Re-Upholstery for Under $40

I found a lovely iron and wood chair in the alley on the way home from work one day, and decided to haul it home in order to paint and re-upholster it. It was a long haul, but I made it home and began to clean it up. I removed the three back pieces and later removed the bottom and got to work.

I decided to match this chair to the telephone bench that I found at the thrift store a few weeks ago. Remember this guy?

So, what do these two pieces now look like? See below to find out!

Easy Bench or Chair Re-upholstery


What you need:

Staple gun and staples

1 in.-2 in. height NU Foam or other Poly-fill or bamboo foam

Upholstery fabric that is a few inches larger than the dimension of the bench


1.Take apart your furniture.

First, I analyzed my furniture, and began dismantling it. For the bench, it was as easy as taking off the seat by unscrewing it from the bottom.

The chair was just as easy, but a little more involved, as I decided to take off all four wooden pieces in order to paint the back with white paint before upholstering the seat.

After taking off the seat of the bench, I began to rip the old fabric off of the bottom by using a tool to pry the old staples off of the bottom. Surprise! This bench was upholstered once before, as you can see below. Wow, it was hard to decided whether to keep such beautiful fabric or not…

Hmm, ugly flower fabric, or ugly 70′s paisley fabric?

So, I tore off that fabric too. Underneath the second layer, I found some old batting which I promptly threw away. This brings me to an important point- I recommend wearing a dust mask while re-upholstering, especially when taking apart a piece of old furniture. You never know what’s going to be underneath, and I was thankful to not inhale a ton of dust from the old batting.

2. Buy new filling and fabric.

Head out to the craft store with the dimensions of your seat. Look for the upholstery section and buy yourself some poly-fill or NU Foam or some sort of cushion that is the dimension of your seat. I found that 1 in. height was plenty for what I needed, but if you want a lot of cush, you can get 2 in. height. It’s a bit overkill for my little bench and chair, however.

Then, look for a pretty upholstery fabric that is a few inches larger than your dimension. I found a remnant that was on sale, a bright yellow and white zig-zag pattern.  Regular fabric will not do, as you need something that will last through many morning breakfasts, in my case.

3. Upholster!

Get out your staple gun. Place the cushion onto the top of the seat and make sure that it is cut to the shape you want it. Center the fabric onto the foam. Make sure the pattern of the fabric will lie where you want it when you screw the bottom back on. If, in my case, you have stripes, make sure they are lined up perfectly. Then flip the sea over so that the bottom faces you.

Begin stapling two opposite ends, making sure to pull the fabric taut after the first staple to make the seat smooth. Then, turn it a quarter so that you can staple two more opposite sides, splitting the seat into quarters.  This will pull your fabric tight onto your seat and help to keep things organized.

If you are doing a square seat, do the edges, pulling the fabric tight as you go along, until you get to the corners. Then, fold the fabric so that it looks nice on the corners and make sure to staple it down so that the folds are even on each side. Trim the fabric if there is excess.

If you seat is round, as mine is in the above photo, you will continue to pull the fabric very tight and work each quarter of the seat so that you can make even pleats in the fabric to fit it around the circle. You can see some of the pleats above. Below is a photo of the bottom of the seat.

I didn’t make perfect pleats, but it still looked nice. If you want to make it more perfect, just make sure to work the seat so that you end up with 8ths, and then 16ths, stapling in equal sections each time and then pleating the fabric in the same areas in each quarter of the fabric.

After you have put enough staples into the seat so that you know the fabric will not wiggle or come off, it’s time to reassemble the seat!

4. Reassemble!

Matching set!

It may sound like a lot of work, but it really didn’t take me more than a couple of hours to upholster and paint my chair, and upholster my bench. This is an easy an inexpensive project in up-cycling.  The total cost for each-

Bench- $22 at the thrift store

Chair- Free!

Fabric- $2.50 for a remnant on sale

Paint- $2 for a mis-tinted can at the paint store

NU Foam- $5 for bench, $5 for the chair

Total for both= $36.50

I love how my chairs brighten my kitchen, and are comfy too. And I didn’t spend a lot of cash for new furniture. Also, I love knowing that I saved unloved furniture from a dumpster.

Show me your new upholstery projects below!


Cruelty-Free Feathers Treasury

I wanted to create a collection featuring sellers who use cruelty-free feathers. It’s not hard to find beautiful things featuring real or drawn feathers for those who love them without including feathers that were harvested cruelly. Please enjoy all of these beautiful items and remember your feathered friends when purchasing items with feathers!

idea: doily curtains

doily curtains by Michela Scherrer

I’ve been dreaming about making my own curtains for a while. But I hate how heavy some curtains can look. I want light in my house, but still want the privacy that curtains can provide. So, I’ve been browsing around for some inspiration, and I think I’ve found it.

DIY doily curtains.

I wish I had saved more of my grandma’s sweet doilys. I love how they can be transformed when light shines through them.

curtains by Little White Boutique

There is a great little tutorial on how to make a full-length doily curtain very easily on Siren Adams DIY blog. But I don’t want mine to be full length. So, instead I will mostly likely be making a valance for my windows that are inspired by these curtains-

photo by Sweet Paul

It will take me some time to get a nice little collection of doilys, but I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled.

What would you do with a collection of your grandma’s doilys?

Want more ideas on what to do with all of your doilys? Click here.

t-shirt shag rug tutorial

Here it is, finally! My shag rug is complete. I love how it feels under my feet, and if it starts to look a little flat, I pick it up, shake it, and it fluffs right back up! 
It took some time but I finished it and I’m glad I decided to make one. You can too, especially if you like to cut up t-shirts but never know what to do with the scraps afterwards. The scraps from my scarves are perfect candidates for making a rug. And this craft is very easy, even children can learn how to thread the rug with some assistance with cutting the scraps.
Feel free to message me with any questions. The idea and instructions for this rug came from the book Generation T, which is a great book to purchase if you like making eco-friendly t-shirt clothing and crafts. Please visit their website and check out their multitude of fantastic ideas.
How to Make a T-shirt Shag Rug

Supplies: 1 XL t-shirt, cloth scissors, and lots of small t-shirt scraps
the base with a few scraps threaded through
1. Make the base.
For the base of the rug, lay the X-L t-shirt flat and cut a large rectangle out of the shirt, as large as you would like the size of your rug to be. It’s possible to make a larger rug by sewing more t-shirts together- two to make a runner, four to make a large square, etc. You could also cut it into a circle shape for a circular rug.
a rotary board makes cutting easier
perfect sized scraps!
2. Make scraps.
If you are me, you have scraps of t-shirts all over your apartment. If you aren’t, you may need to go to the thrift store and purchase a lot of t-shirts to make into scraps. I would go for 10-12 to start, although I’m not positive exactly how many you will need. Go for more rather than less, and choose complimentary colors, or try to purchase t-shirts that are the same color for a monotone rug. 
Cut these t-shirts into strips that are approximately 5-6’’ long and 1-1 ½’’ wide. You can use scissors, or if you are lucky, a rotary cutter and board, which helps make things faster. Some t-shirt fabrics stretch and so you can pull them to make them longer. Others don’t.  Once you cut a few t-shirts you’ll begin to see what works. Also, don’t be afraid to use imperfect scraps-scraps that have odd edges, have a serged edge on them, are ruffly, etc. They add to the shaggy look of your rug.
holes before and after scraps are threaded through 
3. Cut holes into the base.
Starting 1’’ from the edge of the base, carefully poke or snip horizontal and vertical rows of small holes about 1/2 ’’ to 2/3’’ inches apart. It will look like a big Lite-Brite board without the little pegs! You can also do this as you go along while putting the rug together, as I did, or just go ahead and make all of the holes before you start to thread the scraps into the rug. If you want perfect rows, you can mark the holes first using a ruler to mark the spots. 
see how the scraps share each hole? 
4. Start threading scraps into the base.
Beginning at one corner, thread a strip down through the first hole and back up through the second. Take a second scrap and thread it through the second hole (the same hole you just pulled the first scrap up through) so that it shares this hole with the first scrap, and then pull it up through the third hole.
Continue doing this for a very, very long time… Do this while watching movies, television, when you have a really short moment of time and you don’t know what to do. It will take time, but it will be finished!
the back and top side of the rug- pretty on both sides!

5. Give your rug a haircut.
When you are finished, you can give your rag a little haircut to even out any longer scraps that look off, or you can leave your rug uneven for a shaggier look. But remember, these scraps don’t grow back!

The top side of the rug looks great, but so does the bottom side. Flip the rug over for a new look and feel! If a scrap falls out or gets uneven, simply put it back in or pull it until it is even. It’s very easy to maintain. If you would like to wash it, please use a lingerie bag and run it in a delicate cycle as it could fall apart in the wash. However, the fabric is not delicate itself, so if something were to happen, it can be cleaned.

Send me pictures of your own rugs, and I’ll post them here. Or, make one for a Christmas present this year. It’s not too early to start!