Balloon Back Chairs

Sep 6, 2017 | Upholstery | 0 comments

Not only do I work at Morgantown Market as a merchant, I shop there as a furniture flipper for potential makeover pieces!  One day, I saw that the owner had brought in two new balloon back chairs.

I’ve been wanting to get into upholstery for a while now, but the only thing that was keeping me from doing it was my lack of the proper tools.  If you’re going to do high quality upholstery, then you really should use a pneumatic upholstery stapler powered by an air compressor.  Up until recently, I didn’t have any of those things.

Running a small business is a family affair and all of my family members help me regularly.  Dad Baker lent me his air compressor and said that I could use it as long as I want.  All I needed to do was hop in The Marshmallow and pick out a staple gun.  I wound up choosing this one:


It was definitely an investment for me at $109, but I intend on delving into the world of upholstery more intentionally, and having the right tools will make that possible.

Before I did any work on the chairs, I watched Miss Mustard Seed’s upholstery videos on her YouTube channel.

There are a few videos in this series and they’re super helpful.  I highly recommend them if you’re going to tackle your own wood frame chair project.

Just like ogres and onions, chairs have layers.  (If you’re confused, it’s a “Shrek” movie reference.)  You basically remove the layers from the top down and build them back up from bottom to top.

The first step was to remove the decorative trim around the bottom of the chair.  It came off easily enough because it was hot glued.

Once that was off, I could see what was underneath.

There was a strip of cardboard trim nailed on with upholstery tacks.

Using a screwdriver, I carefully pried the tacks off the cardboard trim and the fabric underneath.

Aaaand there were more tacks under the fabric.

As I worked, I gently pulled the fabric and the batting off.

Under the striped fabric was another layer of fabric and then burlap.  I didn’t remove any of the subsequent layers of fabric because they were supposed to be there to provide structure.

It was pretty messy work.

This is what the chair looked like after the stripping process.

It was time to paint the frame, and I prepared the surface by rubbing on some liquid sander. 

I mixed up equal parts Miss Mustard Seed’s Linen and Ironstone and painted on three coats.  It took three coats because I was covering dark wood with white.  That usually takes more coats than usual.

This is what it looked like after two.  The third evened everything out.

After some distressing and a finishing coat of Hemp Oil, the frame was ready.

Once the frame was painted, it was time to put the new fabric on.  I used the original striped fabric as a template and cut a new piece.  I followed Miss Mustard Seed’s process of attaching the fabric and applying the trim.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of the process, but I had a good reason!  The past few days have been spent moving my entire Eight Hundred operation out of my apartment and into a new workspace.  I’m talking all of my inventory, tools, fabric, glue, smalls, paint, brushes…EVERYTHING!

I’m not quite ready to share all of the details, but let me tell you, I’m ridiculously happy to have room to spread out and make a mess without worrying about our carpet.

All that to say, I’ve been really busy the past few days and I didn’t have my camera with me, thus no photos.  So without further delay, I present my freshly reupholstered chair!

I like all of the shades of cream and white that play together on this chair.

And I’m totally in love with the pattern on the fabric I picked.

This chair has such amazing carved details and they really pop against a lighter paint color.

I didn’t follow the trim pattern from the original upholstery job.  I found that I needed to wrap it around the arms and back of the chair, but it works with the shape and style of this chair.

Now it’s time to tackle the second chair and sell them as a set.  I have lots of room to spread out and now that I’ve got one chair under my belt, the second won’t take long at all!



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I'm Jenn Baker - Milk Paint lover, photographer, blogger, and QVC Guest Host. Click below to learn more about me and my creative business.  LEARN MORE ABOUT JENN

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