Monday, August 14, 2017

Furniture redesign: Replacing upholstered seat with woven rush

Rush seat weaving is really becoming one of my favorite things to do for a couple reasons: ability to restore something to it's original form, accessibility of materials... But what really appeals to me is the ability to create something completely new using time tested materials and techniques. In this post, I'll share how to find, clean, and re-imagine a vintage upholstered vanity seat or foot stool into a classic farmhouse chic accent for the modern home!

If you've been following this blog, you'll know that I can't pass up a worn out, damaged, or forgotten piece of the past. Especially one as sturdy and unique as this one. Is the frame chewed up? Yes. Is the fabric torn? Sure. Is the padding disintegrating before my eyes? OK, this thing is rough... but a quick feel around the frame and I can tell that the wood is all intact, and sturdy enough to support my weight if I wanted to stand on it. The chips in the frame can all be sanded, and a fresh coat of paint would cure all. But the seat? Well, I could reupholster... but what a great opportunity to really create something completely unique!

So once you've found the right piece, it's time to get cleaning! We're going to remove everything that isn't going to make it to the final piece. For this one, that means the fabric, the padding, and the weird peg board under the padding. You will find some weird stuff under upholstery sometimes... I suggest wearing gloves and a mask!

With the piece cleaned up, sanding is in order. Sometimes you can get away without sanding, but this piece has a glossy finish. In addition, there are some scratches I'd love to remove... so about 30 minutes of sanding and I'm ready to paint!

So the prep is complete, and we're ready to weave the seat. This piece is an even rectangle, open on all 4 sides, so weaving is going to be about as easy as it gets. Just pick a corner, attach the fiber rush, and get started! This pattern is simple: up through the center and over each rail in a counter clockwise direction (my personal preference) keeping the weave as tight and straight as possible.

Fiber rush is actually a paper product, and will absorb any liquid that gets spilled on it. To protect it, a simple coating of matte or gloss poly works really well without changing the color too much. However, if you're not worried, and you like the way it looks in it's unfinished state, you can leave it unfinished as I have on this one.

OK, that's all for now; on to the next project! Want to know what it is? Follow me on twitter for sneak peeks and updates! If you're just looking for DIY inspiration, stayed tuned @ for more on my DIY projects through the year! And if you're looking to get some of the items you've seen here on my blog, on twitter, or on my boards, just head over to my etsy shop!


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