I will share my brave journey through this daredevil's DIY minefield:
Thursday, December 16, 2010 10:43 PM
Step One – find a park at Spotlight. This was harder than it sounded. It is not called the Silly-Season for nothing. I went round, round baby, right round the car park until I was dizzy and almost out of gas!
Step Two – hunt out not too hideous chocolate vinyl. Because this was my first DIY I didn't want to fudge it up with expensive leather. Plus they were already covered in a hideous grey vinyl so it couldn't be that bad.
Step Three – find a member of staff to serve me. This too took forever. The fabric I had chosen was literally our of season by the time they served me. So I chose another one. I ended up buying about 3 metres of vinyl (wayyyyyy tooo much – but now I can go on an upholstering rampage through the house! Yay!) and a little bag of pre-cut foam pads for chairs as I wanted to make the seats themselves softer too. That way they'd be more comfortable and I'd be allowed to keep them! Once this shopping mission impossible was accomplished I headed home.
Step Four – carefully remove the tacks from the old vinyl. I decided to do this carefully for two reasons: 1 – I have no idea where to buy the tacks from so I needed to recycle the ones I had, and 2 - I wanted to use the old vinyl as the pattern. There were two layers so this took a long long time, but I was sitting in the sun enjoying the backyard, the birds, the flowers and the cats kept me company so it bet a day at the office hands down. Best of all, sitting in the sun with the old seats spread around me on the lawn had a hidden benefit – as the sun heated the wood, the tacks became easier to remove! I used a tool I found in the garage that I have no idea what it is called. Lets call it: Fancy pliers. So, gripping each tack by the head I pulled and wiggled, wrestled and wrenched it out and set it aside in a dish to be re-cycled later.
Step Five – using the old vinyl as the pattern carefully cut the new piece out with fabric scissors.
Step Six – place two new layers of foam over the old padding, then place the new vinyl over the top of that. Turn upside down, place on cardboard, bubble wrap or other such soft layer (so as not to damage the new vinyl) and using a hammer, tack one tack in the middle of each of the four sides. This done, work your way out to each edge with the tacks, carefully folding the corners in a tidy manner. I used a seat with its old vinyl still on as my guide for how best to do the folding.
Step Seven – place new covered seat into old frame. Take photos and jump up and down with excitement at how much better they look. Sit on the seat and exclaim excitedly to oneself at how much more comfortable they feel.
Step Eight - Repeat three times.
Of course, then I put the old-but-new chairs back in place in the dining room and didn't say a word to His Highness. It took him three days to notice. Well, I gave him three days to notice – then one night I caved and asked him if his seat felt more comfortable. I thought foolishly that he might have a 'Princess and the Pea' moment and feel the difference when he sat down. But no. I had to turn myself in as a DIY debutante.
So as you can tell by my lack of knowledge, I am no expert at DIY. Far far from it. But hopefully my story goes to show that DIY is achievable to everyone. Even those who don't know what fancy pliers look like.