How to give a new lease of life to a piece of old furniture

Giving an old chair a new lease of life has all sorts of benefits. Old objects bring with them a huge amount of character, can keep a link to things from your family's past and are, of course, the ultimate in recycling.

Going about doing up your old furniture is perfectly straightforward for those with a bit of practical savvy. Upholsterer Craig Hughes, one of the contributing experts on television show Salvage Hunters: The Restorers, shares some tips.


How to apply a braid trim

Starting at one end of your piece of furniture, place a quarter inch of braid inside out and secure with a gimp pin. Run a small amount of hot glue down the back of the braid approx. 3 inches long, holding the braid taut in one hand and using the thumb of the other hand to rub and stick down.

Repeat the gluing process until the last 2 inches, then cut the braid a quarter inch longer than needed. Glue and fold the quarter inch in on itself.

How to sew a corner on a piped cushion

Sew up to 6 inches from the corner of the cover and snip 2 inches either side of the piping cord flange diagonally, making approx. quarter inch cuts. Then sew up to the corner with the needle down in the fabric, lift the foot of the machine, turn the fabric around and continue sewing. The piping flange will now bend around the corner and fit the cover properly.

How to deep button

Take an oversized piece of fabric and on the back mark the centre with Taylor’s chalk. Use the centre as a starting point for the first button. Work outwards by using your fingers as a temporary button before using the twined button.

Pull the twined button through with a needle and staple off. With a spoon handle run it into the pleats to make a smooth defined pleat, then repeat the process.

How to replace a damaged castor

Shepherd & Nylon wheeled castors are fitted with a socket. Remove the castor using a claw hammer as a lever. If the socket stays in, use the original socket. Push the new castor in – if it doesn’t fit properly, on the Shepherds castor carefully tap in with a rubber mallet on the side that does not spin. On the Nylon castor, tap in with a small hammer on the metal part.

Rejuvenating leather

Most modern leathers don’t require feeding, cleaners or specialist equipment to clean – it is a skin and needs to breathe. Protected and Aniline leather need a dust regularly but NO Polish. To lightly clean use a slightly damp cloth and lukewarm water.

Nubuck and Alcantara are a little different. The former must not be cleaned, the latter must be done by a specialist clean only. The best bet is to take professional advice before using any products on leather.

All new Salvage Hunters: The Restorers, 9pm, Wednesdays on Quest (Freeview 12)

Salvage Hunters: The Restorers

Craig Hughes (left)