Seamingly Crafty

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Ugly Chair Facelift

photo ©Stacey Austin

While shopping for antiques and collectables I came across this ugly chair.  It was good price and I instantly visualized how beautiful it could be 🙂

I purchased a few things for the facelift.  But still keeping my cost low.  I am going to walk you through step by step on how to give an old ugly chair a facelift!

Materials Needed:

The chair of course

flat head and Phillips screwdrivers

drill (may not be necessary)

drill bit (may not be necessary)

stapler & staples

rubber mallet

Krylon Fusion no sanding needed spray paint in your choice of color

1½-2 yards of fabric

cushion and batting (may not be necessary)


fabric paint for tufting buttons in matching color with material

hard bristle paint brush

tufting string and needle

chair sliders

Let’s get started.  The first thing you want to do is check the stability of the chair if there are any loose arms or legs you will want to tighten the screw in them.  My chair had a loose arm so this is where the drill came in because the screw was under a plug that was flat to the surface of the arm rest.  I drilled out the plug carefully and used the screw driver to tighten the screw.

Next you will want to pop off any plugs on the back of the chair that hide the screws holding the back cushion on.  Do this with the Flathead screwdriver.  If any of them break or will not come out you may need to drill them out.  Save any or all of the plugs that were not ruined, you will need them later.  Now remove all the screws holding on the back and bottom cushions.  Set these aside.  I am very clumsy at times so I put all my parts in a Ziploc baggie for safe keeping 🙂

Be sure your chair is clean and free of any debris.

This is a good time to pull off any pads from the bottom of the chair legs.

photo ©Stacey Austin

Now comes the fun part! 🙂  I normally do not think spray painting is fun BUT with this amazing new product, Krylon Fusion, it makes painting virtually any surface so much easier by eliminating the need to sand!!  I mean look at the chair, I would need a Dremmel as well as a sander to do this, making it cost more $$ and that is not what I like! 🙂  I like green and frugal projects!

So using this wonder product spray the chair.  Keep in mind you will get a better finish if you do multiple thin coats as apposed to one to two heavy coats.  Also spray those plugs you removed.

photo ©Stacey Austin

While your chair is drying lets get to the next step!

Using the Flathead screwdriver remove the staples from the back cushion and carefully pull the fabric away from the batting.  If your chair cushion has tufting buttons cut the strings before pulling back the material. Do the same with the bottom cushion but take care not to damage the cover (if one is on it) unless it is in bad shape then you will need replace it. This material is cheap but you may also use the material you purchased to cover the cushions.  Or none at all, no one is going to be looking under your chair. 😉

photo ©Stacey Austin

Once you have finished the daunting task of removing the staples inspect the batting and cushion.  If they are stained or smell or are falling apart you will want to replace it.  It is a good idea to bring the wood in with you so the employee at the fabric store can cut the foam to fit.  Unless you choose to cut the foam yourself. OK so lets move on.

lay the bottom cushion on the wrong side of your fabric taking care to keep the nap in the correct direction.  We wouldn’t want horizontal lines on the bottom and angled lines on the back cushion :S  Cut around the cushion leaving enough material to fold over the cushion.  Do the same for the back cushion then flip the material over the back of the back cushion and carefully cut out around the cushion this layer will be stapled to the back of the back cushion because it can be seen… we can’t leave this part exposed.

In this next step I chose to re use the tufting buttons that I took off of the chair.  I did not see a point in making another purchase if I could make due with what I had.  So, I used black fabric paint and a stiff brush and painted the buttons black.  Worked out pretty well!

photo ©Stacey Austin

photo ©Stacey Austin

Using your stapler starting with the bottom cushion fold up a corner and secure with a staple, follow the lines left from the staples you removed to ensure you don’t staple too far from or too close to the edge.  Next pull and fold over the opposite corner and staple.  Make sure the fabric is taut.  Repeat on the last two corners.

photo ©Stacey Austin

fold over the material close to the corners and secure with a staple making the corner look nice. I like to flip the cushion over to see how the pattern looks.. it may be necessary to pull tighter in some spots than others to make sure the pattern is nice and even.  I put in a few staples and check the pattern, pulling tighter where needed.  Once the material is secure trim the excess material away.  Lay the cover on and staple in place.

Follow the same process to cover the back cushion.  Before you put the cover on the back use your tufting string and needle to put the buttons on.

photo ©Stacey Austin

Start in one of the upper holes on the back of the cushion and secure your first button.  Do this by pushing the needle through the hole then through the back of the button then back into the cushion and out of the back.  Remove the needle  and pull the string tight and secure with a staple, pull to the side slightly and secure again two more times or so.  Do not staple the string straight, you want to zig zag the string and staple this will keep it from pulling out.

Photo ©Stacey Austin

Photo ©Stacey Austin


Now cut excess material cover with the piece you cut out and staple in place then trim excess.

Photo ©Stacey Austin

If you have not taken a break, now is a good time.  Do some stretches or have a cup of coffee! 🙂  Laundry.. YUK! lol anyway you should step away if you find you are having difficulty throughout the project.  I find that if I do this when I come back to it, my head is refreshed and I am ready to get it finished!

Little side story… I did not have my proper stapler at first so I thought maybe using my hubby’s hammer tacker (stapler) would work out just fine… WRONG!  Yeah.. this girl… hammer tackered her thumb!! OUCH!! poor thing is all bruised and swollen and unable to hit the space bar as we speak… and it is awkward not using it for the space bar. lol  So please do not attempt to supplement the proper stapler for this project.  SAVE A THUMB! 😀

Alright we are ready to get the cushions back on! wohoo! So if you listened to me your screws will be all secure in a baggy. grab them out and re screw them into the cushions.. Don’t over tighten them.  You want them tight then a quarter turn.

If you saved the plugs using a rubber mallet pound them back in.

Last step before enjoying your new old chair.  Flip the chair over onto a table if it has not been at least 4 hours since you sprayed the chair put it on top of a towel or two to ensure you do not chip the paint on the arms.  Using your rubber mallet pound in the super sliders onto the bottom of the legs.

Photo ©Stacey Austin


photo ©Stacey Austin


If this was your first recovering of a chair pat yourself on the back! My first time sucked 😉  and it looked horrid!  This was my… well… heck I don’t remember how many recovers I did on chairs and stools etc. 🙂

Till next time, Keep it green, keep it frugal and keep it CRAFTY!


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