before & after: chair redo with felted upholstery


This may seem like a rather plain chair makeover, but what really charmed me about this piece were the details: the irregular, hand-painted stripes and the felted wool seat. When Adrienne sent some of her process photos and I saw the alpacas on the farm she lives on, that clinched it — I love this chair. I’ve always wanted to try felting, but it never occurred to me to felt my own fabric for small upholstery projects. I’m definitely inspired by Adrienne’s simple, modern chair (and her adorable alpacas) to try it out. Great job, Adrienne! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

Read more about Adrienne’s felted chair upholstery after the jump!

Time: A little over a day

Cost: $35

Basic Steps: I use the wet felting method for felting. It’s time consuming but simple and satisfying. I scattered a tiny bit of white fibers in on top of the gray fleece to give it a subtle contrast. But since the fiber is from one of my favorite animals here (and her gray coloring is really rare and prized), I wanted the gray to be the star. I gave the entire chair frame a hearty sanding — especially on the edges of the rounded legs — so it has worn “stripes” all over. It still needed an extra accent, so I went with some classic and faded stripes along the back rail. For that, I simply sanded, masked with varying thicknesses of masking tape, painted and sanded.

My advice if you like the look of felt but you are not a felter is to see if someone on Etsy would felt a custom textile for you. Or be extra clever and find some local fiber to have made into felt! Having a piece from a local animal is very special and one of a kind. — Adrienne

  1. lizzie says:

    Great looking chair – the felt is beautiful! Also, love those alpaca – so cute!

  2. tracylee says:

    hahah! I normally wouldn’t want anyone watching while I work, but I’d make an exception for that herd of ‘paca!

  3. Christina says:

    Um. ADORABLE. I visited an alpaca farm once and fell in love with them.

  4. Zach says:

    Love everything about it, except the lines on the back. But other than that, awesome job!

  5. miska says:

    Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your process! Beautiful work and I love that you are so close with the source of your materials.

  6. Really lovely! To think of adding those stripes is remarkable.

  7. Colleen Dean says:

    I think I want an alpaca ranch now.

  8. diana says:

    Wonderful new seat cover. Really excellent!

  9. alice says:

    the wood is so beautiful – why does it need stripes?? great makeover anyhow, and really REALLY cool that it’s literally homespun

  10. Beautiful piece. I really like the upholstery!!!

  11. Amber says:

    This is probably the cutest before and after I’ve seen.

  12. ruth singer says:

    Stunning!

  13. Britt says:

    It’s so lovely to see the process in between the ‘before’ and ‘after’. The finished product really has a lot of charm. I want one! And an alpaca farm!

  14. Rachel says:

    I love the warmth of the new seat, but the hanging sculpture/string art is striking. Is that something you made as well?

  15. Hi Adrienne,

    Great idea! Just wondering how the alpaca has held up on a chair cushion. I’ve heard it doesn’t pill, but does it stretch out at all?
    Thanks!

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