Being Fiercely Frugal runs in the Savage family. This week’s post is about how our cousin Jeanie resurrected four gorgeous chairs that her cat mistook for scratching posts.
It really wasn’t the cat’s fault. (Jennifer and I are such feline aficionados that we’ll look hard and long to give a kitty the benefit of the doubt.) In this case, the problem was a scratching post that was falling apart so badly the cat wouldn’t use it anymore. The cat figured the next best thing was to use four new overstuffed armchairs sitting in front of a brick fireplace. As soon as Jeanie realized it, she covered up the chairs, placed barriers at the scratched corners, and puzzled about what had gotten into her normally good cat. When she discovered the scratching-post problem, she had it repaired, but the damage to the chairs remained.
The chairs were upholstered in synthetic leather fabric (aka “pleather”). Each claw attack had punctured a hole and also pulled some of the backing out, leaving tufts of stringy white material. The corners were particularly bad.
“I tried pulling out the stringy material but it just kept coming,” she said. “I tried shaving it off with assorted blades, but it removed the finish without cutting off the strings. Scissors wouldn’t cut close enough. I finally hit on using toenail clippers. Perfect! I spent a lot of time clipping, but it got the job done.”
Next she had to smooth out the raised edges of each puncture. Heat seemed like the answer, but she wanted to avoid melting and flattening the pleather’s texture. Burlap and a steam iron did the trick. She used two layers of burlap over the damaged areas to protect the pleather from too much heat. Then she used a very hot iron with lots of steam and plenty of pressure. That flattened the raised edges and covered bits of the strings that remained but left a texture that blended in with the surrounding areas.
The next problem was some dark coloring and bits of white where each puncture had been. Jeanie mixed acrylic craft paint with some fabric paint in various colors until she matched the fabric’s red color. After applying a coat of paint, she let it dry slightly and then placed the burlap over the area again and ironed it with steam and good pressure to maintain the leathery texture. The worst spots required a second coat of paint and more texturing.
The repair turned out so well that even Jeanie can’t find where most of the original damage had been. She’s ecstatic. “I hope this can help someone else with a similar problem,” she told us.
We hope so, too. Now go check your cat’s scratching post.
Written by Fiercely Frugal Savage Sister Diana
Photos by Jeannette Savage Christenson
© 2009, The Savage Sisters