Pull up a chair.
If you’ve followed this DIY blog for a little while, you’ve met Margaret. She’s our little kicked-to-the-curbside, busted and rusted chrome chair rehab project. Here’s what she looked like the day we picked her up in our furniture ambulance (AKA the minivan)…
DIY Upholstery with Cowhide Leather Supplies:
foam in desired height (we used 2″ for this project)
cowhide or leather (we used a cowhide rug, and I’ve linked some smaller, budget-friendly options)
hot glue gun
DIY Upholstery with Cowhide Leather How To:
1. Remove the old upholstery and make a template.
2. Cut your foam for the cushion(s).
Sometimes, you can re-use the existing foam from your chair. But, in this case, our foam was gnarly and smelly and ick. So, we used opted for new, and luckily, I had some from previous projects. If you have to buy foam, this will be the most costly part of your furniture reupholstery project, so if you can re-use, do it.
Best way to cut upholstery foam is with an upholstery knife…apparently, some people call this a “turkey carver“. In our house, my husband is the turkey carver, and this tool is for cutting foam. But, to each his own.
Here we are, at the scene of the crime. My kitchen, AKA “Heathered Nest Upholstery Clinic”.
3. Wrap your foam in batting.
Usually batting is less expensive if you buy it as a quilt batting. I wrapped my foam in one layer of batting, smoothing it out, and securing with hot glue here and there to get a nice form. I don’t have a picture of this, either, but you can see the product I used a bit in the image above.
4. Use your template to cut the cowhide leather for your seat and back (if needed).
When you cut cowhide (and I just used regular old scissors) be prepared for a mess. Hair will fall off as you cut. Just have your vacuum ready. Oh, and cut in your pjs (as above). This helps with the results, I’m pretty sure.
5. Iron the cowhide leather to remove wrinkles.
6. Reupholstering Time!
Luckily, we have a pneumatic stapler for this job, which really helps speed things along, and takes a lot of muscle out of this task. But you can staple upholstery with a simple hand powered staple gun as well.
The key for getting a good smooth finish on your cushion is to HEAT THE HIDE with the iron as in the step above just prior to upholstering. This allows a little give and stretch in the hide and will help you get a really good finished product. Since the cowhide is very thick, if you don’t have it heated up, it’s much harder to work with. I kept the iron on, and heated it up, little by little as I went. A tad awkward to do, but it really helped get the cushion smooth.
7. Finish the bottom.
To cover my staples on the bottom of the chair, I chose to cut another small piece of cowhide, and simply hot glue it into place.