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How to Make Over a Viennese Chair With Embroidery

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:ShortLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

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!

Supplies

Chair makeover supplies
  • Viennesse style chair
  • Acrylic yarn
  • Scissors
  • Plastic embroidery needle
  • Paper tape
  • Old newspapers
  • Glue
  • Sandpaper (medium and fine)
  • Spray paint
  • Mask
  • Gloves

1. Prepare the Chair

Step 1

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.

Original chair to be made over

Remove the seat and the safety cap.

Remove the seat and the safety cap

Step 2

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.

Use the medium sandpaper to grind all the metallic surfaces

2. Paint It

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Painted chair left to dry

3. Begin Stitching

Step 1

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.

Chair seat and embroidery thread

Pull the yarn through the needle and through the starting hole. Join the two ends in a knot.

Pull the yarn through the needle and through the starting hole

Step 2

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.

Push the needle in the next hole and pull it through and between the two yarns

Pull it to secure in place. Cut the excess pieces.

Pull it to secure in place and cut the excess pieces

4. Embroider the Seat

Step 1

Once you have secured the yarn, pull it up through the next hole and backstitch a straight line.

pull the yarn 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.

Stop stitching about two thirds of the way across the seat

Step 2

Create a 45-degree corner and continue backstitching.

Create a 45-degree corner and continue backstitching

Once you have reached the desired length, create a small arrow on the end.

Once you have reached the desired length create a small arrow on the end

5. Thread Change

Step 1

When you've finished the arrow, make a knot on the back side and cut.

make a knot on the back side and cut

Step 2

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.

pass the needle between the two yarns and pull and secure

6. Complete the Dandelion

Step 1

Go to the front side and create the second "petal" row at a 45-degree angle.

create the second petal row at a 45-degree angle

Keep adding them until you meet the stem row.

Keep adding them until you meet the stem row
Five petal rows
Full set of petal rows

Step 2

Add a few seeds taken away by the wind. To do that, make a few stitches and an arrow at the end.

Add a few seeds taken away by the wind

The seat is ready!

Finished seat design

7. Wrap, Wrap, Wrap

Step 1

Assemble the chair. Place the seat and the cap on top. It's time to embellish the back and feet.

Chair assembled

Step 2

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.

add a few drops of glue

Cut a piece of yarn from the second color and place its edge on the 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.

Hold it in place with your finger and start wrapping the rest around it

Keep it stretched and keep wrapping. In the end, put some glue and secure the edge. Hold it for a minute until it dries.

Keep it stretched and keep wrapping

Step 3

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.

Add pieces of all three colors

Enjoy

The makeover is done! You have transformed an old, boring chair into an interesting decorative piece for your home.

Chair back
Chair legs
Chair seat closeup
Chair from the top

You can add your new chair in your favourite cosy corner, in your shop's window, or even hang it on the wall!

Chair next to a table
Final Viennese chair makeover

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.

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