Monday, October 31, 2016

My $9.99 Louis Chairs - Upholstering & Staining The Frames

I'm not sure how many of you have ever upholstered a chair before, but I havn't, so I thought it would be fun to see what all is involved in redoing a chair.  Here is the pic of my inspiration and what I found at Goodwill.  For $9.99 I figured even if I messed it up I didn't have a lot invested, so why not give it a try.

This is what I started with.  Great style and a wonderful price, but boy they are pretty ugly right now.

 I figured I would just start taking the upholstery off and see how it was put together.  Notice the cording on the floor on the left corner of the pic.  That had to come off first, then I could see all the staples that held the seat fabric on.  After removing what seemed like a million staples, This is what I found.

 The top fabric was glued to some batting and then the foam and came off in one piece.  This exposed the bottom piece of foam.

 I took the cording off the back of the chair and found the same thing.  After removing the staples, this also came off in one piece.

 All that was left was the fabric on the back of the chair.  You can see how it was stapled inside the back of the chair.  I mean - really - they used about a million staples.

 Now I had the whole chair apart, so time to sand it down so I could refinish the wood.  This last piece of foam is just laying there, so I took it off too.

 All sanded and ready for stain.  I used my bullet orbital sander, so this went really fast.  I didn't have to take every bit of the old stain off, just get the shine and any nick and dings smoothed out a bit.  (The rest of the seat construction was not touching any of the frame that would show, so I left that part all in tact.)

 It is still really hot here so I decided to stain it in the guest room which has become a catch all.  I am using General Finishes Antique Walnut Gel Stain.  When you paint it on it is really thick and looks like mud.  You let it set for just a few seconds then use a soft cloth to wipe it off.  I just used an old tee shirt I cut into strips.  Be sure to not let the stain set too long.  If you do, then just paint some more on and it will loosen up the first coat and you can now wipe off as much as you want.

 I had to bring them into the breakfast area where I had better light.  I had to use two coats in spots, so just play with it until you get what you want.  Just paint it on and wipe it off. These are not exactly the same color as my other chairs, but close enough, especially since I am going to use them in the dining room.

Frames with 1st coat of poly on them.

Remember how these started out.  With those weird orange/blonde colored frames.

This shows the color of the stain.  I really like how it turned out.  The frames look aged with how the wood took the stain differently in certain spots.

They've been sanded and gone over with steel wool and now have the 2nd coat of poly on them.  I am saying at this point they are done - done - done.

My game plan is musical chairs.  I am going to use these 4 ladder-back side chairs in the breakfast area and use the two upholstered ones here with the two ladder-back arm chairs.  We'll see how that goes.  I may recover the seats of the arm chairs.

I showed you these chairs that I was using as inspiration.  Now I just need to figure out what fabric I want to use and how I want mine to look.

This is absolutely gorgeous.

 So is this one.

and these too.

Ok, I've definitely decided that I want to do mine in a two fabrics.  The seat and front of the chair in an ivory and the back in something with a pattern.

This is one possibility.  It matches the seats of the ladderback armchairs.

This scroll pattern could be pretty on the back of the chair.

Or this is another possibility.

This could also be interesting.  I want something that is neutral, but just not sure what.

 Since my dining room and living room are all one long space, I want them to be eye catching but still go with anything.  So I need to think about this for a minute.

I've ordered one more fabric to check out, so stay tuned.  We'll see how this goes.

Be sure to get all your projects lined up for Inspire Me Tuesday.  Party goes live Monday afternoon at 3 PM CMT.  Can't wait to see you there.

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  1. What a great price for a project like this. They're going to be fab, I know. I like the idea of using the first fabric choice that matches your ladderback chair seats. Can't wait to see the combination you select in the end.

  2. What an inspiration! I have a bunch of chairs to redo--I want to start with 1-2 hand-me-downs and when I've learned how to reupholster, move on to the real antiques.

  3. Marty, way to go! Can't believe you found those for $9.99. No wonder I can't sell my stuff on Craig's List right now. :)

  4. Marty the chairs are already looking 100% better. So far I am drawn to the scroll fabric.

  5. What a big change with the stain. LOVE the pattern in the first picture but you have great taste in coordinating your patterns so I can't wait to see the end result.

  6. Oh Marty, what a great buy. Love the chairs and like what you did to them so far. I am sure whatever fabric you choose will be perfect.


  7. What a great buy! You are a brave and creative soul, so I know you'll knock this project out of the ball park.

  8. Knowing you, you will pick a beautiful fabric and the chairs will turn out fabulous!!! I love the color of the stain!

  9. Marty! Did you get a deal on these great chairs or what?!?! Thanks for showing how you refinished the wood frame of the chair. I've got a couple that need the same treatment, but wasn't sure how to do it. THANK YOU.
    As far as your upholstery is concerned, I love the chair with the black honeycomb looking fabric on the back and the neutral seat. I'm wondering if you use the same fabric as your ladderback chairs if it might not get too monotone looking in the room. My daughter is an interior designer, though she refuses to give me any advice or help with my own decorating; says it wouldn't make for a happy mother/daughter relationship. Hmmm. Anyway, she always tells me if I need an accent color for any room to always choose black. I've done that in several instances and even if it just a vase on a dresser, it looks right. Just my opinion. They will look beautiful whatever you decide because your creations always do. Have a great week!

  10. Perfect timing! I've got 4 chairs to do! I just need to do new fabric. I took the staples out of one chair so far, lol. I love your gold fabric choices. At first, I would be more inclined to put the second pattern on the seat and the other pattern that matches your ladder back chairs on the back of the chairs you are doing. Then I read you were going to use them in the dining room. I'd actually prefer to use these two chairs in your breakfast area since those chairs have round backs and these have round backs. I would leave all of your ladder back chairs in the dining room the way you have it. That way the backs of these new chairs would match the seats of the ladder back chairs in your dining room. Just a thought. I'd love to know where you got these fabrics. They are stunning.

    1. Thanks for the help, I appreciate it. I found both fabrics at JoAnn's. I've also ordered another fabric from the, so we will see how that looks when it gets here.

  11. hey marty- i think both your fabric choices are so pretty and will look amazing on the chairs. what a great project. they will be beautiful.

  12. you are so talented person dear .
    i loved the both choices of yours .
    your rooms look amazing

  13. Morning Marty,
    Wow, you really got a great deal on those chairs, and you did a great job on the staining.
    I love that scroll pattern, it is so pretty, course, both fabrics are.....
    I really love that style of chair too, so elegant and french looking....I think anyway.
    Can't wait to see the finished product, cause I know it will be everything
    is that you do........
    Have a great week hon,
    Blessings, Nellie

  14. Wow, this is quite a project Marty! Lovin' the new stain and I love the rope pattern fabric a lot! Can't wait!

  15. Marty,
    The stain gives the chairs a whole new life. So far, I like the scroll fabric for your contrasting fabric. Thanks for sharing how you are doing this. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished chairs.

    Thank you for sharing at Monday Social.


  16. Your chairs are already looking so much better! The scroll fabric is my favorite. Thanks for the tips about using gel stain. I have never tried it. I have discovered how many nails you have to remove when you remove the old fabric though! Thanks for joining Monday Social.