If you have ever read my “About Me” then you know that I’m a self-taught DIYer, crafter, photographer… just about everything! When I need to do something… I just try! That’s why I’m sharing this quick Upholstery for Beginners post. I thought, maybe if this was my first time trying upholstery, there must be someone else who hasn’t tried!
At the Create With Me party last month, YOU voted for me to use leather or faux leather in a project (come back Monday to vote again for next month!). Since I had a vintage chair that I was screaming for a makeover, I decided to use leather on it! Truth be told… I probably would’ve tried to use anything you voted for on that chair! lol.
Faux leather or vinyl
Chair with cushion
Upholstery for Beginners: Quick Tips
Here’s the chair we started with ^^. I was drawn to it right away because of the frame and the vintage feel. The fabric had to go. If you want to attempt a first upholstery project, find a piece like this at your local thrift store! One cushion. Easy square shape. Thin. This is definitely the place to start!
I decided not to take off my previous fabric. I was a very thin layer, and didn’t have a strange texture to it, so I figured it would still look fine and be comfortable. This also helped me keep the cushion base and padding in place without any extra effort – if you remove the outer fabric, make sure to save these! If you did remove the old upholstery (with pliers or a staple remover), keep that piece and use it as a template to cut out the new fabric. Since we didn’t, we simply put our cushion on top of the fabric and cut the fabric the approximate shape, making sure to have enough of a border to go up the sides of the cushion, and have a couple inches folded onto the back.
We started by grabbing one corner, folding it up towards the centre of the seat, and stapling it in place.
Then we worked on one side at a time, pulling it upwards, and keeping it tight so that there were no ridges or bumps along the edge of our cushion. Staple it in place and do the other side of the corner. If you want pleats (on a dining room chair perhaps?) just fold the fabric the way you want before stapling.
As you work, you’ll have to keep checking the top of your seat, to make sure there aren’t any ridges forming. Pull tight all the way around and staple in place. Out first corner looked pretty rough, but they gradually improved. Practice makes perfect right! You just want to make sure everything is pulled tight, and not too bulky underneath.
Finally, add some cardboard tack on the bottom to reinforce everything. Can’t even see my errors now! I spray painted the chair with a gloss black paint before adding the new cushion to freshen everything up.
This really was the best project to start upholstery with. I’m ready to tackle the ugly old chair in the basement now! Well… maybe.
How did your first upholstery job go? I bet it was harder than this one!
Monday I need YOU to share your leather projects at the Create with Me party! I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!
Plus you can vote on what I’m creating with next month.