Sunday, November 27, 2011

Chandelier's and Settee - The Project Overload Weekend!

Y'all, the past two days have been tiring but so worth it!  Christie and I tackled some major projects around her house in anticipation of the upcoming holidays and people wanting to come over to her house.  We tackled spray painting the vent-a-hood in the kitchen since it was cream and the rest of the kitchen is white, recovering the vintage dining room chair cushions for the fab Duncan Phyfe dining table she picked up locally, and tackled the biggest project...recovering the cute settee for the kitchen (more on that in a minute.) 

Before I roll into a crazy long how to on the settee though, I have to show you some pics that will shock and amaze you at the fab stills Christie has with those heinous brass chandeliers you see all over (can you tell I hate brass?)  On a previous shopping trip we took to the Habitat ReStore, she picked up several of these brass chandeliers for like $20 each with an idea to make them pretty for the kitchen and dining room.  So, here is what they both looked like before:

HELLO 1980's!
So, girl whipped out her mad spray-painting skills and went to town on two of these.  With a bit of fun crystals found at the local hobby store and some bead garland, she turned two blah chandeliers into some crazy amazingness! 

For the Dining Room:
Hello fabulous!  Shades added for a bit more of that formal look in the dining room
And in the Kitchen:
This is before the beads have been added but even in this state, 1000% better!
Spray paint....a DIY'ers best friend!

Now, onto the big project for this weekend.  I am going to preface this by saying that neither of us had ever tackled a reupholster project. Basically, the only experience that I had was watching a bunch of YouTube videos of the whole process we needed to follow to get the best results. 

I was positive.  I was confident.  I was scared that I might have bitten off more than I could handle but was not going to tell Christie that.  I did not want to ruin the settee but the heinous look of it meant that anything would be better.  So, what did it look like before?

Out came the flat head screwdrivers and the needle nose pliers and all that stored up anger we had and we went to town stripping this puppy of her flowers:

Yep, that's me getting my DIY on!
So very close to a naked settee!
Hundreds of staples, sore hands, and around 3 hours later, she was naked and Christie had whipped out the broom to sweep up the trash.  Goodbye floral material.  We will not miss you.

Now, while the destruction took a long time and was difficult, it frankly was the easiest part for someone who does not know what they are doing.  After all, you are just ripping the fabric off the settee so anyone can do this.  Putting the new material on is a different story.  It is important to know the basics of the order you cover the different parts of the chair so you can hide as many seams as possible.  Here is how I did it:

1.  Tackle the seat first
2.  Go after the arms
3.  Complete the inside back
4.  Close her out with covering the back of the Settee

Now, depending upon the type of furniture you are covering, it may be different but this is the general order for most items.  We used a natural canvas drop cloth as our material and it is always best to pre-wash your this type of thing as it becomes a bit more flexible and easy to maneuver.  Christie bought one drop cloth at the local hardware store.

Tools?  What will you generally need to make this happen?  A staple gun.  DO NOT USE A MANUAL ONE!!!  You will be crying before you get the seat covered.  I used a compressor staple gun but you can use an electric one as well.  What else do you need?  Scissors - sharp ones, a glue gun, and a whole lot of patience!

So, step 1:  Covering the seat
Cut a piece of material large enough to cover the entire seat and hang over so that you can pull the material through the back and sides as well as pull under the front of the settee:

Here I have pulled the fabric through the back of the Settee and am tacking in place.
Tack the back and the front in place with one staple each pulling the material tight.  This is really important.  Then pull the sides through the frame and tack each side with one staple pulling the material tight. 
There was seriously so much batting on this settee in the weirdest places making it difficult to maneuver!
Then, once you have all sides tacked in place, carefully smooth out the seat, working your way around tugging the material to make a nice smooth area.  Then go to town with the staple gun!  I started in the back stapling all the way across, then worked on the front, and finally finished with each side.  I left the areas around the front legs loose as I was not sure yet how I was going to finish them off:

Check out that nice smooth seat!
Next, I tackled the arms.  Since this piece has a rolled arm, I started on the inside of the arm pushing the material through the frame between the arm and seat then draping it over the actual arm.  The arms frankly were the most complicated and I was so concentrated on getting the arms to look right that I did not take any pictures.  Boo on me.  Seriously!  Local friends, if you want to tackle a project like this yourself, let me know and I will come and show you how it is done.  Anywhoo, I covered the top part of the arm and then covered the bottom part of the outside of the arm....following me here?
There I am smoothing out the arm of the Settee!
Once I had the arm fully covered, I needed to figure out how I was going to make the front part of the arm pretty....hmmm.  Well, I basically took a scrap of the canvas and just went to town stapling:
Staples as stitches!
Voila!  Stapled and covered.  A bit wrinkly but this was my first time so give me a break!
We were digging the staples and thought about just leaving them but then Christie went to digging in her stockpile of trim and found some great black zigzag trim and her glue gun:
Again, girl has some mad skills.  She was way more patient working this trim around the weird shape of the arm than I would have been.
How rocking is that?  So seriously cool people.  But, then we figured out we did not have enough of the canvas to cover the back of the to the hardware store we went....and they did not have the same color. Crap.  What were we going to do?  Head to the hobby store next door of course and find an amazing material that could and would be the feature of the chair!  Seriously people....I cannot wait to show you this!  What was initially a total party-pooper...running out of material and not finding more....became what made the chair totally fabulous! 

We only bought 1 yard as it was a bit expensive and then you basically do the same old thing...drape the material on the back and then tuck and pull the material through the frame on the bottom and sides and staple like hell!  And the finished back? Check it people:
Is that amazingness or what!
Now the very back of the settee we have left open for now.  We might want to rock a couple of button tufts in the seat back and we need the back open to do that eventually.  We are also on the lookout for more of the correct canvas drop cloths to use.  But, based upon where this baby is going to sit, the back does not need to be covered right away (we will do that eventually).  I also added a band of black canvas around the bottom to finish it off and....drum is Settee 2.0!!!!:
Bask people!  Bask in all her glory!
Doesn't she look awesome on the great painted wall that Christie did in the Kitchen?  Here is a better shot:
She totally fits right in with the painted wall and the great shabby metal back door!
Whew, that was a long blog post but peeps, it took like 12 total hours to rock this settee between two days.  Lessons learned?  Buy more than you think you will need of whatever material that you want to cover your furniture in. Have patience and realize you are not a professional at this and there will be flaws but that is part of the charm of the piece!  Oh, and have a cocktail or two while you are doing this...and make sure you have a good friend around to share the experience with.  Makes the time spent way more fun. 

Total cost for this project?  Well, Christie scored this settee for $125 on craigslist and the material (all of them) for this cost around $60-65.  So for less than $200, you have a fab piece that is unique to you.  Christie is rocking some pillows for it in the leftover materials and some fun trim.  I am at home looking at my two chairs that are next on the upholstery list!



  1. What would I do without you sister? Thank you so much for spending a big chunk of your weekend at my house doing my projects. YOU ROCK!!!

  2. You know I love to do it missy! I am so glad the settee came out good and am looking forward to our next crazy project. Meanwhile, I am hunting something fabulous at the fabric store for my two chairs!