Modernizing an Old Cane-back Chair with Tufting
I picked up a set of 3 of these old caned chair’s for $40. I totally scored a deal! I loved the style, but the caning was so dried out, when I tossed the chairs in the back of my van, they cracked all over. I decided it would be easier to make it an upholstered piece instead of trying to re-cane it. Modernizing an old cane back chair with tufting is a great way to save those chair backs that you don’t want to re-cane.
To give an old cane back chair a makeover, start by painting the chair frame first.
I love the look of caning, but it can be expensive to do a set of chairs. If you have rattan caning left over, you can try replacing the glass with it in a cabinet door, making a caned vase, or even giving an old headboard a makeover. I first took the seat off and painted the frame, and recovered the bottom seat. You can see a tutorial from a few years ago on how to do that here.
For the top caned part, I used quilt batting to stuff the back which I laid on top before I stapled it to the front. All. The way. Around. I think I went through about 400 staples. After stapling use a button to create a tuft. You’ll pull the button thread through the back and secure it by knotting behind the caning. Then add more batting to the back side and staple the backing fabric on the chair.
I then hot glued on trim to cover the staples.
When I did the top I used plain linen. I thought it might look busy to do both the upper and lower the same pattern.
I actually really like contrast of the top and bottom.
The tufted vintage button added a pretty touch to the front side of the upholstered cane back chair.
A single chair like this is perfect for a desk chair or just to have around when you need an extra pretty seat.
Since there were three chairs and not 4, I need to decide if I am going to do the other two chairs the same way, or if I want to mix it up a little. 🙂
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Wow! They turned out great!! luv it
Beautiful, Mix it up I can’t wait to see them, Di
Good choice to use two fabrics! Love it!
They are beautiful and what a steal..i mean deal..lol
I would do them all different..
Can’t wait to see what you decide..
I love it when someone scores such a great deal! I feel like I got it! Turned out very nicely. Great job (again)!
Your chair is adorable, Jen. Love the fabrics you used and that vintage button is the perfect finishing touch!
beautiful job! it looks so sweet!
I love it! You did a great job and the fabric choice is beautiful! Blessings, Tammy
Love this! Really great idea using the tufting instead.
Wow Jen that chair is gorgeous!! What a transformation! Congratulations on taking a bigger space!I am now taking on a partner to help with my rent.Things are starting to look better 🙂
Beautifully done, Jen! I like the plain fabric on top and the patterned on the seat.
As much as I love the fabric on the seat, I adore what you did with the back of the chair. Such a looker she is! Great job as usual!
Love the transformation!!
all I can say is ‘wow’!
Wow! That looks fantastic!
Wow Jennifer the chairs are coming out so beautiful. What a beautiful choice of fabrics too. They really look great. I need to get down to Naperville and check out your space soon.
Oh Jen it is simply beautiful!
Jennifer, great idea and I love it. I also have old cain/french chairs and the cain part is very tired….my creative juices are flowing from this wonderful post. Your end result….beautiul. Blessings, Karen from A Cape Cod Nest.
Hi Jen, You did an amazing job on that chair. best of luck in your new space. That chair won’t be there long…it’s beautiful. Love, Penny
I love it.
Stunning! I just passed on some cane chairs because I was unsure how to redo them…you did an excellent job! They are beauties!
Love this! Looks super great!
She’s a beauty, mmm, so sweet!
Great makeover Jen…love the fabric choices!
Love how that turned out!
Great job! I like how that turned out!
Love it! Thanks for the tutorial!
LOVE these Jennifer! Thanx so very much for joining my party!:) Hope your day is going well.
The chair turned out beautifully! Love the fabric especially since I’m using it for our bedroom curtains, a lovely fabric. so on the back of the chair do you still see the cane painted white. Lovely
Jen!!!!! This is so amazing! I love it! I have seen so many chairs at yard sales that would be perfect for this! Thanks for inspiring me today!
Fabulous job on this! Love the new look!
This is so pretty.. how did you change the wood color?? I have a favorite chair of my mom’s I need to refinish and it has the dark old wood. Thanks for any help! xx
Hello, I am a new follower, spotted your chair on Thistlewood Farm. It turned out beautiful and has really inspired me to rethink my own project! I just bought 6 cane back chairs for $75! The cane is in great condition, but I’m really liking this look with the padded back. My question is for the button tufting, how did you finish that on the back side? Did you pull it through the cane and paint the thread to match the chair? My chairs are long straight back, so not sure if I should do two tufts or 4 or maybe even 6 with 3 pairs of two?
Where did you get the fabric for the seat? Love the single bird.
I found it at the on-line fabric store .com .I can’t remember the name though….
Post a picture of the back of the chair, did you pad the back also?
my cane back needs replaced on at least 2 chairs as it dried out and split, any suggestions, recaning is too time consuming.
I did pad the back. I would just reupholster them
Excellent!!! I will be transforming my entire dining set now. This is just what I was looking for to update my dining set. Thank you!!!
Hi Jennifer, I see there have been several requests for a back pic! I would love to see what you did for the back tufting and covering… 🙂
Hi Nicole. I don’t think I took a picture of the back and the chair has already sold. 🙂
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