WILL take a few "tries" (unless I'm an idiot - which I wouldn't argue with :-p).

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This should give you a clearer idea of what I meant in the previous step.































Step 15:

Put glue along the stapled-down fabric. Get it as close to the sides as you can, without it leaking out. Pull the back of the fabric down (TAUT) and pin. Again... I may have overdone this part....

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If you've done it right, it shouldn't look like this.

My fabric wasn't taut, so there's a big wrinkle.






























Here's *almost* what it should look like when finished. PLEASE don't rush (should I follow my own advice, or what?!) and make sure you pull your fabric taut before pinning.

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Step 16:

"Notch" out squares along the bottom. These should be longer than the sides, so that you have enough fabric to roll up.

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Step 17:

Fold the fabric over, so that the fold is even with the sides. Put a good amount of glue, and pin.

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LIKE THIS!

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Step 18:

Staple along the perimeter of the board.

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Step 19:

As before, we're cutting the fabric from this area to screw through.

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I didn't photograph the last parts. Just staple the bottom of the back up and assemble your chair!!!!



I think she likes it :-)

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SO! What're you upholstering experiences? What would you do differently? (please, be gentle :-p). Are you planning on doing ANY upholstering projects soon?

23 comments:

  1. This is great! I read your original post on Ana White. I adore these slipper chairs; you always see them in the cutest fabrics! One thing I did want to mention is to try an upholstery tack strip. There are some called flex-grip or curve-ease (check them out, they're cheap! http://www.perfectproductsonline.com/pligrip.html ). You nail or staple the strip down the back edge of the chair, and shove your fabric in this little crease, then bend the metal flap over and tack it down...that's how you get a perfectly tight seam without sewing AND you get to use a hammer instead of pins! It is super simple to use and would be the perfect application for the back panel of your chair! Thanks again for the post, I am definitely going to make a pair of these (and your daughter is adorable, by the way!).

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  2. I am now! Thanks for the step-by-step. I always think of it as a huge and ugly process, but it's just detailed. This is perfect! I might try to copy your whole chair (and yes, LOVE the fabric!). :)

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  3. Oh man . . . I wasn't planning on any upholstering projects, but this is fastastic! :o) Gotta make this one (I've got at least four children of my own that would LOVE one of these . . . )

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  4. WONDERFUL!!!!!! You gave me a good idea for a ton of vintage fabrics I inherited too.

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  5. This is adorable!! I LOVE it! Perfect height too. I have not upholstered before either but your tutorial makes it look doable. Great job!

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  6. You all just taught me to keep posting stuff right before I go to bed. I LOVE waking up to all this amazing feedback. Thanks! :-)

    I am SO going to have to look into an upholstery tack strip. That would have eliminated my need for so many pins!!!!

    @ Dirtius - I don't do anything huge and ugly. If it starts getting overwhelming, I find the easiest way out. Haha! Trust me, it's like wrapping presents (except with a staple gun!)

    Thanks Annalea and Brown Sugar Babies... I HOPE you do it!!! :-)

    @ Linenandoak - This is the perfect height for a TODDLER. My tall 5-year-old looks kinda funny in it. Maybe I should post plans for a slightly larger one, too..? :-)

    Thanks, y'all!!!

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  7. It's absolutely amazing! you did such a fabulous job!

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  8. This is a great and simple project. Do you think you could post the measurements for the wooden part of the chair too (if you have them). Thanks!

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  9. Thanks, Ry :-)

    Jen, I will post a tutorial for the kid-version after I clean my house. Haha.

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  10. I love this....I built Anna's slipper chairs for barstools and dining chairs, but have stalled in the upholstery part because I HATE sewing. I am so exited to get going now. And I'll definitely use that tack strip idea! Thanks so much.

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  11. SOOOO stinking adorable. I have the perfect fabric picked out. This will be my princess' birthday chair :) I was out running errands today, and I passed by a local upholstery shop. I stopped in and asked if I could buy some tack strip. I bought 2, although looking at the dimensions of this chair, I think 1 would do. I paid $1 each. I'm so excited to do this. Thanks for the inspiration and plans.

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  12. Yay! PLEASE link to some photos. I'd LOVE to see them!! :-)

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  13. I can't wait to try this! I've made 4 ottomans and a storage bench, all upholstered. They were fairly simple to do. I sewed four panels together and slipped it around the cube, tucked and stapled it tight !!! They all have hinged lids which I also upholstered and made buttons to tuft the lid!

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  14. Do you know how much fabric you used/needed? Thanks!

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  15. @Intisar Hi! I used one yard of a 45" wide apparel fabric.

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  16. What a nice chair for little children it seems i would this on my own to create a wonderful beautiful chair. Such a great innovation you have. I would try this at home. Thanks for posting this article.

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  17. My question for the adult chair is, what thickness of foam did you use on the bottom and back? Looks like the toddler was maybe 1 inch for the back and 2 inch for the bottom, but I can't tell if you used slightly thicker for the adult or not. Thansk!

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    1. That is an excellent question! I bought a long strip of 2" foam at Hobby Lobby and stacked it for the bottom. So the bottom is 4" and the top is 2". This is the foam that I bought. Make sure you print out the coupon first! Makes it $15!

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    2. Thanks so much, can't wait to make a pair of these for my daughter's new apartment. :)

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  18. I am in the process of making my chair, and we are covering the back with fabric.. and thinking that you would be able to see the staples in the back?? Are there any other solutions to this without staples, or somehow hiding them?

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    1. Are you gluing? If so, you can do what I did and make sure you bring the fabric over the staples. Trust me, as long as you pull it taut and use pins, no staples will show. If you have an upholstery shop anywhere near you, and can wait, you can buy a tack strip. I just got some like 2 days ago, and they're amazing (wish I'd have known about them when I did this chair). I got them for like 60 cents, but the lady at the upholstery shop said they're not normally that cheap. So maybe a buck? Otherwise, just make sure you pull the fabric down how you want it to lay, glue and pin it. No staples have shown on mine, and it gets used daily. :-)

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  19. OMG! I absolutely love you for doing this! I have been quietly pining away for one of these but no way I can pay the crazy amount the stores charge for them :) This is so great thank you so much!

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  20. I just bought the flexible tack strip from diyupholsterysupply.com. I just have to wait for it to come in.

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