There’s a lot of good information and inspiration in this post, so get ready!
First of all, the beauty shot.
Now, the before shot.
I’m so happy with how these turned out. I’m taking the pair of arm chairs (only one is pictured in the before shot) to the Ground Hog Day Sale at Lucketts (Feb 4-6).
And, as promised, here is my “secret” glaze formula. It’s Ralph Lauren’s Faux Effects Glaze tinted in Espresso Beans by Behr. It gives a soft, aged finish that’s perfectly brown. I have found most “mocha” or “antique” glazes look really orange. Orange like a bad bronzer or self-tanning spray, so I have one custom mixed.
Click on the picture to enlarge. I use a lot of different antiquing techniques, but this one is good for a worn look. It’s also easy to work, so it’s ideal for pieces with nooks and crannies.
So, onto the upholstery. Once the frame was dry, I dragged it into my basement workshop to upholster the back. The chair was already upholstered, so I reused the batting, which was natural cotton and in good condition.
I smashed it into the recess behind the caning. The caning was left to give stability to the back, but if the caning is missing altogether, just stretch and staple some burlap in its place.
A piece of canvas drop cloth was placed over the batting and stapled to the wood frame. I have upholstered furniture with a manual staple gun, an electric one and a pneumatic one. There’s only one way to go. Pneumatic all the way. It does involve having a compressor and the gun is an additional $150, but it is the very best way to go and it will save you a lot of frustration. The other guns are a waste of time. Trust me.
Here’s the back upholstered. Don’t worry about the line of staples. We’ll get to that in a minute.
This is the upholstered back from the front view.
Repeat the steps on the front side. This really is an excellent way to handle a chair with a broken back or one that’s been punched through, so don’t be scared of those anymore.
To cover the staples, I use hot glue and trim (in this case) or double welting. Ann, aka Nutbird, asked why I use bright white trim instead of an off white that would match the canvas better. Honestly, I like the bright white against the nubby canvas. I think it provides a nice clean contrast and frames the fabric better. It’s a personal taste thing, so use whatever color you want.
Apply a bead of glue in small sections and press the trim on the glue with your finger. Watch yourself. It’s hot stuff!
Cut the trim where the pieces meet and smush the ends together. If this is done well, it’s almost unnoticeable.
I chose a slipcovered skirt for the seat, so it’s machine washable. I wrote a full tutorial on how to make these and it will be published in March. I’ll let you know where you can find it, so stay tuned.
I was so tempted to keep these chairs and sell a couple of my dining chairs, to go with the mismatched look, but the arms didn’t fit under the table. Probably a good thing. I know they’ll find a good home.
I knew these were going to be worth the small investment…
…and I was right.
If you’re smitten, you can buy them at the Old Lucketts Store in a few days.