An old chair gets new threads

First, a very special announcement. My birthday was last Saturday and Dave (aka Mr Wonderful) gave me the best birthday present in the history of birthday presents – he asked me to marry him! We are both on top of the world and I am looking forward to wedding planning and some wedding project blogging!

And now back to our regularly scheduled program. This chair has been the most labourious and rewarding project I’ve tackled so far in my DIY endeavours. I’ve wanted to get stuck into furniture for a while and have a few pieces I’ve found at second-hand shops awaiting some TLC.  This open armed side chair was $12.99 and when I saw it I knew it had potential. After reading about the 7 Essential Pieces on Good Bones, Great Pieces I have been on the lookout for all 7 so at least now I can tick ‘Occasional Chair’ of the list!

Having no upholstery experience whatsoever I did what I always do – I googled. I found this tutorial on Apartment Therapy and this tutorial (plus many more great tutorials) on Mod Home Ec. I also used a bit of good old brain power and paid careful attention to how the chair was originally upholstered as I removed all the upholstery tacks, staples, fabric and padding. I was able to use the original padding under the foam cover and I was also able to put fresh batting straight over some old fabric on the back rest as it was in really good condition. This isn’t a complete tutorial* because I think the other tutorials mentioned above have much better techniques. I tried my hardest to do everything correctly but in some parts I just kind of made it up and hoped for the best. It all worked out but it may not be ‘proper’. I hope this post might serve as inspiration to someone who may think upholstering a chair is too hard – it’s not and if I can do it you can too! Just choose a simple style to start with like I did and get yourself a good staple gun. And if you have any questions, please ask!

*For a kind of tutorial the step-by-step photos are below – just click on the slideshow.

Materials used for this project

Open armed side chair

2 meters of upholstery-worthy fabric (choose something very sturdy and long-wearing).

1 meter of cream hessian (burlap for those of you in the USA)

1 meter of polyester batting

Medium-duty staple gun with staples (I used 8mm)



Fabric covered button making kit

Large needle and tough thread (I used quilting thread)

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Bird is the word

My plans of DIY domination have been thwarted somewhat with a few busy weeks and an ailment that is keeping me on the couch and unable to move around very much. On the positive side it has given me the chance to get stuck into one particular project where only upper body movement is necessary – sewing. Hand sewing to be exact, due to lack of a machine and want of that “I made this with my bare hands” satisfaction that can only come with a few finger pricks and some wobbly stitching. I have a niece or nephew (henceforth referred to as niecephew) cooking along nicely and the little bundle of joy is due very late December which gives me plenty of time to make a dozen or so of these little birdies and turn them into this adorable Bird Mobile.

This little guy is number 4…

I’ve recently discovered another little gem about the suburbs – garage sales! Last Saturday we scored a few pieces of genuine Tupperware and this retro clock which has the best sounding tick & reminds me of my Grandparents’ house, all with change for a $20.

The clock with birdies 1 & 2

This week I also had a go at a flowerless flower arrangement during a last-minute tidy up before a dinner guest arrived and I was quite happy with the result. The green leaves came from the bush in the backyard and the red from the front hedge.

I think my $2 vase from Savers and one of Mum’s apple blossom twigs completes the job nicely

And speaking of flowerless, Dave bought me this gorgeous get well soon gift home with him last night, the perfect present for a girl who loves succulents and loves moss!!!! I also really fancy the idea of terrariums at the moment and this little beauty has a bit of a terrarium vibe going on…

The newest addition to my little garden

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