Friday, February 8, 2013

Tufted Rocking Chair Re-do

Several pieces of furniture in our home have been given to us by Bradley's parents.  Not family heirlooms, but special pieces that were made in Togo, West Africa, where they served as missionaries for 16 years.  I love our woven dining chairs that sit around our kitchen table, the teak rocking hippo in Mason's nursery, and now I'm really loving this teak tufted rocking chair that graces my Master Bedroom sitting area.

This rocking chair was upholstered by a gentleman in Togo.  He did an excellent job with the original fabric, matching it up perfectly, tufting it quite nicely, and placing some decorative nailhead trim along the back.  This is the only before picture I could find.

When I decided to tackle this project, I did what any normal person would:  enlisted the professional help of my mother-in-law!  She is an excellent seamstress, and has done much more work with upholstery than I have.  Boy, am I ever glad that she did this for me!  I think it would still be sitting in disrepair.

Growing up I would always want to help my dad with a project.  I remember distinctly wanting to help him dig fence post holes.  He looked at me and said, "Lauren, it's a lot harder than it looks."

Let me just tell you that tufting a chair and applying nail head trim are both 'harder than they look.'  Don't enter into these projects lightly!  Much time and care are needed.

My mother-in-law did all but three of the tufts, so I can't take credit for that.  She even covered the original buttons, so we saved some money there.  I purchased the fabric at my favorite fabric outlet in town, and only paid $11.  It's a nice ivory color with a very subtle herringbone print.  I like how it contrasts with the color of the wood.

Stapling the fabric to the chair was the easiest part, and there was no sewing involved in this re-do, which is always a plus!

The nail head trim was my least favorite part.  If anyone is considering using nail head trim, please purchase one of these:


It made the job much easier, and it only costs about $6 at Joann's.

Next time, though, I think I'll splurge and buy this kind of nail head trim:

This is a 6' long piece of trim that you apply, hammering an additional nail every 5 nails.  It helps to keep the nails perfectly spaced and go in at the correct angle.  For $12, it might be worth it.

This kit, for $19, would also work:


You can see why this would be helpful for me:

I used a measuring device to place the nails equally apart, but even with that, they would hammer in the wrong angle, making them go in the wrong spot.  I probably should have gone back and fixed the ones that were incorrect, but the back of the chair faces the wall, so I'm going to live with it for now.  Plus, this way if I ever try nail head trim again, I can compare to my first nail head job.

Our Master Bedroom is coming together!  I'm still on the hunt for the perfect comforter/duvet.  And, I'm hoping to fix my bedskirt, which is not the right size and needs some ribbon to finish it off.  Slowly, slowly, things are getting done.  I hope to finish a lot of these final projects before our baby comes in July.  If I manage my time well, it should get accomplished in five months' time.

Happy Friday!

Linking to:
Furniture Feature Fridays


  1. This looks beautiful, Lauren and Ann!! I love the bedroom sitting area.....very inviting, especially for reading a book to one of those little sweet ones!

  2. Wow Lauren!! You guys did a great job & this chair now looks like it could sell for thousands at anthropologie or somewhere like that. You are so creative & thrifty, love that. It was good seeing you this week.

  3. It looks beautiful. Great job, Lauren!

  4. I love the nail trim! I've been noticing that's a look that I've been drawn to lately. The chair turned out so great! Maybe Ann should come to my house and recover our la-z-boy for us ;)

  5. Whoa! What a fantastic post. I admire you have shared a splendid piece of information here. I love my rocking chair. You have done a fabulous work.

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