This is the chair I’ve been dreading to reupholster ever since I brought it home from someone’s trash. In fact, the reason I did the front loader bearing repair job was to warm-up to this nightmare of a DIY project.
Was it harder than the washer repair job? Well, yes and no. It was less complicated. I didn’t stop to cry “this is humanly impossible” every few minutes like I did with the bearing replacement. But it took way longer than the ten hours spent on the washing machine. It took three and a half (almost straight through) days to reupholster this wing chair.
Do I recommend doing your own wing chair reupholstery? Absolutely. Maybe only once, but you should have one fabulous chair in your house that you did yourself!
Tips for Reupholstering a Wing Chair
1. Don’t be afraid to undo a mistake over and over until you get it right. You will spend almost as much time pulling out old staples and staple mistakes as you do putting in new staples. 🙂
2. Save the old fabric you removed from the chair to use as a pattern for cutting the new fabric.
3. For a non-professional who doesn’t have the right tools or supplies, cardboard is your friend! Everywhere that a professional would use nail strips, I used cardboard instead. Look, for example, at minutes 2:19, 2:57, and 3:50 in the video below. A piece of cardboard will give you a crisp edge where you need one.
4. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns. And don’t be afraid of a punch of color on the wood legs.
5. Make sure you’ve had your tetanus shot before you re-do an old chair. You WILL get stabbed by staples and such.
6. Here are two other articles (with great pictures) that will help you in your upholstery decisions: Top 10 Upholstery Tips from All Things Thrifty, and Everything You Need to Know About Reupholstering Vintage Pieces by Emily Henderson.
I should explain how I did the foam repair on this chair. There were three large rips in the foam. I did not add or replace the old foam. Instead, I slathered the area with contact cement, then painted a piece of cotton fabric with contact cement. When the cement was dry (about 15 minutes), I pinched the “cut” foam together (by poking the center area down) and applied the fabric mend over the foam. Not a perfect mend, but I’m not a professional. This is how you do it when you don’t have money to do it right.
As with my last upholstery project, I do hope this encourages you to try your own!