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Wednesday, August 14, 2019


Recently I squeezed in a makeover of my barstools, a project that I've wanted to do for a long time but just hadn't narrowed down exactly how I wanted them to look.  I would actually love to get new barstools at some point and keep an eye out but haven't come across anything I like better than the ones I have for now.  So, this little makeover gave them a new life!

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I worked on these stools about a year and a half ago, but after that quick refresh still wasn't really happy with them.  So this time I wanted to go a totally different direction and paint them a bold color.  Surprise, surprise... right?  However, I couldn't make up my mind on a color, so since I was painting them anyway I did a quick coat to audition the colors I was considering...

(this pic was taken in the middle of having a garage sale, i.e. don't mind the mess and quick poor phone pic!)

After a few days, I decided the green was the winner!  I planned to use leftover fabric from my dining room drapes on the seats, so I liked the mix of that fabric with the green paint (again, big surprise, right?).

The seats on these stools are not removable- the fabric is just pulled over the foam, stapled along the edges, and then the staples are covered with some sort of trim.  I thought I'd share the process of how I recovered them in case you have a similar project you've considered doing... it's a totally doable project.  I'd say it's just a bit trickier than wrapping and  recovering a cushion that can be removed, but not too daunting at all.

Supply List of what I'd recommend for this kind of project:

*Upholstery Staple/Tack remover
*Pneumatic Staple Gun
*Air Compressor
*Manual Staple Gun if pneumatic not used
*Staples- generally 1/2" is good but you might need some a bit longer for spots with more fabric to go through.  They are inexpensive, I usually buy several different sizes.  As a gauge, if your staples aren't going into the wood completely they're probably too long.  If they're pulling out easily and not securing the fabric to the frame they're too short.
*New foam if needed
*Quilt Batting
*New Fabric-  THIS is what I'm using
*Some sort of trim for edge- nail heads, gimp upholstery trim, double welt cording
*Hot Glue Gun and Glue- I like low temp for this job to save my fingertips!

*I painted the chair frames with this before starting on the chair seats.

Obviously, you'll first need to remove the old trim and covering.  My stools originally had nail heads along the edge to cover the staples, then in my little refresh I removed those and used a trim instead.  This tool paired with a pair of pliers if needed is the best for removing staples or nail heads.  After the old trim and top fabric is removed you're ready to go.

If the foam is too broken down to re-use, use the old piece as a guide to cut a piece of new.  My foam was still in decent shape, but my stools didn't have a lot of support and sank down in the middle when sat on.  I decided to just build up the foam in the center a little bit to make them more firm rather than replacing the entire piece (aka I made it easier on myself!).  I had some scraps of a firm foam from another project and just cut a piece to size to fit in the middle of the seat.  I shaved the edges down so it would gradually move into the original foam and make the difference between the two less noticeable.

Next, cut a piece of quilt batting to fit over the top of the entire seat.  I had another piece of super thin and flexible foam that I used instead of the batting, you just want something to wrap on top and smooth everything out.

Cut your fabric to fit over the top, cutting slightly larger than the exact size you'll need to cover the seat.

On these chairs, I started in the back.  Fold the raw edge under to create a clean finished edge, and staple in the middle of that side one time.

Check to see if fabric is straight, then pull tight across the seat to the front and put a staple or two in the front edge.  Then, do the same on both sides, pulling fabric down tightly before stapling.  Just a few in the middle of each side, then make sure the fabric still looks good and straight.  Remove staples and adjust pattern if needed before continuing.

If fabric is positioned correctly, continue stapling along each side, pulling fabric very tight while stapling along edge.  I like to work my way out from the center staples on each side.

I space my staples out a bit and once the fabric is straight and secured all the way around go back and fill in the blank spaces with more staples.  You'll want the staples to be close together to prevent the fabric from pulling loose.

For the corners, I like to loosely tuck an extra piece of foam or batting against the sharp corners of the frame, just to cushion the corner a bit and prevent the fabric from wearing through there eventually.

Just pull and arrange the corners as best you can to gather up the fabric there.  I found longer staples helped to secure the fabric around the corners since I was working with fabric that was more gathered up and layered a bit more than along the sides.

Along the back where the seat meets the seat back, I just tucked the fabric under for a clean edge and stuffed it down between the wood back and seat foam, securing on the sides wherever possible.  The trim will cover that edge so just work with it the best you can.

After all edges are stapled, trim the fabric just under staple line with a utility knife, trimming extra strings with scissors if necessary.  Go slow and easy with this step, you don't want to accidentally cut your new fabric in the wrong spot.

Finally, use hot glue to attach trim or welting to cover staples.  Making your own double welting (match your fabric or do a fun contrasting color or pattern!) is simple once you get the hang of it, here's a good tutorial if you want to try it.  (I keep this cord on hand for all of my projects.)

Start in an inconspicuous spot and continue gluing around all of the edges.

If using a welting, I just cut a small strip of fabric, turn the raw edges under, and wrap that around the cording to cover the cut ends, then glue that down to the seat.

That's it!  With a little time and effort your barstools or chairs will have a whole new look!

In an effort to protect the fabric from spills, I always apply a few coats of Scotchgard on my chair seats.   I held a piece of newspaper against the back of the barstool when spraying to protect from any overspray.

Just a quick flash back to how they looked when I got them-

And here they are now!  I'm so happy with how they turned out!

Vern Yip Blue Fabric, Blue Ikat Curtains, Glossy Green barstools, madcap cottage  reef indigo fabric

Rustoleum Meadow Green Spray Paint, green bar stools, reef indigo fabric

Think this tutorial might come in handy in the future?  Please Pin It!  

upholstery tutorial, how to re-cover a chair seat

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Would you like to comment?

  1. Very cute redo and much more "you" than the originals. But mostly... What mess? Lol that pic is just fine! Our house looks like the closets exploded when we're having a sale. Lol

    1. Ha! I guess my angle was good enough that you couldn’t see it very good. Thank goodness for the high bar blocking the rest of the kitchen! Thanks so much!

  2. Beeeutiful as always! Agree with the choice of green chair color! =)

  3. Exceptionally charming re-try and considerably more "you" than the firsts. Amazon Leather Jackets Sale


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