How to Recover a Butterfly Chair | Pretty Handy Girl

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Do you have a butterfly chair that is sun-faded or has hideous fabric on it? I bet you thought it was a lost cause, right? Nope! With a sewing machine, some new fabric and a little spare time you can recover that ugly butterfly chair and have a new one. Okay, so I didn’t recover it with green fabric in honor of St. Patrick, but what could be greener than a good old upcycling project! Believe it or not, this was a much easier project than I had anticipated, so don’t get scared by the curves. You can “sew” do this! 😉

How to Recover a Butterfly Chair | Pretty Handy Girl

I stumbled upon this chair at Goodwill for $9.99. Normally I wouldn’t spend this much for a sun-faded chair, but because I was working on the school library makeover project — and we needed more comfortable seating — I bought it.  After all, we would have had to pay at least double for another comfy chair.

How to Recover a Butterfly Chair | Pretty Handy Girl

Luckily, I had some soft leftover fleece fabric that I could use to recover the chair. I wish I had measured how much I used, I think it was a little less than 2 yards.

Materials:

  • 2 yards of fabric
  • Coordinating thread
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Old butterfly chair + old cover

Instructions:

1. Remove the old cover from the butterfly chair frame. Lay it on top of your fabric (both right sides up.) Read more

Galvanized Tub Storage Bench for Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

Every month Lowe’s challenges me to create another unique project to share with you. This month’s challenge was creative storage ideas. Have kids? This is a unique storage solution using a galvanized tub and a furry upholstered lid. It’s the perfect place to store and corral all that kid clutter in your child’s bedroom. The storage tub doubles as a bench and a step stool. Don’t be deterred if you don’t have children, the storage bench could be used for magazine storage and much more!

Grab these materials and tools and follow along with me (and my 13 year old assistant.)

Creating the Galvanized Storage Bench and Lid

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Materials for the Galvanized Storage Tub and Lid:

Galvanized Tub Storage Bench for Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

 

Instructions:

Turn the galvanized tub upside down on the plywood. Use the sharpie to mark approximately 1/2 – 1″ out from the edge of the tub. Read more

Yes, you can sew your custom bench cushions and add cute piping trim to it. It’s not hard and I’ll show you how easy it can be to Sew a Bench Cushion with Piping.Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

Before you run screaming, “I can’t sew to save my life!”, let me tell you I thought sewing a bench cushion was going to be difficult. But, I thought sewing a bench cushion with piping would be next to impossible. Little did I know, once I figured out an easy way to create the box, it was actually very easy!

My Secret Fabric Source:

Before we get started I wanted to let you in on a little secret: The bench cushion and side table fabrics you see below are shower curtains!

Sewing a Bench Cushion

You read that right. Shower curtains are not only inexpensive, but they are durable and can stand up to moisture. This makes them perfect for outdoor use. I bought both of these at fabric shower curtains at Target for under $20 each!

Sewing a Bench Cushion Fabric Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Sewing a Bench Cushion Supplies

Okay, let’s get started!

Preparing the Foam Cushion

Lay your foam on top of the bench. Mark a line where you need to trim.

Sewing a Bench Cushion Prep Cushion

Use an electric carving knife to cut through the foam.

Sewing a Bench Cushion Cut Foam

Wrap batting around your foam. Then trim the edges down to size. I had enough to put two layers on top of the foam and one layer on the bottom. This will make for a cushier and less “squared” cushion.

Sewing a Bench Cushion Wrap Foam

Cutting out the pieces

1. Lay out your fabric (err, I mean, shower curtain) folded in half. Place your cushion on top. Trace around the cushion about 3/4″ wider on all sides.

Sewing a Bench Cushion cut pieces

Cut through the two layers. This will give you the top and bottom panels for your cover.

Sewing a Bench Cushion bottom panels

2. Next cut out four strips of fabric for the sides. Cut your lengths 2″ longer than your cushion.

Sewing a Bench Cushion fabric strips

If your foam is 3″ and you use 1-2 layers of batting, you can use these measurements for your strips:

  • Front: 4.25″ wide  by length + 2″
  • Sides (left and right): 4.25″ wide by length + 2″
  • *Back: 5.5″ wide by length + 2″
  • *Back Fold Over Flap: 3.5″ wide by length + 2″

*The back is wider and has two strips because we need to sew an overlapping flap and velcro to make the cover removable.

Sewing a Bench Cushion fabric measure

Assembling the sides

1. Wrap the 4 strips around your cushion right sides facing in. (Reserve the back fold over piece for later.) Pin the edges where they meet at your cushion corners. The back strip should line up with the sides on the one edge. But, the other edge will extend 1.25″ taller than the rest.

Sewing a Bench Cushion assemble sides

2. Remove the sides and stitch where the pins are. When you get to the back strip, fold over the excess so it matches the same height as the rest of the strips.

Sewing Bench

Then stitch along the back strip’s folded over fabric to secure it.

sew fabric for cushion

Set your sides aside for now. It is time to pin the piping to your cushion top.

Adding the Piping

(Tutorial for Making Your Own Piping Here)

1. Lay the top panel right side up on top of the cushion. Pin the piping on top of the fabric. Line up the piping with the edges of the cushion. Be sure the raw edge of your piping is facing the raw edge of the fabric.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

When you reach a corner, snip into the raw edge of the piping all the way (but not through) the rope piping. Then turn your piping at a clean 90 degree angle and continue pinning.

bench cushion piping

When you reach the beginning of your pinned piping, simply overlap the two about 2″ and cut off the excess.

sewing bench cushion corners

Your top should look like this:

bench cushion top diy

2. Set the top panel on your sewing machine and sew the piping into place. Your needle will be very close to the piping, but it shouldn’t stitch into the rope. This is where your zipper foot really helps!

sew cushion piping

Carefully sew and backstitch over the place where your piping overlaps.

sew backstitch cushion

Connecting the top and sides

1. Lay your top panel onto the cushion. Pick up your sides and begin pinning them to the top of the cushion. The hem on the back side should be facing up and away from the piping. Position your pins close to the piping but not on top of it. Try to line up the corners of your sides with the 90 degree corners of your piping.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

2. Stitch the sides onto the top piece. Again, your needle will be very close to the piping but not over it. This is a little trickier because you can’t see the piping, but you can feel it. Just use your fingers to guide you. (Piping shown by the red arrowed line below.)

Sewing a Bench Cushion

Turn your top cover right sides out and test the fit on your cushion.

DIY Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

Repeat the steps above for “adding the piping” for your bottom cover.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping bottom cover

Adding the back flap

1. NOW, pick up that back fold over strip that has been sitting all by its lonesome. Fold the edges over twice on three sides (2 short and 1 long) to hem your flap. Press the hem with an iron.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping back flap

Go ahead and stitch along the folded hem to secure it.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping back flap sew

2. Center and pin the flap along the back edge of the bottom panel (right sides together) as shown. The raw edges should be facing out.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping sewing corners

3. Stitch the back flap onto the bottom panel next to the piping. About an inch or so of the panel will extend on both ends. Leave it loose so it can tuck inside the cushion.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping stitch edges

3. Turn your top panel and sides wrong sides out and put your cushion inside it. Then lay your bottom panel on top as shown.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping top panel

Pin the bottom panel to the sides just like you did for the top panel. This time leave the back side unpinned (where your two flaps overlap.)

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

4. Now is a good time to trim any excess from your previously stitched seams. (There will be a lot of fabric on the sewing machine, and this is just one less piece that could get caught while stitching.)

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping cut excess

Trim off the corners at an angle.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping trim edges

Ever so carefully, peel the pinned cover off the cushion.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping top cushion

5. Stitch along the two sides and front of your cover. Leave the back length of the cover open. Remember, use your fingers to feel for the piping.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping sew piping

6. Turn the cover right side out and slide the cushion into the cover.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

Check the fit and make sure you don’t have any stray fabric that might have gotten caught while sewing.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

You should have an opening in the back like this.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

Adding the velcro closure

1. Take out your coordinating velcro tape.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping adding velcro

Pin the hook and loop velcro tape onto the backside and the back fold over flap. I used 4 strips of 3″ velcro evenly spaced along the length of the opening.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping velcro

2. Stitch the velcro onto the cushion. You can use a zig-zag stitch for extra strength (if you have destructive little boys like I do!)

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping sew velcro

Check the fit of the velcro.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping fit velcro

3. If everything looks good, you can turn the cover inside out and trim off any excess raw edges. Then turn the cover right side out and insert your cushion.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping trim raw edges
And that’s it! You are done and you have a professional-looking, washable, piped slipcovered cushion! Phew, say that 10 times fast.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping finished

 

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

Want to see the rest of my screen porch makeover? I spent less than $125, that’s what I call an extreme budget!

Ladder Shelves

I’d also love to have you join me for some more easy sewing tutorials!

Sewing Tutorials

On a personal note: This week will be a busy one, I have several projects to start; several to finish; I need to pull a permit and I REALLY need to order a refrigerator. If you have one you absolutely love, I’m open to your suggestions. Currently, we have an 18 year old side by side. I’m thinking a 25 cu ft or larger french door fridge might be better suited to a growing family of boys.

do it yourself crafts tutorials ideas

Okay, no over 40 jokes! Yes, I use a back pillow, and without it my neck hurts. Sadly I lost my way too expensive memory foam back pillow on the airplane trip to Ca. I couldn’t bring myself to buy another one, so I decided to see if I could make one.

This is definitely an easy project. Plus, it is sure to improve your posture!

Materials:

  • 2″ thick foam cushion
  • Batting
  • Fabric
  • Sharpie or fabric marker
  • Coordinating thread
  • Velcro
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Electric carving knife

Instructions:

I used another back pillow as a guide to create the shape for my DIY back pillow:

Here are the dimensions I used for my pillow.

1. Mark the outer dimensions onto your foam.

2. Cut the shape out using an electric carving knife (you can try scissors or x-acto knife, but nothing cuts through foam “like butter” than an old fashioned electric carving knife.)

3. Mark 3″ in from the side on top of the cushion and 1″ up from the bottom on the side. Connect the dots with a diagonal line. Repeat on the opposite side. Then draw a line connecting the points on the front of the cushion.

4. Use the carving knife to cut off the diagonal shapes.

5. Lay the foam cushion on top of the batting.

Use the foam as a guide to cut enough batting to wrap around your pillow form as shown:

6. Cut a piece of fabric that will also wrap around the cushion and and leave an extra 5″ on the length. Also, allow an extra 3/4″ for seam allowance on the sides.

7. Fold over one end two times for a hem. Make sure the hem is large enough to accommodate the width of the velcro. Iron the hem to hold it in place.

8. Sew the hem.

9. Pin the velcro onto the hem you just sewed.

10. Stitch the one velcro strip ont0 the right side of the fabric.

11. Figure out where the other strip of velcro needs to sit and pin it in place. Fold over the raw edge and sew the hem. Then stitch your 2nd piece of velcro in place.

Test the fit to make sure the fabric is pulled snug over your cushion when the velcro is secured.

12. Time to add the sides. Stand your cushion up on its end and draw around the shape, allowing at least 3/4″ seam allowance. Cut two identical pieces (one for each side).

13. Put the cover on the cushion inside out. And pin your end shapes inside the cover.

Cut small slits to fringe the ends of the tight radius turns. Do not cut past where your stitching will go.

14. Carefully remove the cushion from the cover.

Stitch the ends onto the body of the cover.

Trim the excess fabric off the seams.

15. Turn the cover right sides out and insert your cushion into the cover. Hooray! You are done!


I actually use this cushion in the car for driving. It fits perfectly between the sides of the seat.










I have a serious problem. I can’t bear to see a piece of furniture being thrown away. It could be the ugliest, most broken down chair and I still feel the need to save it from Mt. Trashmore. That was the case with “Daisy” this poor ugly chair that I found on the curb awaiting the trash trucks a few weeks ago. I threw her in the back of my car and brought it home.

Two missing parts

Only when I got home did I assess her condition. Moldy seat, chipping and peeling paint, structurally falling apart, cobwebs, missing parts…

GROSS! Stained and moldy seat.

…and then a dead roach dropped out! Ewwww! I must be insane.  But, I still saw potential through all the disrepair.

This chair had some serious structural issues. I knew it was a case of tear her down and rebuild. This intro kept playing in my head the during the whole process:

I pulled apart the chair (mostly with my bare hands and then with some assistance from a hammer.)

Until I was left with a skeleton of a chair.

I stripped the paint layers off the chair using the same technique as I did for this chair (see details here.) Unfortunately this chair had 5 layers of paint, therefore it took several hours and several re-applications of Citri-strip to get down to the wood.

If you remember, there were several missing parts on this chair. I had a lightbulb moment when I realized that I could used the spindles from the chair back for the missing parts to connect the legs.

I removed the back spindles.
Almost a perfect size and I had two of them!

I cut down the spindles on the miter saw (but these could easily be cut with a hand saw).

And then notched the ends so they would fit into the holes on the legs. (I did have to enlarge the holes on the legs slightly using my drill and a 3/4″ spade bit.)

Notching the spindles. Cut around the diameter, then cut from the end in towards the first cut. Repeat on all sides.

After dry fitting all the pieces back together, I used Gorilla glue to glue the chair back together.

I clamped the chair tight by using rope to wrap around the chair.

Daisy had also lost one of her decorative corner finials. So, I bought two new finials at Home Depot for $5.

In order to screw on the new finials in, I had to plug the hole with wood. (As promised: a tutorial on filling holes in wood.)

I also filled the holes where the spindles used to be with wood putty.

Next, I primed Daisy. Just a side note here, one reason the original five coats of paint on Daisy were peeling and flaking is that the proper prep work wasn’t done. No sanding to scuff up the glossy polyurethane and no primer. It is so important to sand (rough up your surface) and use a primer. If you cut corners here, you might as well kiss your beautiful finish goodbye in a few years. Especially if the chair is exposed to the elements.)

Finally, I added two coats of white paint (sanding lightly between coats.)

The chair seat was in really bad shape. Therefore I decided to cut a new one out of plywood using my jigsaw.

Trace old seat on plywood, use ruler to make straight lines, cut out seat using jigsaw.

I checked my fit and then re-upholstered my chair. Check out this post to see how to re-upholster a chair seat.

Then for the finishing touches or the frosting on the cake. You can definitely do this step! The inset carving controls your brush for you. Kind of like bowling with bumpers.

And my chair is finished. Isn’t she beautiful!

Hard to believe that 48 hours ago this chair was definitely worthy of Mt. Trashmore.

The chair is super solid now, and doesn’t move at all thanks to the Gorilla Glue.

How about one last look at the before and after pictures?

Want to see more furniture in my guest room? Take the tour here!

If you are coming here from a link party, this is the final post on my Extreme Rattan Chair Makeover. Click HERE if you want to see the transformation from the beginning. This chair started out as an U-G-L-Y silver painted dining chair that I scored at a yard sale for $5! I handed over my Abe Lincoln and ran before the owner could change her mind. Let’s learn about adding nail head trim now.

Today I will show you how to upholster the front and back of the rattan chair, add nail head trim, and then you can see the final results! Can’t wait, can you?

Well, grab your tools and let’s get crackin’.

Materials Needed:

  • Nail Head Trim* (Purchased every third hole style trim. It cost $1.25 per yd. on Amazon.com)
  • Decorative Nails* 7/16″ x 1/2″ – French Natural (sold in bags of 50 nails for $1.70)
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Wire Cutters
  • Posterboard or Tracing Paper
  • Scissors
  • Batting
  • Cardboard
  • Spray Mount
  • Hot Glue Gun (with glue sticks)
  • Screwdriver or cordless drill

* Just a quick note that I measured the areas on my chair using a sewing tape measure so I knew how much trim I needed. Then made sure I had enough decorative nails to fill in every third hole. Always order a bit extra in case you make a mistake or if you miss measure. Plus, as I will show you, I had to end some sections early and add extra nails.

First thing I did was make a template for the back of my chair. I used a large sheet of poster board (the cheap kind you can buy at the drug store works great!) I used my finger to press hard on the paper and the edge of my chair back opening. When I removed the posterboard, you could see a faint score line. I then cut out the template. (You could alternatively tape several pieces of tracing paper together and draw around the chair backing.)

Then I fit my template into the back and made any cuts until my template was perfect. Next I traced my template onto thicker cardboard and cut out the cardboard for my chair back.

Now I could start cutting out my fabric. You will want to lay your fabric on top of the cardboard and play with the pattern placement until you are happy. Then trace about an inch outside the cardboard and cut out your fabric. This is where I wish I had followed Centsational Girl’s directions for her Cinderella Chair Makeover! She cut out a piece of batting that was the same size as her chair back fabric. She wrapped the batting around the cardboard and stapled it. Then she used the glue gun to attach her fabric to the cardboard. I didn’t see the need since I wouldn’t be resting my back on the back side of the chair. But, what I didn’t realize is that it would hide the folds in the cardboard. Oh well, live and learn. Luckily my chair back faces a wall so no one will see it.

So, next I pulled out my spray mount, after putting a tarp down on the garage floor that extended about 4 feet in every direction from my cardboard. (Did I mention that spray mount can also travel when airborne? Be sure to cover a larger area than you will be spraying and prop up cardboard or more plastic if you are spraying near something you don’t want the spray mount to adhere to.)

I sprayed a light coating on one side of the cardboard. Then laid it on top of the fabric (Next time I will replace the fabric with the batting – having learned my lesson.) Make sure your fabric (batting) is stretched out so there are no wrinkles. Now, if you are using batting, you will want to get your fabric and lay your cardboard sandwich on top of the fabric.

Now it is time to glue the fabric to the cardboard backing. Heat up your glue gun, and run a bead of glue along one edge of your backing. Fold the fabric over the back (being careful not to burn your fingers on the hot glue like I did) and press into the glue. Carefully fold the fabric around your edges.

At the top of my chair was a heart shape, which required that I cut a few slits into the fabric so I could fold the fabric into the cardboard notch.

You are almost ready to insert your backing into your chair. Before you insert the backing, run a line of hot glue all the way around the back of the chair where the rattan meets the chair frame. Then I set my chair back in place. This is where I realized that I should have added the batting. You can see two slight horizontal lines at the top and middle where the cardboard had a fold in it. So, I hope you can learn from my mistake. Although, I really don’t think it looks too bad (does it?)

Nailhead trim time – Make her glamorous!

I pretty much repeated the same process for tracing the back (pressing my finger on the edge of the rattan area.) The front of the rattan was wider than the back. The good news is that once you have your template cut out of posterboard, you can go right to cutting the fabric and batting, instead of cutting a cardboard backer. I used two layers of batting for extra cushion. But, I could have used more.

 

Cut your fabric about an inch wider than your template on all sides. Trace and cut your 2 + layers of batting to the exact size of your template.

Now you are ready to put your fabric and batting on the chair. I laid my chair down on its back so I could work with gravity holding down the fabric and batting. Starting in a corner, gently fold the excess fabric around the batting and lay your nailhead trim on the edge of the fabric. Use your rubber mallet to hammer in the first nail into the first hole in the trim. Continue along slightly bending your trim to match the curves on your chair.

 

When you reach a corner, you will need to cut your trim. If you can’t end with a nail hole at the corner, you will want to cut your trim at a hole and add a nail or two next to the hole to finish at the corner. This will ensure that you don’t have the excess trim popping up or catching on anything. Then I cut two extra nail head bumps off my trim so that I could start with a hole again.

 

Work your way around the whole back of your chair until you have completed the nailhead trim border. I also chose to add nailhead trim along the edge of my chair below the chair cushion. Why not?! At only $1.25 per yard, it has big bang (or should I say Bling!) for little bucks!

 

Now the moment you have all been waiting for. Time to re-attach your seat cushion to the chair. Lay your cushion back in place, and locate the four mounting screw holes underneath. Use your cordless drill (highly recommended over the screwdriver) to screw in the mounting screws.

 

Then, set your chair upright and swoon over your “ugly duckling turned into a beautiful swan!” Isn’t she lovely!

This concludes my Extreme Makeover of a Rattan Backed Chair. I hope you will check back soon as I show you some of our office renovation.