Yesterday I posted my tufted cane chair makeover, did you see it? I’m so excited about it! It’s definitely one of my favorite projects thus far!
Since I have very little upholstery experience, this project was a little daunting at first. It’s a big project and the whole tutorial is a bit long, so I thought I’d split it up into two posts – how to take it apart and how to put it back together!
Today I’m sharing how to take the chair apart and prep it for upholstery.
So, this is what we started with. A $2 garage sale find from, well, last summer! See all that dust? That was AFTER I vacuumed it off!! Yeah, I told you it was daunting, right? I was so nervous to work on this chair that I let it sit in my basement an entire year before working on it. Thankfully my mom was in need of a chair, otherwise it might have been in my basement for another few years! 😉
Okay, so try not to let your project sit around for that long! Just hop right in! Really, it will be alright!
Here are some supplies you’ll need:
Chalk Paint® in Country Grey & brush
Furniture wax & brush
Now that you have your supplies, let’s get started!
1. First thing you’ll want to do is remove the seat. Turn the chair over and take the screws out using your screwdriver.
2. Check out all the nasty crumbs, dust, and ummm, candy wrappers that were stuck in your chair for years! Try not to get grossed out!
3. Next you’ll remove the cording. You want to be gentle but firm when you do this. Mine was just hot glued on, so I just pulled it off. Make sure to be careful not to rip the caning. If pulling it off is not working, try to pry it up with a putty knife. Like I said, just be careful not to wreck the caning.
Cording is now off! Save it for later so you can reuse it.
(Yes! That’s more dust! Don’t fret. I cleaned it off before painting the chair!)
4. The next step is to pry the back rest off the chair. See in the picture above how it is just stapled on? To pry out staples, I like to use a flat head screwdriver and pliers. Pry each staple up a little bit with the screwdriver and once enough of the staple is showing, pull it out with the pliers.
Set the back rest aside so you can use it later.
5. This is what the chair will look like when the back rest is off. There will probably be a bit of padding/filler between the back rest and the actual back of the chair. Pull it off gently and set it aside for later.
I like to put mine in a plastic garbage bag for safe keeping until I need to use it again. We have two cats and I’m just not sure what they’d do with it! So, for safety’s sake, I make sure they can’t get to it.
6. Okay, now you need to get the back of the chair off. This part was one of the hardest/scariest parts for me. First, use the screwdriver and pliers method mentioned above to pull out the staples on the top and bottom.
The sides are a little trickier. I didn’t want to rip out all the staples because they were also holding the caning on. I was not about to mess with the caning because I REALLY didn’t want to ruin my chair! So I decided to cut it out instead.
With small, sharp scissors, cut the fabric away from the staples. Get your scissors as far under the caning as possible. You don’t want old fabric left exposed when you’re trying to reupholster the chair. That won’t be fun! Make small cuts and keep an eye on your line making sure not to cut the caning, either.
If your fabric isn’t stuck under the caning, by all means, pry it out like you did the rest of the fabric! Much easier! 🙂
Again, set the back aside so you can use it later.
Yay! Now you’re down to the shell! PART of the hard part is done! 😉 Now it’s time to paint!
7. Get out your Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and paint brush and get to painting. Oh, wait! First, wipe all that dust off the chair and sand any rough edges. Then start painting!
Paint the frame like you would any piece of furniture. The caning is a bit different. Put very little paint on your brush and work it into the caning very gently. If you see any paint starting to pool in the holes, use your paint brush to smooth it out and remove the excess. You’ll probably have to apply two to three coats on the caning, but it’s better to apply a little at a time than to apply too much and be left with globs of paint. Oh, and make sure to paint both sides of the caning! 🙂
8. Distress and wax the chair. You may choose to either not wax the caning at all or do a light coat of wax. To wax the caning, apply a very thin layer. Get just a very small amount of wax on your wax brush and wipe off the excess so there’s barely any wax on your brush. Brush the wax onto the caning and lightly wipe off any left over residue.
And you’re done! All ready for the next step – reupholstering!
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Want to see more pictures of the finished chair? Check them out here.
Ready to put the chair back together? Check out my upholstery post here.
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