Painted and Upholstered Wingback Chair Reveal

Upholstered and Painted Chair

Last week I showed off my latest yard sale find, which was this old wingback chair with yucky and ripped up stripe fabric but it had a wonderful solid wood foundation to work with. I’ve finally finished it and I’ve got a ton of pictures and information to share with you.

First, let’s recall how this old girl looked before we set out on this makeover project.

Wingback Chair Project

She was quite the lovely piece. I loved her curves, her carvings and the shape. The fabric was a mess (covered up by the white patches you see on the sides) but I knew I could recover it so considering I got it for less than pizza night, I grabbed it! Of course to make this chair match my bedroom design, I would be painting the boring brown wood into a lovely chalk paint black and adding some lovely red damask fabric (Love the Hobby Lobby 30% off sales!).

Pulling off the fabric

The first thing I did was to get this chair stripped down to the bare bones. I’ve never tackled an upholstering job before so I have to admit I was really scared. What if I ripped all the fabric off and then couldn’t get my new fabric on? Well, I threw all caution to the wind and just went at it. Of course, I’m not a professional upholstery expert so I didn’t have all the right tools I’m sure. I used a flat head screw drivers and a pair of needle nose pliers to get out the staples and metal trim (if that’s what it’s called).

Mangled Mess

I still can’t believe just how many staples there was on this thing. And that awful metal trim with jagged edges that wanted to rip and pull at my fingers…it was pure hell. It took a full 3 hours just to get everything off of it. My hands were so sore by the end of it, I had to stop for the day due to my lack of being able to grip anything. I did my best to keep the fabric intact so that I could use the pieces later to cut my new fabric with.

Money from the furniture goddess

Strangely, I also found myself about .27 cents richer during this project. For some reason, money started falling out of the chair when I took the back off. They seemed to be strategically placed to reward me just as I finished removing the last few staples. Thank you furniture goddess. :)

Now that my chair was naked, let’s admire her in all her glory shall we?

Naked Chair


The front looks great, but from the back, she’s quite ugly.

Back of Chair

That’s ok chair, we won’t judge you.

I have to say, if you’ve never upholstered furniture before and you were just a big ol’ chicken like I was, stop being afraid. I had no idea what I was doing but once I took the fabric off and saw how it was actually put together, it was super easy to get it all back together.

Homemade Chalk Paint

Next, it was time to paint the wood. I used my own homemade chalk paint and painted her up in this beautiful dark gray…almost black chalk paint (was called jet, from BEHR). I absolutely love the finished color and only needed to do one single coat of paint on her.


Since I used my homemade chalk paint on this piece, I decided to keep it all on the cheap and instead of using my Annie Sloan clear was, I ended up using just some plain old Minwax finishing wax in natural. I just grabbed a new clean white cloth (which I keep on hand by the box full) and gently rubbed in some of the wax and then wiped any excess off. The result was absolutely gorgeous. I finished it off by gently sanding with a fine grit sandpaper on the edges to give it only a slightly distressed feel to it. I forgot to take a picture of the distressing before I put the fabric on so if you can get past the finished stage of this picture, here is a closeup of that.

Closeup of Distressing

Next, it was time to cut out the beautiful red damask fabric.

Cutting Out Fabric

I started off by taking the pieces from the chair and laying them face down on my fabric, lining up the direction of the new fabric and doing my best to make sure things were centered. Mainly I was concerned with the seat and middle back piece, since those are actually centered.

There should be a picture of my actually stapling the fabric onto the chair right here but…I wasn’t able to get any pictures of me actually stapling the fabric onto the chair, mainly because I was doing this project alone and nobody was around to capture this beauty in progress. So you will just have to take my word for it that I stapled it. Yes…I stapled the bajesus out of it…just like how I found it. I own this stapler which I do love, but an air compressed power stapler would have been easier and less stress on my poor hands. I wish I would have taken pictures of the blisters I formed during this project.

When you are stapling your fabric, I have one major tip for you:

Make sure the RIGHT side of the fabric faces out…ya know, the nice side.

If you staple it on backwards with the wrong size of the fabric facing out, you not only ruin that lovely piece of fabric because you have to rip it right back off with the pliers and the fabric can…and probably will tear, but you also may cry in the process. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything (insert smart ass smug face here).

Other than that, just keep a firm “tug” on the fabric as you go around all the edges with your stapler keeping your staples as close to the edge as you possibly can to make it easier to cover up with the trim.

I did absolutely no sewing with this project, but I did sort of fold my fabric under so it had a nice edge. You don’t have to do this…the trim should cover up your edges completely if you get one wide enough, but I did it just to keep things looking neat.

Gluing on the Trim


After the fabric was stapled onto the chair, it was time to take care of the trim. I picked up the black trim from hobby lobby for a few bucks and just used my sad cheap little Walmart glue gun to attach it. It actually worked pretty darn well! I started off using fabric glue to apply it, but that ended up a sticky mess so I ditched that idea. I forgot I even owned a glue gun but once I found it and started using it, it went by really quickly. As you can see in the finished chair below, the only place I had to do any visible trim was the strip in the front near the bottom of the seat and the main surround border in the back.

Finished Chair Makeover

I am so absolutely thrilled with how this chair turned out. Yes, it was a learning process for me and yes, I did make some mistakes during it, but I’ve definitely learned. My next upholstery project will go much smoother! What do you guys think?

I’m partying with:

Savvy Southern Style Ducks 'n a Row Whatever Goes Wednesday Power of Paint Party That DIY Party

Attention! I am no longer writing new articles here at All of my articles and content have been moved to my new blog which includes furniture painting plus TONS of other home decor DIY projects and ideas. You can find this article there as well so click here to go to

Comments (18)
  1. Virginia March 26, 2014
    • Misty March 26, 2014
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