Monday, August 27, 2012

Antique Couch and Settee Reupholstery

This was my first attempt ever at reupholstery; I am by no means an expert. I will be sharing what worked best for me and any tips I figured out as I went along. I spent a lot of time reading other blogger's experiences and watched a lot of Youtube videos.

This is not a project for the faint of heart, it did take much longer than I anticipated. It was worth it to me, I wouldn't have been able to find a couch in my fabric of choice for such a good deal.

First off, your supplies. I know there are real reupholstering tools out there but I made do with what I had. I know I saw quite a few reupholstery tools at Hancock fabric and many can be ordered online. I'm sure they make the task much easier.

  • Flat head screwdriver or staple remover
  • Rubber mallet or hammer (rubber mallet is best)
  • Pneumatic staple gun or electric gun-I found the hand held staple guns didn't shoot into the wood frame deep enough and my hands would get too sore
  • Batting material (depending on the condition of your couch)
  • Fabric of choice- I ordered mine online for the amazing price of $3.95 yd!
    • Upholstery grade fabric is thicker than regular fabric and is more durable. It is also more expensive and can be more difficult to work with because of its thickness. If you're looking for a solid beige color similar to a Restoration Hardware look, I recommend buying the canvas drop cloth material from Lowe's. It's cheap, durable and if you wash it once before putting it on, it is also soft. I chose to use a plaid on my couch. I knew it would be more difficult because I would have to line up the pattern everywhere. A solid is much easier.
    • When it comes to figuring out the amount of fabric needed to buy, I used this chart. It's wise to buy a little extra in case you mess something up. If you have extras you can always use it for curtains or pillows. I ordered 21 yds. I had enough for my couch, loveseat, and cushions, and even had some left over.
  • Trim or cording- I took a long spool of string and ran it along every edge of my sofa and loveseat and then measured it to determine how much cording or trim I'd need. If you're planning on making cording then measures around your cushions as well.
  • Paint- if you don't like the original color of your wood frame
  • Metal tacking strip
Now you have the supplies, let's move on to the trickier parts. I found my couch and loveseat on Craigslist, the couch and cushions were in good shape (heck, even the material was clean, I just didn't enjoy the design).

I passed up some other couches I saw for a few reasons, 1. Tufting- I knew that I wouldn't have the patience and know how to use any tufting. I also knew I wanted a plaid material. Any material with a design doesn't look as good as a solid with tufting. Just my opinion. 2. If the cushions were in poor shape I passed the couch up. New cushions can be expensive and I knew I wanted to spend the least amount possible. My couches were already a little more than I wanted to pay, so the added expense of cushions would be too much. If I had found the couches at a thrift store for dirt cheap, I probably could have afforded to buy new cushions. 3. If it was a "true" antique sofa, I knew I had to pass on it. I'm not a professional and I knew I couldn't handle anything crazy like horse hair and grain sack fabric.

Believe it or not reupholstering does not involve a lot of sewing. The only sewing is in the cushions or any piping you might want to use. I am a horrible sewer and knew I would have to either pay someone to sew my cushion covers or find a family member willing to help me out. I watched a lot of videos on sewing cushions though, and if you can sew a zipper in you can probably handle it. I, however, cannot. It is also recommended that you have a serger to prevent fraying of your cushions. My awesome sister-in-law did an amazing job on my cushion covers for me!

Take a lot of pictures as you disassemble your couch. This way if you're stumped you can go back and see how something was put together. Before doing anything, I took a sharpie and wrote right on the fabric what part it was. You can use a sticky note if writing on the fabric scares you. Example: R outside arm.

Flip your couch over and start from the bottom. You'll first take off the black weed-matting-like material by removing EVERY staple. This is where I used the flat head screwdriver to pry up my staples. This is the most time consuming part, not a lot of brains needed, but quite a bit of brawn. After you remove the underside of your couch you'll see a million more staples to remove. I started with the bottom, back, outside arms and worked my way into the inside.

When all the staples are removed and you've taken off all sections of fabric, you can assess the condition of your couch. I used some quilters batting to place over the stuffing of my couch. I used it to make a smoother looking surface before applying the new fabric. I stapled this into place and cut off any excess.

Now is a great time to paint your frame if you'll be changing the color. There's no material to worry about getting paint on. I didn't want the original wood color, I wanted my room to be a little brighter and cooler and I didn't want the dark wood weighing down the room. I used my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White to paint the wood. It requires no sanding or priming, is easy peasy, and fast. I dark waxed it for an aged appearance.

Now it's time to cut out the pieces of your new material.  This is when labeling the old pieces comes in handy. Use the old pieces as a pattern to cut out all of your new pieces. I suggest to cut an extra inch around your old pattern- it gives you some room to play with. I highly suggest labeling the new pieces as well, especially if you're cutting out material for a loveseat at the same time. It can get very confusing.

When putting your fabric back on, you work the opposite of the way you took it off. You work from the front to the back. I started with the lower front piece, the arms, then the front back, the outside arms, and then the back, and finally the bottom. When putting the material on, pull it as tight as you can to avoid sagging. I wish I could tell you more about putting it on, but the best thing to do is observe as you're taking taking it off. When stapling a large piece of material like the front and back portions, start stapling from the center and work your way to the outside. I found this tip in a Youtube video and it helped a ton with sagging and such.

When you go to take off the back of your couch you might run across metal tacking strips.  Be gentle when taking these off; I was able to reuse mine. If you bend yours, you can purchase more. I watched a lot of videos and took pictures of the tacking process. Your rubber mallet or hammer will come in handy during this part.

What about the ugly staples showing every inch all over your couch? You have a few options. You can make cording to match with your leftover material or you can buy some trim and hot glue it on. The cording involved sewing so guess what I chose? Yep, I bought some white trim at my local Hancock Fabric and hot glued it on. Don't be afraid to use hot glue, it holds extremely well, much better than fabric glue.

I am really excited about how my couches turned out. I really wanted the long, one cushion look, but didn't want to spend money purchasing a new cushion. Know that you can order new cushions online quite easily. My living room is one step closer to being finished. I'm going for an English Antique Equestrian look. Can't tell yet? I'm not offended, it'll get there :)


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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fabulous French Armoire

This armoire might be one of my favorite to date. It was gorgeous just the way it was but I felt painting the trim and carving would help all the amazing details of the armoire really pop.

I painted this using two Annie Sloan Chalk Paint colors- Duck Egg Blue and Versailles. I used a smiliar technique as I did with my Verdigris Dresser, you can find the post here.

I love the dark wood showing through with all the distressing. This piece was dark waxed to give it a beautiful patina and age.

It has shelving in the upper part of the unit or they can be removed to place a large object like a television. The bottom of the armoire has four huge, spacious, and sturdy drawers. The armoire comes in two pieces, a top and bottom that stack to make it easier to move.

This piece would look amazing with dark greys and purple, bright whites, and I can even see it working with some red or cream. This armoire is stunning and a great addition to any living room or bedroom for that "wow" factor. It will be for sale on my shop page to local Las Vegans or in my Etsy shop for non-locals to inquire about shipping costs.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

A Rustic Table

I had the great opportunity of painting a dining set this week. My client showed me this lovely picture from Pinterest.

I was so excited to paint this for her. I just loved the rustic beauty of this simple table. I adore the simple brown top and the contrast of the black against the white table.

Hmmm... kind of reminds me of my kitchen table but opposite, white chairs and black legs. No wonder I love it:)

Here's a before picture of the dining set. The chairs were a blue and the table was a nice natural wood.

Here's my version of this table makeover. A little more distressing.

I also painted some barstools for her.

The Before


Of course this was done with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and a lot of LOVE.


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Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Oversized Ruler Tutorial

I wish I could take credit for this cute craft. I have to admit I saw it on Dear Lillie and fell in love with it. In case you haven't noticed, I don't show a lot of crafts on my blog, they just never come out right and seem very time consuming to me. I generally just stick to furniture painting.

I loved the idea of having a way to keep track of my daughter's height over the years in a decorative way. No ugly writing on the walls and no more losing all those priceless memories when you move from your home. You can now take it with you wherever you go!

This craft is even simple enough that I could pull it off. If you're still doubtful if you can make one I think Dear Lillie might sell them in her shop. I felt that it was worth it to try and save myself the $75.

How can you make one on your own? You're probably smart enough to figure it out, but I'll help out a bit.


6'x1" board in your preferred width

Minwax stain of your choice or paint (I used Minwax English Chestnut)

Lint free rag or stain sponge

Number stencils or vinyl numbers if you prefer

Ruler and measuring tape

I started out by having my 2 year old help me distress my six foot board a bit. It was a brand new piece bought at Lowes. We hammered all the edges down and hammered in screws to make tiny holes. I knew I'd be putting my ruler in a kitchen doorway that was narrow, so I used a 4 inch wide board instead of 8 inches like Dear Lillie.

Stain your board using your lint free rag. Apply as many coats until you get the desired look. I think I just applied the stain once. You can also paint your board a color of your choice.

The stain dries fast and you can begin your numbering quickly. First I measured my baseboard; I knew my ruler would start after it and I wanted it to be exact when my daughter stood against the wall for measuring. My baseboard was about two inches so I skipped the first 2 inch mark and started with 4 inches.

I made a smaller line for every 2 inches and for every 6 inches (or half foot mark), I made a long mark. I just used a sharpie paint marker that I bought at Michaels. I used a regular black sharpie on one I made for my sister and it looked great too. I filled in the numbers with my stencil and sharpie as I went. Pretty easy and it looks super cute!


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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Old Ochre French Armoire

While shopping at the thrift store last month, I spotted an amazing armoire in the back corner for $35! I am just not capable of passing up a deal like that, even when my garage is full of furniture to work on. There wasn't anything wrong with the armoire, but a broken wood knob. The armoire was guilty of being an out-of-date yellow pine. Nothing a little paint couldn't fix.

Unfortunately, I was just too excited to start painting and I didn't take a before picture. I've been needing something to go in my front living room. I've tried other pieces but this was was just right. I am planning on using it for extra storage. My home doesn't have any storage space or basement, and all out closet space is already being used. This armoire is great for holding my sewing machine, extra blankets, sheets, slipcover, and out of season decor.

I repainted the armoire in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Old Ochre. This  is the first time I've used this color, I found it to be a bit more yellow and creamy than what I had seen on the website. It's still a beautiful neutral that could go with everything. I'm going for a sophisticated country look in my living room. I wanted this piece to look very old, dirty, and well loved. I think it looks awesome and I'm so pleased with the outcome.

I just have a few more projects and a little more painting until I'm ready to show my living room off.

I should be finishing up another armoire next weekend. This one might be my favorite to date :) Here is a sneak peek.


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