Monday, May 12, 2014

Upholstery and Paint - Vintage Chair


Before and After Picture

I found this vintage chair (October 1969- Missouri, from the stamp on the bottom of the chair) in my alley way 2 years ago. My neighbor was clearing up his house to put it on the market. It seems to be an office desk chair to me. When I saw the chair, I immediately thought that it would be perfect to put Lucas’s booster seat to share his meals with us at the table instead of using our regular dining chair (all covered up). The chair appeared to be somewhat smaller, narrower and the seat sits higher than our current dining chairs. I saw this chair as a Perfect Chair for the messy-mess meals!

  • Project: Repaint the chair’s frame, upholster the cover seat and back.

  • Chair Description 

The frame of the chair is in metal. It was painted in beige and had some chipped areas. The seat itself was covered with a black vinyl cover and with some areas which were really damaged. The original seat underneath (I am guessing) was yellow and made out of coils. The back of the chair (top) was in covered in black vinyl as well.

Back View of the Chair
Front View of the Chair

  • Supplies:
- Fabric: ¼ of a yard of Oil cloth Glen Plaid Yellow (100% Vinyl) from
- Paint: 1 spray paint can – black Valspar gloss finish (paint and prime in one)

  • Painting
1. Sand the chipped paint areas on the chair.

2. Spray paint the chair and crews. As you can see on the picture, I screwed the tip on the screws in a cardboard box to easily apply the spray paint. I only apply 2 quotes in some specific areas.

3. Let it dry for several hours (outside if you can).

  • Chair Top Cover

After cutting enough fabric to cover the front of the top seat, I thought that I would use some tacky glue to apply on the original vinyl cover to cover it. It did not work. It was not sticking after waiting few hours.

The oil cloth is cut to cover the front of the top of the chair

Trying to have the Tacky Glue to stick!

Plan B: I used my hot glue gun. I only put some glue on the edges of the fabric flowing the original template of the top chair cover. I also made some "V" looking cut in the fabric for the corners to fit to the top seat.

The Hardest Part: The Corners

Hot glue on the edges of the fabric for the back of the top of the chair

View of the Back Top of the Chair

  • The Seat
I cut the original seat cover to have a perfect template for the new fabric. The seat had 2 pieces sewed together. Because of the nature of the fabric (oil cloth - vinyl), I could not use pins to hold the 2 pieces of fabric together. I used some painter’s tape to connect the 2 pieces of fabric on the top to help with the sewing part.

Using the old parts to make a perfect template

My 2 pieces to make the seat (folded into 2)

Painter's tape to help the fabric stay together while sewing

This part was tedious but was necessary to sew the 2 parts of the seat. The sewing part took a long time because of the angles and corners. Make sure to use the appropriate needle for your fabric. I had to use a special needle for strong fabric. My only recommendation for this part is to take your time because the end result will show.
Back of the Seat

Back Side of the Seat

Front Side of the Seat

Front of the Seat

My original plan was to make a cover that I would slide on the top and would till and secure the seat by pulling a string just like the current black vinyl cover. I had to go with a plan B (again). The seat cover perfectly fitted the seat and there was no need to make a hem to pull a sting through to secure the seat cover. Instead of making a seat cover, I ended up upholstering the seat. Because I was working with a metallic chair, I used my hot glue gun to glue the extra fabric from the seat cover to the bottom of the metallic chair.

Magic of the hot glue gun to seal the fabric to the metallic bottom of the seat

I had fun giving a TLC to this chair which was a first for my working with a metallic chair. The experience was positive and learned a lot making this new seat. I will definitively do another one. Check for a coming up post about an antique Canadian school desk!

Laetitia :-)

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