DIY - How to Reupholster a Wicker Chair

What a fantastic weekend!  The weather was beautiful here on the coast.  We spent some quality family time and even managed a visit to the beach.  

When not out playing in the sand and sun; I had one thing on my mind…

Wicker Chair-3

Reupholstering some garage sale wicker chairs.  I spotted them while driving past and had to do a u-turn to go back and grab them.  I was so glad I did!

Here is what they looked like before:

Wicker Chair Before 

They are great!  So well made, yet at an extremely affordable price.

Wicker Chair-1

Even though they had been professionally upholstered,  I wanted to clean them up and re-upholster with some fresh fabric. So, I stripped them down.

First the bottom seat came off with 4 screws being removed.

Wicker Chair-2

Then I pulled the double corded trim and fabric off next.  I carefully removed the foam and set it aside.

Wicker Chair 

It is important, especially when working with outdoor pieces, that you remove any staples that might poke through.  I hate rusty staples, nails, or screws.

With wicker, it is usually best to paint over grass (mowing will remove any paint) or over a lot of paper.  This wicker is tightly woven, but usually there is a bit of spray through.

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I used Squirts “Lace” spray paint for the wicker.  I chose not to prime.  It wasn’t needed on this project.

When painting, I was careful to spray close enough to get into the grooves of the wicker but not so close that the paint would run.  

It took two coats for a thorough coverage. 

While the paint was drying, I re-upholstered the seat.

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I took off the black under cover and upholstered right over the top of the current fabric.  It was in great condition with no odd smells.  I liked the extra security of another layer of fabric there, so I left it.

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I placed the seat cushion on top of my fabric and cut a square (the same as you would if wrapping a present). 

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Then, just like when wrapping a present, I secured each of the four sides with a staple.

Once tightly secured, I began stapling the rest of the fabric to the wood base.   I worked my my way out from the original four staples pulling and tugging the fabric into place as I went.

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Around the corners, I tugged until tight and smooth, then stapled into a pleat.  I cut off the excess fabric (as in the photo above) as close to the staples as possible.

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I stapled the original under cover back in place .  I also added staples on either side of the holes where the screws will go back in.  This will help me locate the correct spots and keep the fabric from puckering.

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Once the wicker was dry, I looked at the chair and decided I wanted the legs to be glossy black.  Easy fix.  Spray paint is a wonder!

It was now time to prepare the fabric for the chair itself.

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I cheated (sshhh don’t tell anyone). I used the original piece as a template to cut the new fabric.  I cut each piece separately while making sure to add enough seam allowances and enough extra to fold over the edges (about 1/2 inch).

Then I sewed them together and I “stitched in the ditch”.

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Stitching in the ditch is when you “top sew” in the crease. It adds a professional look by forcing the fabric to lay properly (it keeps that pesky little seam facing in the correct direction).  It also strengthens the seam.  If done correctly,  the areas that are hard to iron, will cooperate better.

Now that my fabric is ready, I used spray adhesive to adhere the foam back onto the chairs.

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I love spray adhesive!  It is my BFF.  How many things can a person do with spray adhesive?  If you haven’t a can of spray adhesive, I highly recommend it!

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After the foam was properly reapplied (thank you BFF); I stapled the fabric in place.  Here is where upholstery becomes creative.

You tug and pull and fold and press until the fabric is properly placed.  It should be smooth and snug.

When you do your first upholstery job, be sure to keep the original fabric to refer to if you get stuck.  After a few jobs, your comfort level increases and you’ll know what to expect.

The only thing left was to decide on trim.  The original chairs had a double rope trim.  When I looked closely at them, I noticed they were rubber rope.

 rope trim

Bingo!  Great durability on outdoor furniture.  Being the penny pincher that I am, I re-used them.  I cut off the original fabric and was left with two three lengths of rope. One of them tore.  Oops!

Torn trim

electrical tape

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy fix.  Electrical tape is flexible and sturdy.

There are many different options when making a double trim.  This one has a 1/4 inch space in the middle.  To accomplish this I placed the first rope on the new fabric, folded the fabric over (right side out) and sewed it using a zipper foot.

sewing trim 

You have to make sure the needle is set completely to the right.

Then you trim the excess fabric away (in the photo above it is the selvage).

Place the second rope on the wrong side of the fabric (next to the trimmed edge), fold the first rope over the top of the second, encasing the rope in the fabric, and sew in place. {You will still have the needle placed to the far right}

Second rope trim

You can see in the photo above, there is a space in between the first and second rope.  I am using my guides on the sewing machine to make sure the ropes are kept the same distance apart.  

Once the rope is sewn into place, flip the piece of trim over and cut off excess fabric from the back (this is where the hot glue goes).

cut off excess

I hot glued the trim to the chair, making sure that the edge of the trim was in a hidden place (under the seat where the trim stops).

Then I screwed the seat cushions back in place.

new chairs

I love my new chairs!  The pale green fabric looks so soft and romantic.  These chairs are perfect for the early morning coffee on our front porch while watching the birds flutter by.

Now I just need to plant a new bouquet of flowers and add a few pillows.

Do you have any suggestions on pillow style or color?  I haven’t decided on anything yet and would love to have a little input.

Cheers!

Kimberly_Signature.png[2]

20 Comments - Click Here! Love to Hear from You.:

Kathryn said...

I think hese chairs look amazing with a make over. Would love a few around my dining table for that shabby chic look!
Tend to agree with the cushions possibly a soft floral or stripes in muted tones would keep the theme going.... with a bowl of roses on the table and plate of scones with jam & cream.....just a suggestion

Erin said...

Hey Kim; what a project---they look great! Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day and for your kind words!

And you might have already figured out your pillow dilemma, but I wonder if pillows in a lighter color would be nice, in keeping with your desire for it to be airy and romantic. And maybe something circle-shaped for softness and contrast? Good luck! :)

Meg and Mum's said...

WOW! These look amazing! Great job :)

Anonymous said...

Kim, Hi! I was given a wicker sofa with the foam backing just like your chairs have. I am going to attempt to redo it! Thanks for the step by step instructions! I am just kinda confused on the piping part..do I have to have this? I am not the best with a sewing machine...any advice?

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