Friday, July 22, 2011

Benches and Staplers and Tufting - Oh my!

For my birthday this year, Handsome Hero knocked my socks off by getting me a pneumatic nail gun. I was THRILLED!!!!!! Yep, other girls may want jewelry and clothes, but not me.  I'm just a tomboy who loves her tools {confession note: the previous statement is a stretch, or maybe a categorical lie.  I get stars in my eyes over pretty clothes.  And jewelry.  And shoes.  Don't forget shoes.  Ohhh, and purses.  Definitely can't leave out purses...}. 

Pneumatic tools use an air compressor to shoot either nails, brads, or staples.  I have lots of upholstery projects, and having a pneumatic stapler will help me acheive much more professional results than my old manual stapler that isn't powerful enough to drive the staples completely into the wood and hurts my hand after just a few staples.  I can adjust the air pressure on the compressor to the strength I need for each project.

Pneumatic. I just like saying it. It makes me feel smart like my husband, who uses words like viscosity on a regular basis.

The first project I took on was this bench.  Remember the other bench?  I think I have a thing for them.

When most people go out on their own for the first time, they use horrible hand-me-downs or thrift store furniture until they are able to replace it.  In my case, I was given beautiful antiques from members of my family who didn't need them any more.  It's a hard life.

The two pieces of foam on this bench had been covered in tapestry.  It was pretty, but not my style and very uncomfortable.  I was thinking of getting rid of it, but decided to try to recover it and use it in the piano room.

I did not write a tutorial on this project because it is done the same way as dining room chair cushions.  Nothing more complicated than that.  Instead of just redoing the two squares, I added lots of foam and batting and covered the whole seat.  Then I stapled it to the the back of the seat frame.  It was easier and way more comfortable for my tushy than trying to make remake the same little squares.  See, already a vast improvement.

Here's where it got tricky.  I wanted to upholster the back, but, I couldn't figure out how to upholster it comfortably with the spindles, and I didn't want to mark up the wood, in case I changed my mind in the future. 

Light bulb!  Handsome Hero was putting peg board up in the garage, and I asked him to cut an area just shy of the measurements of the back.  I covered it in the same way as the seat, and set it in.  Because of the holes in the pegboard, I knew I could tuft it easily.

Even without the tufting, it looked so cute.

Way more up-to-date.

At first I was going to do a traditional tufting, with lots of buttons in a diamond pattern, but the more I looked at it, I thought simplicity was a better way to go.  I got two of the largest coverable buttons I could find and used fabric scraps to cover them.  Then I used an upholstery needle {which is very long} and thread {which is made for this purpose and is very strong} to go through the foam and make a simple tufted look.  Real upholstery buttons are actually like heavy duty brads that you push through the fabric and spread open in the back.  I plan on getting those for another project I have in mind, but these worked just fine for this time around.

I didn't take pictures of the tufting process for two reasons.
1.  I had never done it before and didn't know if I was doing it correctly.
2.  I did the tufting during naptime and the camera was in Jack's room.  No way was I going in there and waking the dragon.  That kid does not take to being awakened before his time.

I think I'll make a couple of cute pillows to go on it and finish it off. 

Kind of unintentionally, I have made this home more cohesive colorwise than the other places we've lived.  The bench could actually live in our bedroom, the living room, the dining room, or the piano room and look very purposeful, like it was made for the space.  That makes it easy to move things around and keep the house from feeling boring or stagnant. 

I gravitate toward antiques, but am drawn to modern, fresh looks, also.  I think that putting modern fabrics on old pieces enlivens them and breathes new life into them.  Not that I think they are alive.  I don't talk to them or anything.  I don't thank chairs for holding me or my dresser for storing my clothes so well.  It is ridiculous to think of calling a buffet Buffy, and promising that soon, very soon, she will be refinished, and to just try to be patient.

Hello, there, Tufty!  May I join you? 

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