Chair Refinishing: Ms. Kim | Redo It Yourself Inspirations : Chair Refinishing: Ms. Kim

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Chair Refinishing: Ms. Kim

A customer asked if I would just simply reupholster with new cushioning and refinish the wood of this cute chair for her. I was honored with the request and fortunate Kim knew what she wanted while supplying the fabric. It has been with her for a long time; even during her college days. It belongs in her craft room and she has no plans of removing it from her home. 

The years of use showed with some dings and nicks here and there. A few of spots of paint too and there was a seam split. 

First, I removed all of the upholstery pieces. Then set up to repair the split. 

I mixed  wood filler, stain and wood glue together into a thick gluey paste...

then applied it into the split. 

After squeezing in as much of the filler that I could, I sandwiched the wood together and clamped it. 

I wiped off the excess and ooze. Then started to remove more staples and nails from the backrest frame. 

With drying and set up time needed for the mixture to cure, I started to remove the fabric from the seat to reupholster it. There was a label, showing the chair was remade and disinfected with a date of 9/12/71. (Faded, but was able to read it.) How cool is that?! 

Kim mentioned memory foam, so that is what I bought to use for a new cushion. Recovering the seat went quick and easy. 

Here is her pretty fabric.

The next day, the wood filler mix was dry enough to start sanding.  I took the chair apart to reach into the curves by hand. I used the palm sander on the flat surfaces. 
The repaired section

After sanding, I put the frame back together, gluing the joints. 

 Here is the repaired area after applying stain. 

After the stain dried, I sealed it with polyurethane.

Then replaced the seat in its place. 

Now I needed to reupholster the backrest. When removing the fabric, I found three coverings and lots more staples and nails. Everything had to go for a clean slate.

I bought pvc clothesline to make the cord trimming. It works like a charm. It remains in place, curves easy and makes sewing the trimming a breeze. 

I had to recover the back first, so I stapled the fabric in place from the inside of the frame.

Then stapled the cord trim onto the front piece. Once I measured the center, I used finishing nails to secure it in place. 

And wah-lah! Miss Kim's chair is renewed! 

It's the cutest chair! So curvy and the front legs being quite dainty. The semi oval backrest defines the chair.  I love it.  Hopefully it lasts through her crafting years... or who knows, maybe her daughter will take it to college too! 



  1. very nice job cute chair xx

  2. Marie@The Interior FrugalistaNovember 27, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    Robin you did a fabulous job with this makeover! You'd never know it was split either. I'm going to remember your tip to use clothesline cord for piping - may cheaper than welting.

  3. Stacy @Anastasia VintageNovember 27, 2014 at 5:23 PM

    Robin, this turned out beautifully! I learned a lot from reading this post - I'll have to remember the PVC clothesline trick!

  4. Wow, you did an amazing job! The chair is like new, and gorgeous!

  5. It is a cutie and it deserved to be renewed. Thank you, Chris :)

  6. I love working with the pvc cord. Just another repurpose idea. :)
    It doesn't flop or twist yet bends where you need it. I used Wellington brand; 16 lb. load clothesline 5/32" x 100' for $8 at Walmart. Perfect size for trimming. You can also sew through it if needed and it's mildew resistant (for those that steam clean furniture)
    Thank you for your visit and kindness, as always!

  7. You are going to love using the pvc cord, Stacy. It's inexpensive and easy to work with. Thank you so much for viewing and your kind comment. (hugs!)

  8. You are a doll! Thank you so much, Patti! I'm thrilled you like it!

  9. love the curves of this chair! awesome redo Robin! Love the step by step!

  10. It is so cute. I love how the front legs taper down to tiny feet.
    Thank you, Millie! :D

  11. You're right Robin. This chair does have lovely lines and deserved a second chance at life, and that's exactly what it received at your hands. The care and expertise that you displayed resulted in a beautifully redone piece! Well done!

    And your tips are fabulous as well! Clothesline?? Who knew?!

  12. Aww, thank you so very much, Doreen! I love the clothesline trick. It works like a charm. :)

  13. Thank you for being a great hostess, Sarah :)

  14. What a difference, it looks new again. You've given me more great tips for fixing things I own too, I have a chair that I didn't know how to fix the split in it, know I know to use the mix with the wood glue and filler. I have no idea how I will clamp it but I'll figure that out somehow. Do I oil it before or after the glueing? It's so dry that I think oiling will change how big that split is.... I'll keep reading I'm sure you've got the answer somewhere.

  15. I love the transformation, Robin -- awesome work, as usual! I have a chair that needs redone, and I just love your tips! Thanks for sharing. :)

  16. I would fix the split before applying any oil. Once the repair is completely dry, sand the repair smooth, then stain/oil.

    If you don't have a clamp, you can try using a tie down, or bungee cord or rope tied quite tightly around the repair. Maybe an old belt will work too. The key is to apply the filler and glue into the repair and squeeze it together as tight as possible. Let dry overnight before removing the hold.

    Let me know how it goes, Stella. :)

  17. Oh my goodness! I can't believe the transformation! So well done... I'm stunned.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #CHRISTMASbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely evening and a very Merry Christmas!

  18. I'm going to try and fix it in the next month or so. We have some clamps but the chair is a decorative shape, we've got those nice wide tie down straps so I could use those and if necessary add the clamp over the top. I'll send you all the pics! Thank you so so much! It's just been sitting there for the last couple of years because I didn't know what to do with it.

  19. wow, that's super impressive! how awesome and talented. Happy Mommy Monday

  20. This is awesome. I love how you show exactly what you did. That seam repair is remarkable. I acquired four antique chairs this summer that I plan on fixing up. The plan was to make them into a bench for my patio, but I may keep them separate now, not sure... Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMatters Linky Party.

    Merry Christmas!
    ~Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai

  21. Love the makeover....the new fabric is gorgeous!

  22. WOW!! You did wonderfully!!! I love to see such awesome transformations, makes me want to some DIY here. :)
    Thanks for sharing with us at Mommy Monday.

  23. Thank you! I want to see your DIY! So glad you stopped by :)

  24. Love this! You make reupholstery look easy! I want to refinish our kitchen chairs before they fall apart completely! Thanks for sharing with #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup last week. I am still catching up!

  25. Great photos! Thanks for sharing at Together on Tuesdays :)

  26. Wow I'm amazed at how easy you make this look. Thanks for sharing your project on Merry Monday. Have a great New Year!

  27. Good luck with the chairs! I hope they turn out great :)
    Thank you, Tanya!

  28. Denyse @ Glitter, Glue & PaintJanuary 15, 2015 at 9:07 AM

    The chair looks amazing, Robin! I love the fabric.

  29. Kim chose the perfect fabric. I'm really pleased how it all turned out. :)
    Thank you! Hugs~