Ok so please be patient with me this is my first tutorial, and I wanted to be really thorough but with only having my phone for pictures and taking care of my 3 crazy rug-rats, I didn't get a picture of everything I wanted to, but don't worry this is a tutorial on how to upholster a non upholstered dining chair, which means I still have more chairs to do so I will be able to add some more pictures and tweak this tutorial with the next chair.
So I started with this lovely rustic looking dinette set that my husband and I have had since we got married, we haven't ever really used it because we haven't lived in a house with a dining room yet. Yay for houses with dining rooms!!! Anyhow, we got this set from my sister who had it for about 5 years before us, so it is old, and my husband HATES it, it is extremely uncomfortable, they have to be the hardest chairs I have ever sat in...... So I decided they needed updating, and since playing with furniture is my favorite DIY project (so far) I got excited for this...
First, I lightly sanded and primed all the chairs (no pic but thats pretty self explanatory right?), then I painted them with Rust-O-Leum Heirloom White (a color I found through blogging a lot of you out there use it, cause it is awesome and not stark white) I painted them with a small foam roller, I am new to this DIY stuff so a lot of you out there have probably used these before but this was my first time, and I am in LOVE they work so much better than rollers with nap, they leave a much cleaner finish!!
Ok so after the paint was dry, I was going to put a polyurethane finish on them but I am not certain that I am quite done with them yet because I might sand down the edges and do a dark glaze on the edges so I am waiting until I decide and I don't think I will decide until the table is done, so I can get a feel for how it will all come together. So the next step was to do something about those hard seats. I have REupholstered chairs but never upholstered something that wasn't originally made to be upholstered. With this seat, it hangs over just a bit from the base of the chair, so I needed to fill it, I simply used a hot glue gun and some poly-fill to do the trick.
I also added some poly-fill all over the top of the chair too (no pic) to add a little extra cushion. Then it was time for the foam. I cut the foam bigger than the actual seat because it needs to be tucked under and stapled, once you cut it out, place it on the seat and cut slits for the back part of the chair, make sure the foam covers the entire top of the seat with about 1/2 inch extra to spare on all sides except for the back (no foam need on the back).
Using a staple gun, staple the foam to the bottom of the lip, start by pulling tight and putting a staple in the very center of the front of the seat then pull tight on the opposite side (back) and put a staple in the center (my chair was a little different because the back didn't have a center, but this is how you upholster any other seat), next pull tight and staple the center of one of the sides, then pull tight and do the same to the opposite side (the key to upholstering is making sure everything is nice and tight) Next choose a center staple and use it as a starting point and start stapling from the middle out, continue on all four sides.
Next you want to put dacron on the same way you did the foam (I actually didn't use dacron because we are so stinking poor, I found some cheap stretchy thin felt like material at Wal-Mart on clearance for 1.75/yd) but this time going all the way under the base of the chair, the reason for this step is to smooth out the edges of the foam and the transition from foam to poly-fill on the base (I think this step may have been unnecessary in my case because my fabric is so thick, but I didn't want to take chances)
Now you are ready to put your fabric on (I got this fabric on clearance at Wal-Mart for 2.49/yd), and you do this the exact same way you put the dacron on, make sure you continue to pull tight with every staple you put in. Two parts of this tutorial that I wish I had pictures for are the corners, and how to cut for the back part of the chair, hopefully I can get pictures of those with the next chairs. To cut your fabric around the rungs of your chair cut a slit in the fabric that lines up exactly with the middle of the rung (picture to come later) then pull the fabric tight around the rung and staple (picture to come). The corners of an upholstered chair aren't as hard as they seem, and you really just need to play with them until you find the look you want (as far as where you want the pleats) I just fold them like the corner of a present.
Now you are done, you just need to clean up the edges and hide the staples with some gimp.
Putting gimp on is my favorite part because it is so easy, and it brings the whole thing together, it makes it look so nice and you can have fun with colors and styles. Now I bought this gimp at Jo-Ann's for 2.99/yd (each of my chairs need 2 yards) which for me is really pricey, and I didn't especially love their selection, so if I find something cheaper and better I may redo the gimp (remember, I am trying to do this for as little money as possible). UPDATE!!! I FOUND A MUCH BETTER PLACE TO GET THE GIMP, SAME GIMP BUT FOR 1.95 AT FABRIC FARMS PLUS A SALE OF 15% OFF, SO I GOT IT FOR ABOUT 1.65, SWEET!!!!! WAY BETTER IT LOOKS LIKE I FOUND MY GO TO PLACE AT FABRIC FARMS YOU CAN FIND THEM ONLINE, I'M LUCKY THEY ARE JUST DOWN THE STREET FROM ME!! All you need to apply gimp is a pair of scissors and a hot glue gun and go to town glueing the gimp on over the staples and raw edges around the legs and rungs of your chair.
A few little spots where the paint was scratched off because my kiddos got to them before they were dry, no worries nothing that can't be touched up right??
Ok so here is my break down for upholstering and refinishing 5 chairs (some how we lost a chair in our 6 moves in the last 5 years)
Poly-fill (one bag goes a long way)........$4
Smoothing Fabric (not Dacron)..............$7
Total.....................................................$69 for 5 new looking chairs with character!!!
Ok so there could be more expenses if you count the polyurethane and primer that I already had from other projects, and the paint roller, and the glue sticks, but these are things I have on hand.