Well I tried my hand at upholstery for the first time, and I’m glad I did. It was quit the learning curve, but actually not that hard when you do a little research.
My dad had purchased a set of Queen Anne chairs for me, and though I loved their shape, I wasn’t too keen on the style. A little too Victorian for me. (Don’t mind the fabric swatch)
Also they were a little worn in some places.
So I decided to try to redo them. How hard can it be?
I started by taking off the old fabric. This was not all that easy. There were hundreds of staples holding it down. In some places if I tugged hard enough, I could pull up the fabric with the staples, but otherwise, I had to take out each staple one at a time. At first I tried to do this with just a flat head screw driver and pliers, but that wasn’t working so good. After jabbing myself several times with the screw driver and making very little progress, I eventually went out and purchased this special upholstery staple remover and it was a huge help.
I have to say this is a handy little tool to have for projects like this. I actually found mine at my local Walmart in the sewing/crafts section, but it is available on Amazon also. Look at all those staples!! Had to take out each one! The padding on my chair was in good condition so I didn’t touch it.
Next I went and purchased some upholstery fabric, and cut it to the relative shape of the old fabric I took off, adding several inches extra, so I could have something to hold on to when I needed to pull it tight. So I placed my fabric onto the chair and began stapling. This is when the fun really began.
I thought I could do this with my regular old staple gun. However, I quickly realized that it will not work. Every time I tried to staple the fabric, the staples would either bend or not go all the way in. I tried using different length staples, yet nothing worked. Frustrated, I turned to Google for help. As it turns out upholstery staples are a lot thinner than what your average staple gun uses. Comparing the staples I pulled out to the ones I was using, I could definitely see that they were a lot thinner and had sharper tips. Good quality furniture is usually made out of hard woods. Ordinary hand held staple guns are made for softer construction material such as plywood. The other option would be to use an automatic air staple gun, which would have enough force, yet is also not ideal, because 1. its expensive, 2. it requires an air compressor, 3. the staples are still bulky and if you make a mistake pulling them out is not an option, and 4. you risk splitting the frame of your furniture.
So what did I do? Did I go and buy an upholstery staple gun that is only available for purchase online and costs about $60-$200 dollars?? Plus the staples another $30?
Nope! I don’t have enough patience or money for that! 🙂 I went and wandered the aisles of home depot looking for another option. ..and you know my friends some times I think I’m genius. 🙂
Exhibit A: This is your regular T-50 Staple gun. $17 –> for my purposes USELESS
Exhibit B: Stanley Light Duty Staple Gun $8 –> IT WORKS!!
So this Staple gun is like the little brother of the T-50. He is a lot smaller and scrawnier looking, and probably would go unnoticed hanging right next to the bigger and stronger T-50. Yet why did this little guy save the day? It so happens this staple gun uses thinner staples. So I gambled with this purchase and won! It actually worked. The thinner staples easily went into my chair and my project could go on! You could thank me for this discovery later. 😉
I will say though, if you plan to reupholster often or something larger like a couch. You should probably invest in an upholstery stapler, because this does wear on your hands after a while. However for me, the impatient casual DIYer if worked fine.
This is my chair after I finally finished stapling late in the evening, and trimmed all the extra fabric on the edges.
YouTube has some good videos about how to place the fabric when stapling. This video in particular was helpful. –> LINK
Lastly I went back to the fabric store and purchased some trim, which I hot-glued in place, hiding the fabric edge and staples.
I have been really loving the look of velvet upholstery lately. It is becoming more and more in style.
These were some of my inspiration photos. Most of these chairs cost $500 and up! Definitely not in my budget..
I went with a beautiful sage green. It has a nice vintage wash to it, yet still looks modern. It was $25 a yard, but so worth it. Total, this project cost me about $50. This includes fabric, trim, staple gun, staples, and staple remover.
It looks fantastic in our bedroom.
Now I just have to repeat the process with the second one. 🙂
Have a great day,