Finished: My Barrel Chair Makeover

As you know, I’ve been working on my Barrel Chair. Since I finished it this past weekend, I feel it’s only fair that I share this process with you. It’s my first reupholstery project and I even learned to use my sewing machine to tackle it. It was a lot of fun, but it’s also a weight lifted now that it’s done.

BEFOREchair

Here she is above, the day I got her from Salvation Army. Isn’t she a beaut? She just needs some TLC.

ChairRendering

After looking around pinterest and google images for different type of barrel chairs, I did a mockup in photoshop and decided that above rendering was the way to go. I just need to fix and darken the wood, and buy a creamy white fabric to reupholster it. This way I could mix and match fun  pillows to add an accent color. Also, by avoiding a pattern, that would make my first sewing project way easier.

Chair1

I started by cleaning and taking inventory on what needed to be replaced. I also took TONS of photos as I dissected the chair so I could really understand how it all needed to go back together.

Chair2

I really paid close attention to details like what order were these materials placed? How are they connected? So first sewed then stapled? I made a little map for myself of what I thought the order of assembly should be.

Chair3

Chair4

Stapled below, then stapled on top, then covered? I’m a fabric detective.

Chair5

Well that’s sneaky.. glue, staples and tread.

Chair6

CHAIR GUTS!!!

Chair7

All the insides. What can be saved and what must be tossed?

Chairs8

Once the chair was fully detatched from the frame, I took it outside to spray.

Chair9

I used wood filler to smooth out the many notches and damages in the wood. I decided to skip traditional stain and instead spray paint it a chocolate brown. This was an excellent idea, as stain would have drawn attention to all the rehab work I had to do on it. After a couple coats of spray paint, the chair looked brand new. I then put a glossy coat of polyurethane over the whole chair to make it look shiny and clean.

Chair10

Next up, upholstery time! Get out those sheers! I was able to find a fabric I liked at Jo Ann’s Fabrics (although after my trip downtown this weekend, I wish I had looked at Michael Levines). I got tons of fabric because I assumed I would fail and have to start over.

Chair11

I decided to start with the backing, which was a lot easier than it looked.

Chair12

I also added a strip of piping to the front seat of the chair. This is how the last fabric had been applied, and I was set on matching it.

Chair13

Unfortunately, as I started attaching the back, I could see wrinkles because it wasn’t tight enough. When I tried to make it tighter, you could see the bumps of the buttons from the front. That’s when I realized I still needed a material (like what was originally on the chair) to sculpt the backing to be smooth. That’s why I went to Michael Levine this past weekend, and for $2.50 my problem was solved.

Chair14

I then came home and continued with the backing, making it extra tight and firm with the addition of the padding. Once I stapled it in and cleaned up the edges (above) it was really starting to come together.

Chair15

Now on to the bottom cushion and the piping!

Chair16

I was able to ruse the inside of the piping. And the bottom cushion, which I was SO afraid to tackle, turned out to be the easiest part of the chair! Just wrap and staple!

Chair17

Isn’t she pretty? I know the piping didn’t turn out perfect, and Im sure I made some other mistakes along the way, but she really came out beautiful. It’s so comfortable and fits in nicely in the house.

Chair18

Look how smooth that backing is?! The $2.50 foam really made the difference, and I’ve got plenty left over for future projects.

Chair19

Here’s a throw pillow we had around the house. It’s a nice size and the bright color stands out nicely. I’m thinking maybe my next ( or down the line) project will be making a pillow with some fun fabric I saw at Michael Levine. It’ll help me learn more about my sewing machine and you know how I love DIY!

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6 thoughts on “Finished: My Barrel Chair Makeover

  1. I totally had this chair in lime green velvet (trust me, it was pretty!) but I gave it away because it didn’t match. I wish I would’ve held onto it and reupholstered it like you!!

  2. Ok, so I have a pair of these rust, crushed velvet cuties in storage. I’ve tried to stain dings in the cane finish without luck. Now I’m considering a black lacquer type paint job. My chairs are identical except for tufted seats and the plain one on yours is better. So now I’ve got the courage to try upholstering them. But I’ll wait until it’s too hot to do anything outside. It will take me that long to choose fabric(s)! The seat looks like a box cushion & I’m uncertain about the “wrap & flip” instructions. Thanks and great job!

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