Upholstery

At the recycle center in Newport i have got lucky that day and have been given this amazing wing chair for free. It wasn’t in brilliant condition however and it seemed like it has been in the rain for the passed week but i was more than happy to take it, as underneath all the junk i know there was a brilliant chair structure. Just what i needed, i felt like hitting a jackpot or saving a Cinderella and turning her into a princess.

Once i managed getting the chair home i had to act fast as it had very unpleasant smell also i wanted to dry it so i didnt want to leave the chair outside. I stripped the fabric off the same evening.

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As i am inexperienced in doing upholstery and also i have tendencies not to think ahead. I Stripped the old fabric of the chair the way i could and didn’t exactly follow the pattern. Also after i stripped the fabric i throw the fabric away as it was wet and was smelling bad.

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Once i have stripped the old fabric i noticed the sponge underneath isn’t so bad with a good clean and steam it can be reused which was even better for me. As i didn’t really know what i was doing i done research online how upholstery s done. On youtube there are plenty videos of how to do it also online there are some instructions. I relied on youtube as all guides are on there.

First i bought the fabric that i liked. I wanted to create a fancy chair so i found myself affordable white upholstery fabric that really suited my image of what i wanted to do. I was going to do a screen print of tiger on the back of a chair and then stitch over it so it have more detail to it than just a print. I also bought a heavy duty staple gun which i was planing to use to attach the material to the chair as that what is shown int he guide videos.

Before starting the chair, i measured the back of the chair and i cut a piece out of fabric so i could do s screen print n top which would ideally go on top of the chair at the front. Once i completed the screen print and stitched into it like i planned i realized i don’t really like it that much as i thought i would. It didn’t seem good enough to go on the wing chair which i wanted to do quite glam. So my pan B was to do a button back chair, as though out my researched may chairs i liked that also was wing chairs had a button or diamante backs.

First i cleaned and steamed the foam which helped to get the original shape of the foam, I learned a brilliant trick on youtube.com

Then i measured where i want my diamante buttons to go, I googled to get a rough idea of how its done however i took it back into my hands and decided to to it the way i think it would work for me.

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I also fixed a piece of carpet at the back of the chair so when i tie the buttons to a char there will be something to hold it and tie onto.

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First i wanted to cover the back as the wings fixes in better after. I measured the front and cut the material out then started to fit the button in the right places. i made a small hole in each cross where the buttons needed to tuck in. The string i have bought wasn’t as strong as i thought it would be so i couldn’t stretch as much as i wanted to however it still looks good so it didn’t bother be that much.

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I found it a bit hard to use staple gun also once i have reached the stage of all front covered i realized its going to be very had to cover the arms of the back of a chair, so with some advice i come up with the idea of using pieces of plastic and hard glue which is usually is used for shoes. Measure the plastic the right size of the chair handle inside and so the side of the chair, and then simply using the glue, glue it in place. I used couple screws to hold the plastic board on top.

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The solution worked really well however the glue weren’t sticking well to the plastic. i decided to use the same technique to cover all over the back chair but decided to find some slim wooden sheets instead, as the glue would stick better than to the plastic i used for the arms.

Also looking at the buttons i have done at the earlier stage, i have noticed the string was breaking off of some of them as i used cotton tread. I had to re do the buttons with different string. Second time i have used plastic based string. I have also decided (as i had to re do buttons anyway before can cover the back of the chair) to fix wooden panels at the back of the chair so i can make more tension for the buttons as the plastic based string wasn’t going to snap as the previous one.

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The result of the buttons has improved and i am happy with it. Then i finally made a stencil of the wing on the piece of paper and cut it out out of the sheet of wood. Once i was happy with it i cut a bigger version out of the fabric and glued it using ordinary spray divisive (so the fabric wouldn’t move out of place) the fabric to the wood. Then i used the strong glue (which are usually used for shoes) for the edges and to actually stick to prepared panel to the back of the chair. The sameย method i have used to cover both wings and the back panel.

I doubt anyone has ever done it like me ๐Ÿ™‚ on one hand it seems that the way i have done is way more difficult than as original way is actually should be done, however i couldn’t manage to do it the way other people do it and as it should be done.So I have improvised as the time was running out.

If i ever decide to do upholstery again i will look into and spend as much time as i need to figure the original technique of how it is gone.

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Proceeding with the print

As i have mentioned previously i am not the best at drawing so i wasn’t able to draw an image of a tiger. I did try to see if i could convert an original photograph to a stencil using Photoshop. Unfortunately i couldn’t do it and did not get the effect i wanted, so i looked up n internet using google and picket a stencil of a tiger that i liked the most.
Tigers reminds me power and an exotic weather which i am very keen on, so looking at the lamp that i have got at the recycling center I have decided to make the cover playful, inspired by Caribbean islands. Looking at different pictures of different islands i noticed that i draw most attention to palm trees as the sea. Which would be my ideal place to escape. I decided to imitate, in my opinion perfect place, on the lamp. I picked a bright blue colour fabric and decided to use a palm tree on it as an image. I have looked at different stencils online for palm tree and there were plenty to choose from.

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Once i have gathered the definite pictures of the stencils i want to use, i have made a trip to a print studio where all screen printing happens. I have experience is screen sprinting however as i haven’t done it for a while i needed to refresh my memory, once i have been inducted to it i was good to proceed with the print.

I have decided to use black ink on both the prints as on the tiger i want to sew into it to have more effect also i like the idea of black and white. The lamp i wanted something matching the base as i liked the contrast with the white porcelain and black base and wanted to keep that.

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once i have finished screen printing them i have waited patiently. Once it was dry, which in all fairness, it didn’t take that long, about an hour or so. I was ready to stitch into the tiger using free hand stitch. Also i cut the pattern of the lamp after i have done the print as that way it was easier to control the fabric. I really like screen printing process, its quite exciting to see when its all printed.

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I decided to stitch in a blue colour tread as i thought of doing bright blue colour chair legs so the pattern would match. Unfortunately once i stitched into the tiger i didn’t like the effect. I much preferred when it was only a print. In my opinion the print only didn’t look completely finished however with the stitch i just don’t think its good enough to go on the back of the chair as I planned.

No matter how much i liked the print i decided to turn this into a cushion instead. As I still want to use a print i have made as it isn’t so bad however i do not think i is good enough for a chair so a cushion to go with the chair is the best solution i can think of as i do not wanna waist the print which i still like.

What concerns a lamp pattern and the print, all of it was going quite smooth. Once it printed i have cut the pattern out and using sewing machine stitch two sides together, Once that was done i used my hands to stitch the pattern on the light-shade metal structure. When everything was fixed in i used beaded ribbon all around the to and the bottom of the lampshade, so you cannot see any stitching and its a nice finish. I picked the beads because i personally really liked them and it gives a playful feel to it.

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I am happy the way the lap turned out its better than i expected to be completely honest.

From this starting point (the way i found it) :

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To this finished piece.

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My final cushion where i used the tiger print with the stitch going through it. As a cushion i think it works quite well. I chose to do a letter type of cover because i simply didn’t have a zip ๐Ÿ™‚

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Chasing free stuff

As a student i do not have that much money so i rang up all recycling companies around Newport hoping to get a chair or any furniture that i could upholster. However i wasnt succsessfull and all of them wanted money so i decided to take a trip to a skip yard and ask around there what they have got. Luckily they have had a chair for free which i can have and the chair is better than i hoped for. I am very happy with the bargain.
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I have also noticed a lamp dumped in the corner, which after asking very nicely i was allowed to take too ๐Ÿ™‚
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I don’t know much about upholstery so i am not sure how i am going to complete it. I believe though if there’s a will there’s a way, i will learn as i go along.
Also i am thinking to make the the chair a bit personal and have some sort of signature of mine. As i like animals and nature i decided to look at animal prints that i could screen print it onto the fabric that i use to upholster a chair i have got.
I want to look at powerful animals or royal animals. Like tigers, lions, puma, cat, swans, peacocks, corgi dogs. i think it would look nice on the back of a chair and possibly a cushion to go with it.


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Looking at them all i personally like tiger the most.


Design consequences

For our subject we have to have two projects one is BAMS and the other one is called Seed in which there are few project choices to pick from. I chose Design Consequences because i felt it is more open option and i couldn’t get into the other ones. At first i tried to conciser pewter project however i didn’t feel passionate about it so i dropped it and changed it into design consequences.
As i am a nature lover and believe in saving the environment, i decided to look into recycling material. My fist idea was to use old clothes or fabrics to create home ornaments or furnishings, like cushions or door stops etc. However after a debate with myself i decided i do have more skill than just do that, so i wanted to do something i haven’t done and give myself a challenge. I am still looking into working with recycled material but decided to consider doing upholstery over old furniture or old things. To start my ideas i looked online and checked craft magazines. The best ideas i found online.

I absolutely love how bright and playful this sofa is. Also i really like the style of the. On their webpage there are even more fantastic designs.
Looking through all recycled furniture makes me want to do it too. Specially the rococo style chair, would be great. I absolutely love the stile and the button back chairs. It is very stylish in my opinion.

Looking through the images i am really inspired to upholster a rococo/19th century chair or a footstool. As i still want to do recycling i am going to see if i could get a free or at least very cheap chair.

I have also have an interest in using plastic bags as there are a lot of plastic bags waited which doesn’t help the environment in any way. I have experimented melting them (using an iron) and sowing into it, also there are possibility of making one strong bag out of alot of plastic bags. The idea is to weave it and iron it (which would become one piece material) which after could be used as fabric (in a way) could be used to make purses or bags.

After filtering my thought og how to use the plastic bags (as experimenting in making a bag out of bags didn’t have much attraction to me) i have decided to try making flowers. I preferred that a lot more and the idea came to make a lamp out of plastic bags. ๐Ÿ™‚ I would imagine the piece being a very large scale. This is my experiment of doing so on a lot smaller scale.

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The making of the medal

To begin with I first looked up at inspirational quotes that would inspire me. Also I thought of putting a quote around the meda that I would feel that is suitable with the theme that I am doing. I am looking into happiness and the journey of life so I googled quotes and many come up. I picked few that interested me however only one really stood out for me.
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Looking at this quote i start developing my idea further and tried to match a picture which could possibly go and an image on the medal/compass i am doing. I have done few drawings however i am not the most skillful drawer so mo drawings didn’t satisfy me. After taking to my tutor i have decided to look up online for some images that would suit my idea. I took direct approach to the quote and looked for the images of the boats or anything that represents freedom. I have found couple images of the boat that i really liked and i was prepared to use it. In a way i am disappointed of not able to draw an image to go on my medal as getting an image online is like using someone else work to go on mine but by using different technology the picture changes and adapts to my work.
To proceed with the making of the medal the first thing i have done is , i used rhino program and created simple shape of a compass which later i have printed on a 3d printer.
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Once I had the shape i wanted i designed a circle to go inside of the 3d shape compass i created. I had an image and the stages of life that i come up with. Purpose, activity, focus , doubt trap, comfort routine, confidence which would go in the places instead of the directions that would appear on the actual compass. I have designed it using Coral draw which i would after lazer cut on a piece of wood. as i couldn’t pick which boat picture i choose i done it on both and looked which one i like better after. This helped me to decide.

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I knew from the beginning that i wanted to use a maze on the back of the medal as a maze is the pest to represent life and the life journey. As sometimes even if we know where we are going with our life we still are blind of the path. Any turning can be the end of the plan that initially was planed so we improvise and go on the journey in reaching the goal through a different path. Also the quote that i previously found helped me of sticking to the maze idea.”Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls” – Joseph Campbell
Planing sometimes is not worth it as following your instinct is enough. Having a goal and welcoming possibilities in life instead of restricting yourself with the ‘life plan’ will get you what you wish for. Experiences in life is needed to succeed, no matter weather they are good or bad. We learn as we go through life as in a maze as every turn has something different to offer for our knowledge.
I have tried in drawing the maze myself however i found a lot better ones online that would suit my idea. The maze i picked has a 3d look in a way, so i really was keen on using it.
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I have dome the same with this picture as previous one. I used coral draw to create a file which after i used lazer cutter to engrave the picture on the piece of wood which would suit perfectly on the back of the 3d print i have done previously.
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The first idea was to do a medal out of bronze as i never done a a bronze casting before so i wanted to learn, however i am not too keen on working with hard materials. So the first medal i decided to use wood and now as i experimented with the images and i kow what i want, engrave the wooden piece on the inside and the back. On the inside it had a a boat i have picked as a final and the maze. It was hard work center the image on the wooden piece but it was definitely worth it. It came out great and after i have polished it using wax it looked even better. To finish the first piece i used a plastic dome to go on top which fit perfectly inside and a magnetized needle which works as same as a compass needle. Over all i am really happy the way it turned out, Love the effect of wood and the lazer cut has a great effect.

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Making of the medal two

Second medal i wanted to keep the same theme as i really enjoy it. I decided to play around with the image at the front. This time looked at dove images and picked the one i liked the most. I picked dove because i see dove as a national freedom sign/bird. I believe everyone has a choice no matter what the situation is. The is always a choice. At the back i stuck to the maze image as i mentioned before, i see maze as representation of life journey. Which like a free dove, we are in charge of the next step in life and we are responsible of choosing which way to go.
Instead of doing bronze i chose to work with pewter as it is a shinier material and it is easier to work it. Fist i lazer cut my image of a dove and th life stages that i come up with on the piece of wood, the same way as i done it with the boat image.

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Then as i wanted two sided pewter medal i had to cast each wooden cut out in silicone, which took 24 hours to set. After that i used the molds of silicone to recreate the circle with the images out of wax. The wax process was fun as i experimented along the way. At first i poured the wax and waited to set, which the more was the longer it sets. However i decided to see what happened if i dip it into water while the mold is setting. Some really creative shapes turned out, which i was really happy with.

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Once i had all the wax pieces that i needed and liked, I had to add two wax molds together as i wanted two sided medal. So i attached dove image and the maze together using some hot wax. After i have dome another silicone mold using the twi sided piece, this time i used heat resistant silicone which would be able to take the heat of the pewter.

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Each mold had to set 24 hours, once it was set i melted pewter and poured into the molds. The abstract molds i left it un-attached as i wasn’t certain what i wanted to do with it yet, i wasn’t sure weather i wanted to keep it as a singular side or not. Once the pewter set and the pieces came out out of the mold, i was very excited about it came out. I have polished the pieces using hot and cold method and also used a bit of graphite on top of it to give a bit darker edgy-ness so it wouldn’t be so shiny. looking at the pieces i decided to add two abstract shapes together and make it extraordinary. I made a pewter ring to sin in between them as i didn’t want them to touch, i thought it looks better with the gap, most because some of the print was left when i dipped the hot wax in cold water which i really liked and want it to be visible. To stick the ring and attached both sides i used silicone glue, which worked well. I am really happy with the final piece

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Research journey in life

I began to read this book by Rhonda Byrne called the secret, well n all fairness i have read the book few times now as evrytime i read it i feel positive like i can achieve anyting i like. Specialy the times when i feel stuck in life and not sure where i am going or weather any of my choices are correct. Also accidently i have found this amazing guy called Leo on youtube.com and he has a yotube chanel where he covers many subjet on self help and happy life. To me he poped up on my youtube suggestions accidently at a really right time in my life which madee me think its faith. I am not gonna go in to it however listen to him i felt better and he has inspired me a lot.
For this medal idea i want to base the concept around life and journey of life. The purpose which would make us happy. As many people i am still not sure what my purpose is but i am working on it.

There are plenty more videos on self help or even just to understand the mind and the emotions.
For my medal i decided to do a compass as that shows the serch for direction as sometimes we feel lost and not sure where we are going.

Old compass on white background with soft shadow

Old compass on white background with soft shadow

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all the video i find it seem to show only a compass that contains water. However i am sure it is possible to have a compass without water, the same ones as some people have as a key ring or the one that people take on trips. So all i would need is a magnet and a needle with a little hand that would go on top of the needle.
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I am sure i will be able to create a compass. I do not want to have just a normal compass though. Mine will be meaningful. I want to look at stages of life and why people fall away from their purpose of life. Also why people are at if they haven’t discovered the purpose of life and why.