Over the summer Bryan worked for our apartment complex helping move people's things in and out so all the apartments could be re-carpeted. It was a huge process. It basically required everyone to move out in the morning and then move back in in the evening. Anyway, a lot of people got rid of extra stuff during the whole process. Long story not-so-short, one evening after work Bryan brought home this old high chair that somebody gave him for free. I winced when I saw it (it was SO ugly and old-looking), but tried to be supportive and figured we could throw it out later when Bryan realized what a piece of junk he had brought home.
Well, it has lived in the closet all this time and last night when I was considering buying a new highchair I pulled out the old hunk of junk to see if it could be salvaged at all. I wiped down the ugly brown seats, took note of the fact that there were no safety straps, and sat the big O in it to see how well it worked. I was surprised by how functional it was. And after some tinkering and thinkering I decided I could fix it up and make it beautiful and safe. So, I now present to you...
I wasn't feeling up to doing a tutorial, especially since this isn't a standard size high chair (anymore--maybe it was back in the 60's?), but if you're interested in trying to do this yourself on your own funky high chair, I recommend looking over this tutorial. Also, by way of really quick instruction, I unscrewed the seat and back from the frame, then using a flat head screwdriver I took out all the old rusty staples one by one (a pair of pliers helps with broken pieces of staples that may remain) and took off the nasty old brown vinyl. I used the brown vinyl pieces as somewhat of a pattern. Basically I laid it down on the wrong side of the paisley, traced around it with a pen, and then cut out a rectangle that was a couple of inches bigger than that on all sides. Then Bryan stapled the fabric to the seat/back frame while I kept pulling it tight. Then I cut the excess fabric off the back and we did the same thing with the clear vinyl. I was really surprised at how easy it was, actually. My only recommendation is to cut your fabric piece big, if possible. I cut the fabric pretty wide and we didn't have any issues with it, but I was a little more skimpy on the vinyl and it made for a slightly more nervous me as Bryan came at it with a staple gun (actually, it was a staple hammer that we borrowed) somewhat close to my fingers. (Just for the record, Bryan did a really good job. I was never in any real danger and neither of us suffered any injuries.) For the back pieces I sewed the vinyl, fabric, and old ugly brown piece all together and just sort of... made it work. If you want more details I'll explain, but it was kind of a tricky process since I couldn't use pins.
The (almost) last step was to put the safety belt on. At the beginning of the semester Bryan cut the waist strap off of his backpack and gave it to me to use for something later. (He knows me so well.) Actually, I think it was Bryan who first suggested using that buckle as a safety belt for the high chair. So since I already had that piece, I bought a bit more black webbing and sewed it into a loop. We stapled the loop onto the bottom of the seat piece, centered on the front edge. *Note: I should have made it longer. Then we stapled the other buckle straps onto the bottom of the back rest at the bottom. Now we can just thread the buckle straps through the loop and it keeps the big O in nice and safe.
No, DAKINE isn't making high chairs.
Finally, we stapled the back cover pieces on (the part that I sewed together). You don't really notice the staples since they kind of blend in, but you can still see them in some places if you look hard.
Then Bryan held things tight while I screwed the seat and back pieces back onto the chair. And now it's done!
One of the things I really like about it is that I think it'll be just the right size for a toddler dinner chair so the big O can sit up to the table when she's bit enough, but we'll still be able to strap her in.
And, for better or worse, we won't get Cheerios and sweet potato puree stuck down in some little crevice in the back. It'll just be mashed into our floor or something instead.
Oh! Another major bonus is that this high chair folds up. I didn't take a picture, so you'll just have to trust me there.
Anyway, hooray! hooray! for our pretty, new highchair. It makes me happy just to look at. And, seriously, re-upholster something. It is so empowering.