I was in need of two more parson chairs. So, I thought that I could maybe buy them from the same place I originally purchased my set, but they only had something close. I don’t mind mismatch when it reasonably works together. These did not. So I started my search…. Anything I liked was either out of stock, or way too expensive.
I’ve been making and updating a few furniture pieces lately, but never made any chairs or stools. Why not? I guess I thought that they were too intimidating. I started doing some research on the web and learned that they are intimidating. But then there is a very talented person out there by the name of Ana White. She has plans for a parson chair that really made me say that this is not as hard as I thought. So I used her plans as a basis for my own.
I used left over pieces of wood I had from another project. So why not try one and if it works I’ll do the second one.
Here are the measurements of the parson chairs I already have:
40 ¼ H x 16 ¼ W x 17 ¾ D
1 – 2x2s, 8′ long
2 – 2×3, stud length of 8′ long
Scrap pieces of 1/4″ plywood or No Sag Springs (also called Zig-Zag or Sineous Springs) or Jute Webbing
1 – 15 1/2″ x 17 1/2″ x 2″ standard chair foam
1 – 24” x 24” x 2” standard chair foam
2 yard batting
1 Drop cloth or 1 yard decorator weight fabric
1 1/4″ and 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws and 3″ screws
Upholstery nails (optional)
Covered buttons kit
Upholstery thread or fishing line
Large Upholstery Needle
Gorilla Wood Glue
120 grit sandpaper
Lint free cloth
3” Wood Screws
Fabric Prep: Fabric use canvas drop cloth from Home Depot.
Let’s prepare the fabric. First, bleach your material by mixing about 3 cups of bleach, 1 cup Hydrogen Peroxide with hot water in top loading washer, or Sink allowing it to sit for several hours before running through the whole wash cycle. (Hydrogen Peroxide – neutralizes your bleach so that it doesn’t continue to “bleach” later on). Every so often stop by and stir, making sure all the fabric is getting soaked.
After the fabric soaked for several hours, wash the cloth on a hot cycle with another cup of bleach, regular amount of detergent, and fabric softener added to the load. Once that load was finished. Place in dryer with a few dryer sheets, this is just to help soften up the fabric.
I did iron the fabric, and do think this is a necessary step, it helps from having to pull the fabric so much to get a wrinkle out (example would be a seam line on the fold that doesn’t want to go away). Next,
2 – 2×3 @ 16 3/4″ (one end cut at 5 degrees, measurement to long point)Back Legs
2 – 2×3 @ 23 3/4″ (one end cut at 10 degrees, measurement to long point) Back Rest
2 – 2×2 @ 16 ¾” Front Legs
2 – 2×3 @ 14” (ends cut at 5 degrees, measurement to long point) Side Aprons
2 – 2×3 @ 13 1/4″ (Front and Back Aprons)
2 – 2×3 @ 15 3/8″ (Seat Support Sides)
3 – 2×3 @ 11 1/4″ (Seat Supports Front and Back)
¼” Plywood – Back Rest and Seat (Follow the dimensions below
Chair Backs – 2 – 2×3 @ 23 3/4″ and 1 – 2×3 @ 11 ¼”
Make sure you use glue and 2″ screws to screw the 2×3 to the insides of the 2x3s. It is very important to create a strong joint here.
Take your another 2×3 @ 11 ¼” lying flat and attach to the base of your seat.
Now attach sides in the same manner 2×3 @ 15 3/8″. DON’T FORGET THE GLUE!!! Now the remaining 2×3 @ 11 ¼” for the front. Measure and cut plywood for seat, as shown above. Attach with the nail gun. Measure and cut your back rest.
Using your 2 – 2×3 @ 16 3/4″ place 1 of the 2×3 @ 13 1/4″ and glue and attach. This is your back apron. Do the same for your front legs 2x2s. Now attach your sides, these are your 2 – 2×3 @ 14”.
Turn your legs upside down and drill holes halfway through your apron to be able to attach your seat later with 3” screws.
Sand and Stain. Set aside.
Cut your seat back for your chair from ¼” plywood. Mine is 21 x 16 1/4”. Draw your diamond placement. As shown below:
Now you have your diamond pattern, drill holes through your plywood. (You can also use pegboard for this instead of plywood, so you don’t need to drill). This creates the holes for your buttons.
Cut your foam to size, making sure you have 2” extra on all sides.
Now attach your back rest to the top of the chair. You should have a space between the back and the seat. (This is for your foam and material.)
Glue your foam to the back and the seat, wrapping and gluing the sides around the frame. Cut open the holes of your pattern. Cut slits (this is so fabric has to have somewhere to go to make the lines that go up and out from the outside buttons, I used a razor blade and cut those lines deep into the foam. cut vertical lines for the top buttons, and horizontal lines for the side buttons.) (Sorry I forgot to take a picture here. I will when I do the matching chair). Into your foam shown below. Now do the same with your batting except for the slits.
I used 1/4″ plywood because I have lots of leftover wood pieces, but you can use jute webbing or no sag springs will add comfort to your chair. If you go the 1/4″ plywood route, glue and use 2″ screws/Nail to attach the plywood to the top.
Lay the fabric out over the chair and allowed a LOT of excess for the diamond tufting…it takes WAY more than you think! (At least 6 extra inches all the way around…maybe a little more).
Start by pushing the fabric into the top two holes you cut out in the foam…allowing extra fabric in the middle. You can play with it and adjust it as you go.
You adjust all the fabric as you continue going down, pushing the fabric into the holes on down the back of the chair. The folds in the diamond tufting always go down. Once you get the fabric all pushed in and the diamond tufts all formed, you start putting your buttons into place. I used fabric covered buttons. You just follow the basic instructions on the package to make your buttons. I add a little dot of hot glue behind the metal piece to make sure they wouldn’t come apart as I put pressure on them when as pulled them into the tufts.
Use VERY heavy-duty upholstery thread or fishing line for buttons.
Put the thread through the back of the button that you already covered with fabric and assembled….
Then thread the doubled thread through the eye of upholstery needle.
After placing all my buttons back into the holes, and made sure the fabric was folded just the way I wanted it.
Start attaching buttons. Adding a regular button at the back and tie loosely. To attach the buttons to the board
You will have pulled all four strings through to the backside of the board but each string through the holes in the button
Then separated the four threads into two and threaded each set of two tied it off into a bow. DO NOT TIE IN A KNOT, You want to be able to adjust the buttons.
When you are positive where you want you buttons, pull your thread from that back tightly so your buttons recess in the hole you created in your foam.
Make any necessary adjustments to the fabric and pleats around your button and continue working from top to bottom.
Also making sure you adjust the fabric at the sides so you’ll have equal amounts all the way down the sides of your chair.
See how the fabric on the sides goes down into the slits I cut into the foam….that’s why you needed to cut those slits with the razor.
In this picture, I have the back all attached with the buttons and I’ve pulled it around to the back of the chair and tied is a knot. Now staple it to the back of the frame.
Attached the seat by pulling fabric through the back crease and attaching it to the frame of the chair, and by stapling all the way around the edges.
The front corners were folded as such, before stapling.
Measure out another rectangle piece of fabric for the backside of your chair. Folding the top and the two sides in about ½” to create a hem. (I ironed this seam.)
You can hand sitch using the Blind stich method all the way around. A blind stitch in sewing is a method of joining two pieces of fabric so that the stitch thread is invisible, or nearly invisible.
Or you can use upholstery tacks. I choose to do both.
When done pull fabric taut, fold under back frame and staple.
Attach your legs with the 3” holes to the base of the chair. Wahl La!! Take a step back and admire your work. Cost, maybe 10% of that $299 chair I’ve been eyeing and that is for two chairs. I really only purchased the foam, the canvas drop cloth for my fabric and the kit to make my buttons, which were on sale at Hobby Lobby. Not bad at all.
I hope you have enjoyed this project and hope that it inspired you to do more.