DIY Upholstered Wingback Chair

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I am SO excited to be writing this post today! I have been wanting to get this chair done for what seems like an eternity. I showed you the "before" picture HERE way back in January, but life happened and I had to put it on hold until this past weekend. It was worth the wait though! I am IN LOVE with the finished project! So now for all the dirty details!

I had no idea what I was getting into when I started this. Prior to this project I had zero reupholstering experience. So if I can do it so can you! My best advice would be to pay attention to the details. Label and save every piece as you take it apart and you will be fine. Be prepared to work hard and be patient. It's time consuming and tedious, but so worth it in the end!

 
This is what I started with. It was mauve (do I need to say more?) and dirty. I found it at Goodwill for a whopping $25.

 
Removing upholstery is like peeling off layers of an onion. Start at the bottom and just keep removing staples and peeling back layers. I used a flat head screwdriver and pliers. 

 
After the bottom was finished I moved on to the back side of the chair. It was nailed in with what seemed like a million little teeth. I used a screwdriver to pry them loose. Make sure you save the tack strips that are on the back sides... you can reuse them when you reassemble the chair.

 
Once the top back layer was removed I worked on the next layer of staples on the back of the chair. 

 
After that I worked on the sides of the chair. There were more tack strips and staples and then I discovered the nasty batting. Yuck! This stuff was gross!

 
The front was next and oh look! More nasty batting! This was as far as I got back in January. Fast forward to this past Saturday...

 
Then off came the fabric on the arms. When you start on the front make sure you label each side (right & left) of each of the arms. Label the batting as well since you will reuse that later on.

 
Once I got to this point I was just ready to be done so this was where I failed on the picture taking. Basically I just peeled and peeled off layers until the chair was bare. In order to remove the fabric on the cushion and back of the chair you have to unscrew them first. But that's it, really! Now for the fun part! 

 
I enlisted my fabulous mother-in-law to help me with the sewing. She will probably die when she sees this picture! Sorry, Bev... I just wanted to make sure you got credit for your amazing work! The cushion requires a couple stitches as well as the arms. If you want to add piping you will need to sew that too. 

Again, I failed miserably at taking pictures as we put the fabric back on. I was too excited about getting it finished to stop to take pictures every five minutes. So are you ready for the Before and After? Drumroll, please!

.......................... Ta-da!
 
 
To wrap up, I purchased my fabric from Fabric.com for $7.48 a yard. I bought 6 yards, but I only ended up using about 5 yards. I also purchased an electric staple gun for $30.00 just to make the project a little easier on myself. So the total cost of this project (excluding the electric staple gun) was just $70! Paying $70 for a custom upholstered wingback chair made it worth every second of the work!


DIY Show Off Photobucket

122 comments:

  1. Great Job Hannah!!! (Melinda Jones)

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  2. Looks awesome, Hannah! I've been waiting to see the finished product since you said you were going to do it...GREAT JOB! :) (Lindsey Clark)

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  3. Wow! You did such a great job on this!

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  4. It looks great! I have two wing back chairs that I would love to reupholster!

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  5. It turned out perfect! I love it! Mandy hall

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  6. Wow! You did a great job with that! I once took apart a chair very similar to that one and life happened to me as well and when I went back to finish it I had no idea where to start. I ended up taking the poor thing to a goodwill, and someone bought it right away. I guess they figured all the dirty work had already been completed lol. But anyway, your chair looks great, I really like that fabric you chose;)

    Jenny from diywithjenandb.blogspot.com

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  7. Excellent work. I like that blue pattern. I have an old rounded- wicker back chair I've been wanting to re-do. Maybe I'll hire you instead.

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  8. It is absolutely stunning, right up my alley. Kuddos to you and your Mother-in-law for taking this on! I bought a wingback for my Kindergarten class last summer but chickened out of reupholstering it and just painted it bright orange... lol. Honestly, a fabulous chair - LOVE!
    Krista @thehappyhousie

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  9. Beautiful job! I have done quite a bit of upholstery so I know all the work it took to get it this gorgeous. Beautiful fabric and great tips. I'd love for you to share this at Transformed Tuesday. My readers will love it.
    http://pjhdesignsoneofakind.blogspot.com/2013/04/transformed-tuesday-35-features.html

    Hope you have time to stop by.

    Hugs,
    Peggy~PJH Designs

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  10. So pretty! You did an amazing job! I love the colors and the pattern, simply amazing. :)

    Angela Says

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  11. WOW! This is a fabulous tutorial! Great job - it turned out beautifully! Thanks for sharing it at LWSL this week as well - hope to see you back next week!

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  12. I love the fabric you chose! I have had two chairs sitting in my garage for over a year now, halfway finished like when you left off in January. They were $10 each from a girl on Craigslist and they will be so FAB... if I ever get around to it.

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  13. I'm dying. That chair is adorable!! Do another one and take more pictures of the sewing part!! I totally get intimidated by the sewing, especially when it comes to the layers around the arms with piping and all that!

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    1. I also wish there were more pics of the sewing and finishing work. But using the removed pieces as patterns to cut the new pieces, and labeling them first should simplify the process. I have an old upholstery book that shows how to do the piping. I have an old chair that desperately needs refinishing, but i will not strip it first. I plan to simply re-cover it and cover the cushions. Won't look as nice, but definitely better.

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  14. Wow, that chair looks amazing, I love the fabric and color choice! I wish I had your sewing skills, I'm still on straight lines with minimal curves. ;)

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  15. Wow! You are brave! I have been wanting to try re-upholstering a wing back and am so scared!! Go you! This looks great! I LOVE the fabric you chose! Hope you have an awesome weekend!
    Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof

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  16. Wow! I'm really impressed with the work you put in on his project! I would have panicked at the site of the bones of it and probably run for the hills! Great job!

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  17. You did a fantastic job for being your first upholstering job. I have done a little but wing-back chairs scare me. I have one that needs a makeover but I'm ignoring it for now. I have to say the best purchase was buying a pneumatic staple gun, it hooks up to air and shoots staples with a touch to the trigger. I also use it for small wood projects.

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  18. This is so amazing, and you so brave to take this on as a first project. Kudos lady!
    Karen @ annumography

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  19. The fabric you used is beautiful! And you did such a great job! We'll be featuring this over at Someday Crafts tomorrow, so come take a look if you have some time!

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  20. Thanks so much for linking to Make the Scene Monday @ Alderberry Hill. You are being featured this evening!
    I hope you are having a wonderful weekend, and join me tomorrow evening for Make the Scene Monday #72!

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  21. You did an amazing job! I'm so in love with that fabric! I would love to give this a try with all the awesome, but seriously ratty and dirty, chairs people post for free on Craigslist. Way to go!

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  22. This is absolutely stunning! I love the fabric choice. If you get a chance, please share this on my linky party: http://suburbsmama.blogspot.com/2013/04/sunday-link-party-5.html

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  23. Wow!! Amazing!! I have 2 of these bad boys that need recovering. Was going to pay someone to do it but maybe this school teacher will make it a DIY project for this summer!
    Thanks for sharing!
    *pinned*

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  24. great job! I love how you transformed this wingback chair! The fabric you choose is beautiful! this is an amazing project you decided to tackle! glad to have found your lovely blog through suburbsmama linky party today! Ingrid

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  25. Holy wow! This is so impressive. I'm you're newest follower -- afterall, if you can tackle a chair like this, I definitely don't want to miss anything else that you have up your sleeve :)

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  26. I am so overwhelmed by all of the sweet comments I have received from everyone! Thank you for stopping by Lovely Little Life and admiring my project!

    -Hannah-

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  27. What an amazing job- I think I would be scared to tackle that big of a project but you knocked it out of the park!
    Mandy@ The Hankful House

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  28. Wow! What a beautiful and thrifty transformation!

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  29. This looks great! I think I'd have to number each piece as I took it off or I'd forget where it goes back! :)

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  30. Fabulous! I love the fabric!! Great colors! Thanks for linking up to my Pin Me Linky Party!

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  31. Stunning! It turned out amazing! You should be very proud!

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  32. It turned out beautifully! This is a project I would love to tackle one day, but it is a little intimidating! Thanks for sharing your pictures and process!

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  33. Just fabulous. I don't know if I'd have the stamina, but you rocked this one! I know you already know you've been featured , but I wanted to stop by and say it here too! Thanks for sharing & linking to the Craftastic Monday party at Sew Can Do!

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  34. VERY impressed you tackled a wingback for your first upholstery project. It looks amazing. I love seeing what's underneath, too! Great job :)

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  35. I found your chair suburbs mama's linky party... It is so adorable!!! I absolutely love the fabric!!

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  36. amazing amazing amazing!!! it's so beautiful. people would pay THOUSANDS for a chair like this!

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  37. I'm glad I saw this post over at HoH. I inherited the same wingback chair, once re-upholstered and needs to be done again. I now have the "push" I need to think I can do it... wish me luck!

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  38. i'm about to attempt my most difficult re-upholstery project yet...a LaZboy! it's definitely worth it to buy the nice stapler cause then projects go by so quickly!

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  39. Congratulations! This post is featured over at Diana Rambles today and has been pinned in the Featured at Diana Rambles board at Pinterest. Please grab a featured button off my sidebar or via the link under the features. Thanks for sharing this awesome idea!

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  40. OHmygosh! You're my hero for doing this project!! I've wanted to try reupholstering for over a year, but I haven't braved it yet. Your chair looks amazing!!

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  41. Woo Hoo! Great job and definitely a statement piece! You rock girl, most people would never attempt. I have a wing chair waiting in the wings, :) for a new life. You have given me Hope!!!

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  42. http://bzhomeliving.blogspot.com/2012_11_01_archive.html

    I reupholstered a pair of wingback chairs and did not strip them down all the way like you did! That must have been a lot of work. Mine had a detached cushion. Your fabric is fabulous. Good job!

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  43. Your chair looks wonderful and I really enjoyed your step-by-step photos when you were able to take them. I want to let you know that the batting you removed isn't as gross as you think: I have purchased this stuff brand new from a wholesale upholstery vendor, and it arrives looking yucky/oatmeal colored/strange. It looks old when it's brand new! It comes apart in your hands very easily. The stuff is on rolls/sheets, but it comes apart very easily. The purpose of this texture is that it makes the batting very easy to conform to curved wooden furniture shapes. You can stretch it, wrap it around corners, etc because of this funny texture.

    Just wanted you to know about this product. Great work and bravo to both you and your mother in law. I wish my mother in law sewed with me!

    Jill

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  44. The chair turned out fantastic! I bought one just like it at GW yesterday for $15. I figured that was cheap enough for me to practice on and I won't be too disappointed if it doesn't turn out very well. Thanks for inspiring me to just do it!

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  45. Amazing transformation! I love the fabric, Great colors.Luxury Beds and Mattresses

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  46. I am gearing up to do this to 2 chairs I recently scored. I was just curious if you could share approx how much fabric you used, mine are almost identical to yours. Also did you add new padding all over? It looks great and I'm excited to get started!

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  47. You did a very nice job for the first time. However you need center the large pattern in the back then continue the match into the seat an then into the band so that it looks like a continuous flow of the pattern. I am a master upholsterer and have been doing this for 35 years. Keep up the good work.

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  48. Thanks for the post, and my mom has been really big into upholstery projects lately. And she's been wondering if you can paint upholstery, and I'll have to tell her the that you can.

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  49. How did you know the measurements of what to sew? Did you use the previous fabric for templates?

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  50. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  51. This is a really cool post and I like being able to see how a process is done. I've always wanted to see the reupholstering of a chair and your post really helped me. I think I might want to reupholster a chair that sits in my living room. http://www.demancheupholstery.com/residential_services

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  52. The chair looks great! The tutorial to take it apart is great, no tutorial on how to recover the chair. Not any help.

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  53. Pretty chair..But would have been more helpful to learn how to reassemble... anyone can rip apart.

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  54. I have a wing back chair, that I have been thinking of redoing it, but I'm too scared to start. You did a marvelous job in redoing that piece. I love the outcome!

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  55. Amazing amazing amazing! Chair after renovation looks great. Now it has a second life :)

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  56. Beautiful chair, but you failed all of us in not giving finishing pictures. I thought I might be able to do this, but I have no idea what to do to finish the sewing and reassembly. Maybe you could finish this on another chair or at least with verbal instructions.

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  57. I have a wood chair to recover but thank goodness it's just the seat and back portion. I'm very intimidated by the piping! Is it necessary to have piping on the new material if it was on the old? Is there a tutorial on how to create and sew on the Piping around the cushions?

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  58. So sad, I have two that need to be reupholstered. So, with this article I can take it off but have no idea how to put it back on! Very sad! Why, Why, Why! Beautiful chair but of no used to me. :(

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  59. I am getting ready to do the same kind of chair, but I purchased a pattern. Someone told me it would take 7 to 10 yards of fabric. Like you, I was going to order it off fabric.com since their prices are soooo reasonable. If I don't have to match a stripe or design, I should be safe with 6 yards?

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  60. This is great! I have always loved wing back chairs but they are so expensive. I could easily go to a thrift store and get one I could reupholster. This tutorial looks easy enough!

    Alena | http://www.cliftonupholstery.com.au

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  61. Can you tell me how you reattached the parts on the front of the arm? I reupholstered a chair and I can't figure out that last part!

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  62. the taking apart is easy...I would have loved to see how you cut, sewed, stapled, reassembled, etc. I am surprised you did not buy new batting since you said how nasty it was. Also, what type of fabric did you use? Will it wear well, is it stain-resistant, how did you determine how much to buy? And how much time did it really take to put it back together?

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  63. I love how you reupholstered this chair. My grandmother left me a chair like this after I moved into my apartment. It's really old and a little gross. I've been thinking about reupholstering her old chair like the one in your pictures. I don't look forward to having to tear out the gross strips and staples on the sides of the chair. I hope there aren't any bugs in her old chair!
    Deanna R. Jones | http://mdemancheupholstery.com

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  64. I am more interested in how you put it back together more so than how you took it apart...I could follow directions with how to dis-assemble every piece of the chair but then what do I do after that?

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  65. It's amazing what you can do to an old piece of furniture like that! I've been wanting to get my couch's upholstery fixed up a bit. You did a phenomenal job which makes me want to look into doing this myself too!
    http://contractrefurbishing.com

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  66. My grandmother had a couple of these kinds of chairs, I have inherited them, but they have been in my shed for a while because I don't like the ugly maroon color that they are. I'm glad I came across this because I would love re upholster the chairs and see how they turn out. I'm excited to see the results. http://www.creativedesignguild.com/photos/

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  67. Nice post, I like the pictures if all the process. Very well done work. Sharing in Facebook rigthnow!

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  71. I really appreciate your blog! Any suggestions for attaching the front pieces to the arm (the curved pieces that face outward on the arm). Thanks!

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  105. Great project but you really didn't show how to get the chair back together! Was it really reassembled with a staple gun??

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  106. Fabulous job! You did not, however, say how you cut the pieces with the new fabric. Use the old fabric as a "pattern"? And I'm assuming you did not use the nasty batting again on the new upholstery? What type of batting do you use for a project like this? Just a bit more explanation would be really helpful for those of us who have never done anything like this before! Just gorgeous!

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  107. Hi there! I'm in the process of upholstering a wing back chair, too! I was wondering if you know where to purchase additional batting if you need it? My batting looks similar to yours, but I'm not able to reuse it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

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  108. Hi there! I'm in the process of upholstering a wing back chair, too! I was wondering if you know where to purchase additional batting if you need it? My batting looks similar to yours, but I'm not able to reuse it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Talia,

      Hello! I purchased my batting at Jo Ann Fabrics, but I'm sure Michael's and Hobby Lobby would have some too. Good luck!

      Hannah

      Delete
  109. Wow. Thank you for all of the pictures. Really helps me see what I am in for :) I found some fabric at https://topfabric.com/ that I am dying to use on my two chairs. Hope I don't mess them up!

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