Hey guys! I’ve got a loooong picture filled post for y’all today, so buckle up & remember to keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times. Ready? Here we go.
I reupholstered my couch.
I only wanted to burn it about 7 times & threw my hammer twice during the whole thing, so I’m no worse for wear. However, I’d recommend having someone around for a second set of hands. Take it from me.
Heres what I started with. We have had a tan slipcover on it for 2 years but I was so frustrated with having to constantly tuck it back in every time I sat on it. So, one random Tuesday, I decided to take the slipcover off to see what the pattern was on it, and before I knew it, I had stripped half of the couch. Nothing like just jumping into a project with no warning. Originally, I was thinking about a dark gray couch (not too dark, but not light enough to be easily marked up). I searched high and low for fabrics, and basically accepted that I was going to pay no less than $75 for just material. Um. No.
Once I started ripping the couch apart (with absolutely no plan, by the way), I realized that I didn’t even have the time to wait around for material to show up in the mail, and realllllly needed supplies like, yesterday.
Off to Home Depot I went, and came home with a heavy duty canvas dropcloth, a new staple gun (I recommend it like crazy), and some Rit Dye from Walmart. And then I realized that my project just got a hell of a lot more complicated, since I now needed to hand dye my material.
I really like to just jump in with both feet, don’t I?
So first, dyeing fabric. I did it in the bathtub (which isn’t recommended, but we don’t have our own washing machine, so it was my only choice). First, I filled the tub and soaked my material thoroughly. In all the research that I did, I found that this is a crucial step, since you need to have all the material wet beforehand so the dye doesn’t look patchy.
Once it had soaked enough, I filled an old tub with warm water, the entire bottle of Royal Blue dye, and half of the Black bottle. Then, I put the canvas in and worked it around for about 45 minutes. Because you normally dye in the washer, the material is constantly being moved around, hence the stirring. And kneading. And lifting. Do you have any idea how much 108 square feet of soaking wet material weighs!? Once it looked to me like the color(ish) I wanted to acheive had set in, I started to rinse it. I will admit that this was my least favorite part of the whole process. It was such a big piece that I felt like I had a lot of trouble rinsing it. Once it was (mostly) rinsed, it got washed in the machine, and then dried fully to let the color set.
I’m not going to lie, I actually hated the end result. In the lamplight, it looked purpley and I was worried I would have to redo the whole process. Once I started moving it around into different lights, however, it looked a lot more blue/demin, which wasn’t exactly the color I was going for, but fit perfectly in the living room.
By this point, the couch was in several pieces. Here’s another tip (actually, much more like a step): take lots of pictures. I mean, tons. It will help you when you start putting it back together. Make sure you photograph every piece that comes off, so you know how to put it back on.
You’ll feel like its a time suck, but it’s really a huge time saver, especially when you can’t remember because it’s been three days and you haven’t been able to walk through your living room without stepping on a staple.
Trust me on this one. Oh, and you might notice that the upper right hand corner picture shows a strange backing to the sofa. Why, you ask? Because it’s a sleeping sofa. Let’s not talk about the cursing that went into pulling the sofa bed out.
It was ugly. However, I did make sure to take pictures of the mechanics inside the couch that were holding the bed in place; DO THIS!
It pretty much saved my brains in the end.
Stripped down, this is what the couch looked like. the batting was old and discolored, but for the most part nothing was screaming, “REPLACE ME!” Oh, and you’ll see the weird strips laying on the console table behind the couch. It’s tack paper and tack strips from the couch pieces. SAVE EVERYTHING. If your tack paper rips, no big deal; you can cut new ones from thin cardboard. But keep the tack strips.
Once everything was taken apart, I laid all my pieces out on the dropcloth and maneuvered around to fit them all. It turns out that I was a little short, so luckily I had this great fabric left over from my pendant light, and was able to use it on the cushions. Once the pieces were cut (worst part), I started to put the big parts back together. Oh, and I didn’t mention that I wrote on every piece what part it belonged to so that I was able to keep them all straight.
Here’s where the pictures of reupholstering end (only had two hands), but honestly? I thought it was the easiest part of the whole thing. I would line the pieces up, and staple one side down. Once it was attached, I started with the other side, making sure to pull it snugly. I used my tack paper and strips exactly where they were supposed to be to create the sharp creases (again, pulling tightly). The material itself is very forgiving if you misstaple or need to pull it apart for some reason. Basically, I just went slow and put the pieces back on in the order they came off. Once the back and sides were finished, I screwed them back together and added the bed back in. At this point, I started working on the cushions. Those were pretty labor intensive (I threw them too; nothing says mature like getting frustrated with a pile of batting), so I’ll put them in a separate post.
The last step was adding the nailhead trim. “It’s going to be pretty!” I thought to myself. “It’s going to look classic!” I hummed.
NO NO NO. Just no. I ordered this off of Amazon, and if you’ve never used it, this is what it looks like:
For some reason, this is not what I expected. Basically, you detach the amount of trim you want from the roll, and tap a nailhead in every fifth or so nail (where there’s a hole). Sounds deceptively easy, no?
Let’s just say I ruined 5 nailheads before I got 2 fully in the couch.
They were super cheap, and maybe the wood I was putting them into was too thick, but we’ll never know. I ended up using a straight edge to keep them straight (duh), and tapped in a small nail before putting the nice pieces in. It went much easier with the arms, so those look fine, but the base? Not so much.
Next time, I’ll be buying the individual nails.
Here it is all finished:
Worth it. Worth every single time I ripped a piece of fabric, or almost stapled my fingers, or got a splinter. The canvas is exactly what I wanted, and I love the look of it. Now that there’s no slipcover looking bulky and tucked in, the living room looks more streamlined. I swear up and down that I won’t do it again, but let’s be honest.
I probably will.
And now, some tips:
-When dyeing fabric, wear rubber gloves.
-Use a pair of needle nose pliers to help pull staples.
-Save your pieces; label your pieces.
-Take a million pictures…it will save your butt in the end.
–Don’t throw the hammer.
-Keep your staples, because at the end of the day, you’ll look at it and think, “damn, I’m a badass for pulling all those staples by hand.”
And honestly, it feels pretty freaking awesome to say, “yeah, I reupholstered my couch.”
Do it. Let me know how excellent it feels.
Then take a long hot bath, because God knows every muscle in your body will need it.
Oh, and for a budget breakdown…
Canvas Dropcloth: $26
Rit Dye: $6
Nailhead Trim: $14