Tag Archives: chairs

Sitting Comfortably

I think it would be fair to say that I have fallen in love with re-furbishing vintage and antique chairs and whilst it has been a complete learning curve for me, I have to admit that I have enjoyed all of the challenges that each of our Chair Projects have thrown at us. Believe me, these two were no exception.

We discovered these two ornate chairs in a gorgeous Flea Market in Hove called Department. Once we started to strip them back, we could see that they had already been re-upholstered once before. Lets just say that I think whoever did them before had got a little staple happy from looking at the Mount Everest size mountain of staples we had to remove from the two chairs.

Chairs Before

Close Up Stripping Of Chair

We wanted to try something a bit different on these chairs, something a bit more rustic and so after some hardy negotiating at our favourite Brighton Street Market, we came away with some Hemp upholstery fabric and decorative nail strips (which we had previously used, and loved, in one our New Throne post). I had a visual in mind of what I wanted the chairs to look like, so I turned to my trusty friend Annie Sloane to provide the paint distressed wood furniture finish that would complete our rustic worn-down vintage look.

Now, I know that you may have probably read through our chair blogs before and whilst obviously riveted by our tales of upholstery trials and tribulations, I wanted to focus more on the distressed paint effect achieved on this particular project. I read recently that Annie Sloane’s paints are a bit like a bug, “once bitten, your home won’t ever look the same again” and I realised how true that was. I counted back over our many projects and realised that we had equally fallen in love with this fantastic paint, along with the rest of the furniture restoration fanatics out there. So I thought I would share with you, how we achieved the look we wanted on these chairs.

Chalk Paint Close Up

The beauty with using Chalk Paint is that most wood surfaces do not need any preparation prior to applying the paint itself. However a good friend of ours said it was always best to give any varnished surface a good sanding to help the paint hold even better. We found this to be true.

Sanded Chair

Ensure that you use a good quality paintbrush and apply the paint quite thickly. Don’t be afraid to move the brush in different directions, garaunteeing that the paint gets worked into every nook and cranny. Depending on the finish you want to acheive, you may want to add another coat, however one coat is sometimes enough, as it’s very thick paint.

Close Up of painted chair

Once the paint (whether one coats or two) is dry then pick your sandpaper of choice. Again, depending on the look you want to achieve you may want to go for either a fine grain sandpaper or more of a coarser grain. For our chair we used a coarse grain sandpaper as we wanted the wood underneath to be quite noticeable. Be sure to think about where you are rubbing the paint away. Think about where the paint could naturally be worn away over time and concentrate your efforts on those areas more.

sanding chair

One alternative to sand paper is wire wool. This can sometimes be a bit more aggressive, but is easier to control around more rounded surfaces.

Wire wool chair

To seal the the painted surface, use a soft cloth to rub in a coat of clear wax. As we were using white chalk paint we only used the clear wax, but there is a darker wax you can buy that gives a more distressed and worn look. We had used this on our TV stand project earlier in the summer.

Annie Sloane Wax


Waxing the chair

After the paint was applied and finished with the wax, we set about stapling the fabric to the main body of the chairs. Again we had used the previous fabric as a template to cut out the hemp upholstery fabric.

Fabric templates

Close up of fabric

We decided to add back in the upholstery buttons which had previously been blocked up and covered when the chairs were re-upholstered before. Knowing that finish would look the better for it, we covered the twenty buttons needed. To see how to do this in more detail, you can read our blog entry ‘Push The Button‘.

Buttons front


buttons back

After stapling like crazy and applying the finishing touches of the decorative nail strip’s, the twin chairs were finished and ready. Actually I’m sitting in one as I type this now.

two chairs option 3

A New Throne for a New Home – Part 2

Tah dah, we finally did it. Now I know that this sounds like a fairly small triumph in the year we have Olympians breaking all manner of records, but nonetheless, it is with great pleasure we’d like to reveal our latest DIY achievement. Our lovely new chair.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking, but you’ve upholstered a chair before. Nothing new here. Yes, that’s technically true, but around this time last year we would have never thought this possible. You see our blog URL is just nine months old this June. It was this time last summer when we stumbled upon the idea of ReMadeIt, and look how far we’ve come. So without further delay I’ll stop gloating and let you know how we did it.

In our last update we spoke about how we had three main things to cover. First up, the right arm was in pretty bad shape with a large crack down the middle. After some careful inspection, it turned out just a little bit of wood glue and some clamping was all we needed. A collective ‘phew’ and we’re on our way to tackling the next thing – a large hole where the cushion straps used to be.

To be honest, I thought ‘d have this done in a flash. I mean, how hard can strapping upholstery webbing to the chair be, right? Well how wrong I was. It turned out that you needed the hands of a five year old to get in between the frame to staple it down. After much cursing and two tea breaks to de-stress it finally came together. Thankfully all I then had to do was paint the chair. The upholstery is Anna’s bag.


To re-upholster the chair we adopted the same method used in our previous story – a lovely chair for two. This involves carefully laying out the old fabric pieces and using them as a template for the new fabric. A top tip is to not undercut, you’ll need to do a fair amount of stretching. Better to have too much which you can just trim off afterwards.

We seemed to be sailing through this until the discovery of a very sad looking cushion. It’d clearly had some mileage and perhaps a rather large previous owner. No problem for Anna, who managed to carve a new one with nothing but a square of foam and a very sharp bread knife. Yes a bread knife, in fact my new bread knife which has now been renamed the cushion knife.


Finally to finish we have discovered something brilliant, decorative nail strips. Now I know this does not sound that exciting, but with just a few taps of the hammer we were done. Who needs a fiddly trim eh! Anyway, we finished just in time for the new house move and our new throne sits proudly in our new home.

A New Throne for a New Home

We’ve got so much catching up to do. You see, we’ve just moved to sunny Hove and are very much overdue a chat on some of the cool stuff we’ve been making. The thing about moving is most of your stuff doesn’t fit anymore. That kitchen table we loved so much is too large, what do we do with Anna’s sewing machine, where did we manage to hide so many pairs of shoes? Oh, and we need a new chair.

But here at ReMadeIt we can’t just pop off to the latest DFS sale (which is always on by the way) to get a new chair. Oh no, we need to make or restore one. So off we set to find a chair. The only problem is we’ve had a bit of rain recently, actually who am I kidding? The rain has been relentless. I’ve been moping around Brighton all week, wet and cold while Anna drags me into countless second hand shops, markets and boot fairs looking for this elusive chair.


We found a 50’s style sofa, but that was deemed too large. Then there was the Ercol chair near Preston Park, but that required all of our life savings. We’d almost given up hope, only to discover a diamond in the rough round the back of the North Lanes. To be fair, the bloke who owned the shop looked pretty miserable standing in the rain, so it was no trouble at all bargaining him down to £20. Then came our next problem, how do you get this monster into the back of a mini? We squeezed here, nudged there and even tried a make shift roof rack. A short cab home later pushed the chair price up to £30. Still a bargain.

So that’s the good news. The bad news? The chair has seen much better days.  Oh, I know there are those of you out there chuckling, thinking not such a bargain now eh! But I’m telling you this is going to look brilliant when we are done with it. I’m not going to lie, we were slightly terrified at the size of the task, we’d be moving in a couple of days and still had to pack, but I’m slightly warming to this chair.

First things first, we needed to strip the chair down. Cough, cough, cough we went as decades of dust flew into the air. Time to invest in a face mask and some goggles I think. Sadly there were no coins or lost lottery tickets like the Victorian chair, just a mountain of dust. Once down to the bare bones we quickly summed up there were three things we needed to do.

1)      Repair the arm which had a crack down the middle.

2)      Fix the hole in the bottom. A comedy chair is not what we’re after here.

3)      Get Anna to find some fancy fabric to reupholster it with.

After a bit of DIY woodworking on the arm we left it to dry and headed off into town to source some fabric.
Click here to see how the finished chair looked.

Put your Feet Up

If there’s anything we’re always on the prowl for it’s an old dusty bit of furniture, crying out to made into something else. It’s a tricky thing of course, because at one time it would have sat proudly in someones home, being just what it is. But we can’t help it. I see a twist here, Anna spies a curve there and the next thing you know we’re making a table into a footstool.

In my mind, I thought I’d stumbled onto a winner. Lovely curved wooden legs, like some kind of retired exotic dancer, peering out from the back of a charity shop. Although once getting home it seemed I’d been duped by the tables’ evocative powers. Sadly up top she wasn’t in great shape. It just didn’t feel right to paint, polish or even worse……… bite the bullet and throw the table away.

So with a little wave of Anna’s upholstery wand, that ugly duckling of a coffee table was turned into a beautiful swan of a cushioned ottoman style footstool.

What you need to make your own

  • An old table from a charity shop
  • Sandpaper, paint and wax for finishing
  • Foam – around 7cm thick
  • Spray glue
  • Cotton batting
  • Some old fabric for upholstery fabric. We had some leftover from the make your own ipad case blog
  • Staple gun
  • Buttons and string
I thought I’d fail at the first hurdle trying to get the top off. At one stage I was using a broom stick to lever it out, only to discover I’d forgotten to remove one of the screws. Slightly embarrassing. Hopefully you’ll sail through this bit and straight onto stripping down the table legs to remove all the old varnish. This is also the best time to cut down the legs if your table is on the tall side. Paint, wax or varnish to the finish you’d prefer.
Lay out the foam on a flat surface and place table upside down on top. Draw around the edge of the table onto the foam to make your template. Cut the foam with a serrated knife, a bread knife will do. Spray one side of the foam with glue and position on top of the table. Measure and cut a piece of cotton batting to cover the foam. You’ll need a bit of excess of around 6cm at the edges. Place over the foam and staple in place. Start from the middle of each side and leave a space in the corners. This will let you finish the corners like you would with a flat sheet corner on a mattress.
Lay your fabric over the top of the cotton batting and repeat the stapling process. Cut off any excess fabric, before screwing the legs back on. Then make a cup of tea, pat yourself on the back and take a seat.

Tip; If you’re going to add buttons drill holes into the table top before covering so you have something to tie the string round.