Take a Seat: Vintage Drafting Chair Transformation

Today we’re showing you how to transform a vintage metal stool. A few months ago we were cleaning up the garage and found a bunch of things we had forgotten about (out of sight, out of mind!). 

Here’s what we found in our metal stash:

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This vintage metal stool was an old drafting chair that belonged to my uncle. Not sure how he ever found the vinyl seat comfortable to sit on during hours of drafting but that’s about to change!

I always intended to fix it up for my new craft studio and now that the studio is just about complete, it’s high time to get ‘er done.  I initially thought it would look great with a new leather seat painted with our Birdz of a Feather logo but it was not meant to be. Once my studio started coming together, I went in a different direction.

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Give a Vintage Metal Stool a New Coat of Paint

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First Hubs sanded away years of rust and gave it a new coat of paint. He sprayed the stool with a durable high gloss car paint – already a big improvement on the army green!.

We flipped it upside down to add floor protectors onto the bottom to keep the metal from scraping our newly installed hardwood floors. I giggle when I look at this picture: it looks like it’s break dancing!

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We bolted the floor protectors on with a nut. I should mention that if you have an item that doesn’t already have a hole, and you don’t want to drill one, these also come with an adhesive peel ‘n stick backing. The rubber ring in the middle keeps the stool from sliding around on the floor.

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Reupholster a Vintage Metal Stool

I took the vinyl plastic off the seat cushion. With the foam still in good shape, I simply added batting on top of it to soften the edges before the final upholstery.

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Batting is easy to add and is an extra step you shouldn’t miss when you’re reupholstering. That’s because it smooths down the edges of the foam underneath the final fabric so you don’t see any lumps and bumps showing through.

I put the seat, face down right onto the batting and cut around it leaving a good amount of  extra to wrap around.

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I used a staple gun with a compressor to staple the batting all around the perimeter. Start at one end and then add a staple on the opposite side to keep it even. Then do the same on the right and left side. Fill in each quadrant with staples, going back and forth between opposite sides until complete.

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Finding a Bit of History

I think it’s so cool that the date stamp is on the bottom indicating it was made in 1968 by the Superior Way in Fergus Ontario. That makes it over 50 years old! After some research, I don’t think this stool would have ever been upholstered. It would have sported just the plain wood seat. If I tire of the upholstery, I might just convert it back one day.

In the meantime though, trim off the excess batting.

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Nice and smooth!

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Here it is, ready for the final fabric:

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Staple on the Fabric

Follow the same steps described with the batting above to upholster the seat with your chosen fabric. If your fabric has a nap, make note of where the holes are on the bottom, where the seat is fastened on, and position the fabric onto the seat in the direction you prefer. Make sure you don’t cover up the holes as you’re stapling the fabric on 🙂

You can trim the fabric close to the staples to clean it up. I was so excited to see how the seat looks, that I forgot to trim it! If you like, you can also cut a piece of plain cloth to staple on as a dust cover (I didn’t do that either).

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Once you’re all done, screw the seat onto the base taking care to use screws that are long enough to hold it securely, but not so long that they’ll come out the front and ruin your new upholstery!

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Here is the final reveal. Although I’m using the stool with my pattern drafting table nearby, I photographed it by my desk area – which is much prettier to look at! Far more than the way it looks in my craft studio, every time I use it I’ll have fond memories of my uncle.  It’s a special piece and I’m happy I was able to breathe new life into it.

When you’re looking for inspiration on colour choices for the metal and upholstery, pull from colours you’re already using. I love how the ‘new’ drafting chair compliments the colours in the carpet.

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If you’re curious about the Paint Chip Portrait shown above, click here for the how-to!

Finding Another Project for the Logo

I restrained myself from using my logo for the seat of this chair and I’m so happy with the outcome. However, I DID use my logo to upcycle this clock:

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I was also considering adding my logo to glass doors of the IKEA storage cabinets we built for the craft studio, but didn’t love it. The clock is enough 🙂

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It’s fun to be at the point where I’m just putting finishing touches on the craft studio!  Pinning is always welcome and appreciated!

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I’ll have two more chair makeovers coming soon. Follow our blog here to see those projects and more! You can also follow us on PinterestFacebookYouTube and Instagram.

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6 thoughts on “Take a Seat: Vintage Drafting Chair Transformation

  1. Sara, I love the date stamp on the bottom. That is so cool. Maybe you can put a “refurbished by” date on it for the next person that comes along?

    It looks terrific. I recovered my patio cushions this summer and also added a layer of padding. They’re more comfortable. I gave the scraps to the squirrels for nesting. Win-win!

    • Thanks Alys! Love your idea about the refurbished by stamp – lol! Hope the squirrels were satisfied with the scraps and didn’t come back for the good stuff 🙂

  2. Pingback: The Making of a Craft Studio (VI): The Final Reveal! | Birdz of a Feather Home

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