Monday, June 14, 2010

Reupholstery...A Long Journey

I have been attempting to re-upholster a chair I picked up from a thrift store for $30.  Phew! Now I understand the work behind it, I can appreciate why people charge so much to reupholster furniture! It is darn difficult!

I have not been posting much here but it does not mean that I have not been crafting. On the contrary, I have been working on this chair.

First I took almost everything off, including the jute webbing you see here.

The chair is solidly and beautifully made, with tacks all over it. There was a stamp on it which said it was made in Italy.

I then used a citrus paint stripper which was less toxic to strip down the paint to its raw wood. Then I thought I'd lacquer it back to the same colour as it was all chipped before. I had wanted to sand it down, put some wood filler and fix up flaws.

Man, I had not expected it to be so difficult! I made the mistake of spray painting it outside so lots of pollen stuck on its surface. Matt also banged into it, which left a deep gash in the middle. So I had to strip it back down again but the second time around was so tough because I had not used a primer and it had gone into the wood. It was then when I saw the colour of the wood, I mean, really looked at it when I thought it would be a shame to cover all that lovely grain with dark lacquer.

I saw some chairs from various retailers which I went crazy for. Like this Restoration Hardware chair.

I emailed a blogger, Meranda, who paints furniture as a hobby and I had bought the Union Jack dresser from. She was ever so helpful! She pointed me to a type of finish called Swedish finish. Here are some pictures of furniture using this finish.
This image was taken from the Wisteria website - I love the furniture there.

Another example of Swedish finishing from Wisteria.

As I wanted the wood grain to show through, I did not prime it. It was really difficult to get the paint to stick. Based on Meranda's advice, I used this paint called Fossil by Rustoleum. They only sold the spray at my Home Depot, it would have been easier if I had a can. However, we work with what we have.

First, I sprayed on some paint, then using a rag, would wipe it away. Sometimes I would leave it in longer before wiping it off. However, I found that when I went to spray over it to give it another coat, the first layer of paint would come right off! This took me 6 hours, or perhaps even more! Eventually, I figured out that I had to use thinner to prevent the paint from drying too quickly and I could spread the paint more evenly on the wood.

This is what I ended up with. Meranda suggested getting some dark shoe wax to wipe over it to give it a different patina but I did not like it so I stuck to the original.

The whole process took me 2 weeks. The painting took a lot longer than I thought.

I did not get any fabric because I wanted to match it to the colour of the wood. There is a slight green tinge to the paint so I waited till it dried. I wanted a solid natural cotton colour but decided against it with the boys. One of them is bound to put marks on it. So I went with a pattern. The fabric is on order from Joann Fabrics. What a bargain! I went into the shop on Saturday and it was priced at $19.99 per yard. I needed 8 yards for the chair. Then the lady told me there was a 50% sale on Sunday. Right after church, I went back to the store and it was 60% off! What a happy day! I paid $7.99 per yard for the fabric.

Here is a swatch of it. This is not the true colour, there is a tinge of green on it which you cannot see here.
 Now, I am working on the webbing, and taking out all the springs and re-tying it. What a long process!

This is before I painted it, I removed the springs and had to retie them all to give it back the shape as it was already sagging.

More to come next time!

1 comment:

  1. Eagerly looking forward to see the end product. I know it's going to be a stunner, just like your secretary.