Tuesday, February 18, 2014

DIY: Reupholstered Office Chair

I finished this project ages ago and it's about time I made a post about it! I decided that I would try to reupholster my office chair since the seat cushion and fabric had developed a good sized hole, I guess from all my squirming! All the online blogs with reupholstering tutorials that I came across were for chairs that were 2 separate pieces, like a back piece and a seat piece. My desk chair was just one whole piece so I wasn't really sure how I would go about doing it. The following directions are by no means how you're supposed to do something like this, but it's how I did it! My dad actually got me the desk chair a few years ago when his office was throwing a bunch of them away and he took as many as he could fit in his car from the dumpsters! (They were clean though!) That's probably why I had the attitude of if this worked, great!, If it didn't, I'd just go buy a new chair. I started the project at 10 PM, always a good time to start something, and not gonna lie, it was kinda a haphazard process, but I think it turned out pretty good!

- Spray paint(s) for the arm rest, chair backing, and legs (I used Krylon)
- Matte Clear Finish spray as a protective coating
- Cotton batting
- Fabric for the seat cushion
- Spray adhesive (I used 3M Super 77 Multipurpose Adhesive)
- Screwdriver
- Scissors


This was my chair before I made any changes to it.

o1. Remove The Screws
Use your screwdriver to remove the screws from the underside of the chair.

Already, at step one I ran into complications! The screws were so old that they were stripping as I tried to unscrew them so I couldn't take them out. If you don't encounter this problem, skip to step 2. If you so happen to run into this issue too, keep reading! I was still living at home at the time so I had access to my dad's tools. Luckily he had a power drill AND a kit just for extracting damaged screws! The kit was called Alden proGrabit.

Use one side of the extractor to drill a hole into the top of the damaged screw. Then, flip the extractor over to the screw head side and basically twist the damaged screw out.

This is what the extracted screw looks like.

This is the underside of the chair flipped to its side after I removed all the screws.

o2. Remove The Chair Padding
Most desk chairs I've seen have a wooden piece for the seat section with fabric wrapped over the batting and stapled into the underside of the wood. That would have been easy, but no... this chair was not like that. This chair had a plastic pegged-piece glued to the underside perimeter of the chair foam that snapped into the chair.

This is the chair with the padding removed.

o3. Spray Paint!
By this time, it was about midnight and I went outside to haphazardly spray paint the chair in the pitch black! I hate stopping a project once I've started even if the results will probably be compromised because I'm... impatient. Make sure to lay down some newspaper before you start spraying. Also, it's probably better to spray a side, wait for it to completely dry, and then flip it over to spray the other side. Not what I did... but whatevs!

These are the pieces the next morning after they dried. I covered the chair portion with newspaper and sprayed the legs silver, then covered the legs portion and sprayed the arms and chair backing a satin jade color. I know there are still some tan areas of the original color showing, but since they'd be under the chair, I figured it didn't really matter. Before I brought the pieces inside, I sprayed it with a few coats of the matte clear finish spray to make sure the paint wouldn't rub off.

o4. Affix New Batting and Fabric to Chair Padding
Here comes my precise method of laying down new fabric. Cut out a piece of batting for the seat cushion. Lay down newspaper or a trash bag on the ground before using spray adhesive to spray the batting over the original seat cushion.

Then, I flipped the chair padding over and cut my fabric around it. I cut about 2 inches of extra fabric but should have probably kept even up to 4 inches since the fabric gets tucked into the chair and gets pulled out a little when you sit on it. I also spray glued the fabric onto the chair. The fabric where the seat cushion meets the back part of the chair will need some folding in order to lay flat.

o5. Put Chair Back Together
Obviously, I didn't do a perfect job spray painting... but as long as I'm not laying on the ground gazing up at my chair, I won't mind. I also got new screws to replaced the damaged ones.

o6. Tuck Fabric In
Using a flathead screwdriver, tuck the fabric into the plastic backing. For the curved portion where the back part meets the seat, I had to cut some notches into the side fabric so that I could tuck it in properly.

Side by side comparison with another "dumpster chair".  

Now the "hidden" imperfections...
I love the way the chair turned out, but there are some mistakes that I'll be so nice to show you :P
In order for the fabric to lay flat at the part where the backing meets the seat, I had to cut notches into the fabric which then exposed the original chair! I ended up having to spray glue extra scraps of fabric over the exposed parts. Kind of hard to see here but there's a square piece that's just glued over the side.
So moral of the story? Cut more excess fabric for your chair than you think!
Also didn't have enough fabric to tuck into the bottom...

And I leave you with.. my proud dad ^_^



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