When you consider the amount of wear and tear an antique chair must have had during its lifetime, it is no wonder that the upholstery begins to fade. While many antique enthusiasts would rather leave upholstering to the expert, if you fancy tackling it as a DIY project, here is a guide to help you get started.
Authentic Stuffing – During the past, we used natural materials for stuffing, with horse hair being a common material, used primarily before the 19th century. If horse hair is present, one should really use the same material when recovering, which is an integral part of the hard feel that some old chairs have. If in doubt, talk to your local antique dealer and they’ll be able to advise accordingly.
Horse Hair And Cotton – If your sofa is stuffed with a mixture of horse hair and cotton shreds, this is a sure sign of the 19th century, and if you are looking to add a couple of chairs in your home, check out a leading antique dealer, who has a wide range of and can likely advise you on any aspect of reupholstering.
Reusing The Filling – This really depends on the condition of the filling, but if it is very brittle to the touch, you might not have a choice but to use new filling material. It is always a good idea to cover nearby items when removing the upholstery as it could get very dusty very quickly – who knows, you might stumble on an old treasure map!
Removing The Fabric – You will have to locate the pins, clips or nails that are holding the fabric in place and gently pry them off – taking great care not to mark the timber frame. Placing a thin strip of cardboard between the fabric and your prying tool will prevent timber damage. Don’t be surprised if some simply break off. In that case, use a pair of fine pincer grips to remove any outstanding metal, and when you have removed all the fasteners, carefully start to remove the fabric, starting at one corner. There are informative articles on , which are recommended readings for all novice collectors.
Consider Modern Fabric – Whether plain or patterned, there are many excellent designs that have the potential to completely change the look of the item you are upcycling. If the chair is heavily used, bear this in mind when selecting a fabric and look for something that has durability as well as personal style.
If you have any doubts as to your ability, get a quote from an expert, and if it isn’t too high, perhaps they should be commissioned to carry out the work. If you attempt the restoration and it doesn’t turn out like you had hoped, it can be disappointing and the only thing to do is take the chair to a skilled restorer.
It is worth spending the time on looking at the many different fabric designs and with a little imagination, you might find something that completely transforms the chair. Don’t forget to take some before and after images as a keepsake, which will enable you to really appreciate the difference the new fabric makes.
This article is published in collaboration with Mediabuzzer