With weather in the 70’s in June, I just had to head outdoors and work on one of my many projects. I bought 3 barrel cane chairs from the previous homeowner. (I actually got 2 chairs for $20 and one thrown in!) Plans of painting and reupholstering them in the future, of course. June seemed like the perfect time to do it. Fabric and tools in hand, I started this French Country Barrel Chair DIY. Move over for the perfect chair makeover and grab you a cuppa your favorite drink! See what it took me to give this little darlin’ new life.
This is what she looked like, she’d seen better days. I wanted her to see more.
Tools and iced tea in hand, I headed outdoors and started by removing the fabric pieces and all 2000 staples from the chair. This took longer than anything else I did to this chair. I set aside the old upholstery buttons, the foam pieces & the framework. If you do decide to reupholster a chair with cane backing, take caution in removing the pieces surrounding that area. The cane is fragile and more so depending on the age of the chair.
the paint job…
She was now ready for a good cleaning before getting painted. Milk white chalk paint, some bronzing cream, sealing wax and she’d be ready for the fabric.
Hint: you can achieve distressing by sanding down on the edges and areas where you want some character. (See youtube video below.) Dusting off the sanding prior to applying the sealing wax!
Because my sewing machine doesn’t see the light of day often, I had to dust it off a bit before using it. Using the original seat covers as patterns, I was able to replicate the cushions.
Using an old fabric I had stashed away, full of bright colors as well as a beautiful pattern that matched the bedroom perfectly! Another reason for using this particular fabric was because of the thickness and it will be durable as seat cushions. (*You want a thicker-durable fabric for upholstering!)
Tufting it out…
How fun is tufting, you ask? Besides the finished look, it’s easy and adds so much to an unholstered piece! I opted on using the existing upholstery buttons, I just cleaned them off and left the old fabric on them for sentimental reasons.
Sometimes I like to leave a little from the old just to remind me of what it looked like before the makeover.
I was unsure when I first put them in but it coordinated well with the color of the chair frame.
Staple gun in hand for attaching the seat back piece and the seat cushion to the board frame. Followed by hot gluing the trim and we were done. A fresh new look for this old barrel chair and many more years of enjoyment.
French Country Barrel Chair DIY
Besides providing a place to sit, she looks awesome with her new makeover!
I’m now so excited to start the other two remaining chairs. They will be getting a French Farmhouse makeover and you’ll just have to stay tuned.
Afraid to take the leap?
I was asked if I had done a chair in this style before, the answer no. I’ve done reupholstered pieces before, this one was a bit more tedious. I figured the only place I could mess up was with the fabric pieces. And if that happened, I just had to recut & start again. Right? It was a little intimidating but what the heck! I usually just jump into things. I don’t give it much thought aside from what changes I can make or how something is going to look after some touchups.
Hope this inspires you to save an old chair from the dumpster and give it new life! As long as they have good bones, you can transform it and get many more years of use from a little elbow grease (or removing 2000 staples)!
Now go save a chair while I go save two more ❤︎
Guuuurl….. is there anything you can’t do ???
Oh Rosemary, of course. I’m only human! I can’t make popovers and I’m not good at gardening. Not liking getting dirty is probably more of the reason but I kill ivy & cactus- so there’s that! Lol
Julie Serum says
What kind of glue did you use to glue on the trim that covers your staples? I have a old chair I’m doing but original had decorative studs all around instead of trim. The studs would cost me over $100 to do so I’d rather make my own trim cording.
Hi Julie! I used “gorilla” brand hot glue sticks just because I trust gorilla glue and figured it might hold better than a generic glue stick. I also contemplated using brads on the other two chairs I still need to do because I think they will look better with the fabric I’m doing on those. The hot glue sticks worked great with this trim cording and I’m sure it will for you too. Share pics when you’re done with yours, I’d love to see the outcome!?