Upcycling a ‘Yawn’ Chair - Funky to Fabulous!

Feb. 5, 2018

yawn chair image.jpg

Nadine Eschmann with Chalk Paint and Cupcakes is a regular shopper at the Habitat ReStores. She looks for furniture upcycling finds, and loves transforming old furniture into new and glamorous pieces.

Nadine recently purchased a mediocre chair for $30 at the Habitat Aurora ReStore, and transformed it into an attention grabber. Nadine is an avid upcycler with an eye for potential treasures.

This is what Nadine had to say about her business, "I love shopping the ReStores. I always find multiple pieces there to work with and I love that by shopping the ReStores I support Habitat’s mission to help families with housing.”

Thanks so much Nadine for shopping our ReStores & for your creativity and style! Nadine wrote the following article.

Here is a list of all the supplies I used:

  • needle nose pliers
  • staple lifter tool
  • marking pen
  • scissors
  • staple gun and staples
  • fabric (around 3 yds. for the whole chair)
  • regular upholstery trim
  • tassel trim (from Etsy)
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Flamingo pillow case - I purchased one from EBay
  • Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Scandinavian Pink from local retailer
  • Annie Sloan Clear wax
  • brush
  • lint free cloth

As you can see from the finshed product, the look I was going for was modern, feminine, and pretty! 

yawn chair image2.jpg
yawn chair image 3.jpg

Step 1) Strip and prep the chair 

To start, take all unwanted fabric or upholstery off the chair. 

Remove the trim, the staples and the fabric using a staple lifter tool and needle nose pliers. Put on some good music to distract you… this part is not very exciting.

Put the padding and fabric to the side. Make sure the chair is clean and free of dust before you try to upholster the furniture. When cleaning, use white vinegar and water on the chair. Warm water mixed with a de-greaser dish-soap (like Dawn) is great for more grimy furniture. 

DIY Tip: Be sure to wipe down with a damp lint free cloth as your last step in cleaning. Let the furniture dry well before painting.


Step 2: Painting the chair

Keep in mind that many people want neutral colors for large pieces but playing with pops of color is an advantage when painting a small piece like a chair.

I prefer to use Annie Sloan chalk paint and this product needs no priming; you can apply the paint directly to the chair. Using a good paint brush will help the process go better! Let the paint dry overnight and apply the wax with a cloth.

DIY Hint: use a lint free cloth and apply wax in small amounts, buffing the wax as you go. Wax needs to dry or cure 48 – 72 hours. Best to let the chair sit this long before using.

Step 3: Upholstery 101

yawn chair image4.jpg

Using the old fabric as a pattern, place the original seat cover fabric on the new fabric and draw around it with a 1” outline. Then cut the fabric. This template process ensures the fabric is a perfect fit.

Lay the fabric down on a table with the pretty side down. Place the chair seat cushion (foam) on top of the fabric, with the seat frame on top of the foam.

  • Pull the fabric tight around the seat back and begin stapling the fabric using a staple gun. Be sure to pull the material taut to avoid any wrinkles. 

DIY Hint: Try stapling a small section on all 4 sides of the chair and then finish the sections.

Upholstering the seat can be a bit tricky. There are some helpful videos on YouTube or you can reference our previous blog for more information and pictures on reupholstering a seat.


Step 4: Add the trim (A voilà moment!)

yawn chair image5.jpg


Now your new piece is almost finished. Attach the pretty trim with hot glue. I used regular trim for the backrest and accent tassel trim for the seat.

See more of Nadine’s beautiful upcycled creations on Facebook at Chalk Paint And Cupcakes or contact her through her email: nadine123@gmx.com.

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