Giving new life to something old and well used is my favourite game. This Viennese café chair replica came together with my new house. It's been lying around for ages until I found the right way to change its life! In this tutorial you will find out how to metamorphose an old chair using some yarn, a spray can and embroidery stitches!
Viennesse style chair
Plastic embroidery needle
Sandpaper (medium and fine)
1. Prepare the Chair
The original Viennese café chairs were made in the 1850s. They were made out of wood and hand-woven rattan. Wood bending into a curvy back was their most impressive feature and what made them famous. In this case I'm using a replica. The body is metallic and its seat is plastic rattan.
Remove the seat and the safety cap.
Put your mask on. Use the medium sandpaper to sand all the metallic surfaces. You don't have to take all the paint coat off, just remove the gloss. If you find some frayed, rusty parts, be persistent until the surface is smooth. For the plastic parts, use the fine sandpaper to avoid scratches.
2. Paint It
Lay old newspaper pages on the floor and walls of the space you will use for spraying. Stick them with paper tape if needed. Remember to choose an outside, well ventilated area to do this.
Put on your mask and gloves. Start with a thin coat of paint. Keep the spray can about 20 cm (about 8 inches) away from the chair. Cover the whole body in paint. Leave for about two hours to dry.
Spray paint the plastic parts as well. If your chair has real rattan, I would suggest that you don't paint it. Use the paper tape to cover the rattan area and paint the rest.
When all the parts are completely dry, spray another coat of color to cover any unpainted details. Leave it to dry for another two hours. For two full coats I needed two cans of white spray paint.
3. Begin Stitching
I've used acrylic knitting yarn because I needed a thick thread to fill the large holes of the rattan. You can also use embroidery thread. Pick the darkest color to make the seat embroidery.
Pull the yarn through the needle and through the starting hole. Join the two ends in a knot.
The holes are large and a knot won't be enough to hold the yarn. So here's a little trick. Push the needle in the next hole, like stitching the first stitch, and pull it through and between the two yarns.
Pull it to secure in place. Cut the excess pieces.
4. Embroider the Seat
Once you have secured the yarn, pull it up through the next hole and backstitch a straight line.
This line will be the stem to form a minimal abstract dandelion. Stop stitching about two thirds of the way across the seat.
Create a 45-degree corner and continue backstitching.
Once you have reached the desired length, create a small arrow on the end.
5. Thread Change
When you've finished the arrow, make a knot on the back side and cut.
To start a new row, go back in the center and push the needle through the last well-stretched stitch. Pull the thread all the way, and just before you reach the knot, pass the needle between the two yarns. Pull and secure.
6. Complete the Dandelion
Go to the front side and create the second "petal" row at a 45-degree angle.
Keep adding them until you meet the stem row.
Add a few seeds taken away by the wind. To do that, make a few stitches and an arrow at the end.
The seat is ready!
7. Wrap, Wrap, Wrap
Assemble the chair. Place the seat and the cap on top. It's time to embellish the back and feet.
I'm using thick white glue. The first reason is that it becomes transparent when it dries. The second is that it is a gentle material and dries in a few minutes. If, for example, you use hot glue, you will have an instant result. But if the thread is out by just a millimetre, the paint will come off.
Decide where you want to add a dash of color and add a few drops of glue.
Cut a piece of yarn from the second color and place its edge on the glue.
Hold it in place with your finger and start wrapping the rest around it. This way you have a clean edge.
Keep it stretched and keep wrapping. In the end, put some glue and secure the edge. Hold it for a minute until it dries.
Add pieces of all three colors to make an arrangement of your taste. For the feet, I started with a little part of red color and continued with a combination of two different colors by wrapping them together.
After everything is dry, add another drop of glue on the end of every wrap for extra safety.
The makeover is done! You have transformed an old, boring chair into an interesting decorative piece for your home.
You can add your new chair in your favourite cosy corner, in your shop's window, or even hang it on the wall!
Would you like to have this chair in your home? Have you ever given old furniture a makeover using yarn? I'd love to see your versions and read your comments about this tutorial. Please leave them in the comment section below.