PULL IT PUNCH IT AND NAIL IT

A clever way to up­cy­cle bat­tered fur­ni­ture is to ad­min­is­ter a makeover with a sta­ple gun, ad­vises Kya deLongchamps

Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - DIY -

IF you en­joy mess­ing around with craft­work and hobby DIY projects, a sta­ple gun could prove to be your all time best buy. Sta­ples can hold ev­ery­thing from up­hol­stery fab­ric to win­dow dress­ings, and join a va­ri­ety of ma­te­ri­als used all over the house.

DIS­CREET STITCHES: The greater the power of the gun, the heav­ier the sta­ple and sup­port­ing ma­te­ri­als it can han­dle, but for most am­a­teur crafters, a man­ual or elec­tric model is suf­fi­cient. Leave the pneu­mat­ics to the gnarled trades­man. Sta­ples ap­pear as lit­tle me­tal stitches and you don’t want them on show. When se­cur­ing ma­te­ri­als on dec­o­ra­tive pieces, think about ways of hid­ing them ei­ther on the un­der­side of the piece, en­folded in drapes of fab­ric or set un­der an­other fin­ish­ing ma­te­rial such as a trim.

CHOICE: Man­ual guns op­er­ate with a pull or push of the han­dle. A push han­dle goes with the ac­tion of driv­ing sta­ples down into the sur­face and, as your weight’s be­hind it, it’s eas­ier to op­er­ate. For­ward placed han­dles put the pres­sure over the ac­tion rather than be­hind it, so look for push mod­els with a for­ward de­sign. Light guns tak­ing 4-14mm sta­ples and start from as lit­tle as € 10 for a Stan­ley Sharp­shooter. If you have a lot of work to do, a light­weight elec­tric model with a sin­gle shot trig­ger at € 30-€40 will save a lot of ef­fort fight­ing the re­coil of the gun, han­dling heav­ier sta­ples, denser ma­te­ri­als, and per­form­ing heavy duty join­ing.

STA­PLER/NAIL­ERS: Sta­ple and nails (brads) can be com­bined in the one unit, ideal for se­ri­ous en­thu­si­asts and of­fer­ing the ex­tra welly of nails for DIY ad­ven­tures — car­pet un­der­lay for ex­am­ple. Try the Tac­wise 53EL at € 38 from Handy Hard­ware, a lovely light­weight sta­ple/ brad gun for home use. www.handy­hard­ware.ie.

An elec­tric guide light in LED and anti-jam­ming de­signs will add an­other € 20 to a base line gun. If you want to nail up wiring, a wire guide must be in­cluded in the pack­age or in­vest in a sep­a­rate ca­ble tacker for 9-14mm ‘curved-crown’ sta­ples.

The elec­tric ver­sion of the Stan­ley Sharp­shooter is a se­ri­ous weapon and in­cludes a wiring fa­cil­ity plus sta­ples and brads.

SAFETY. What­ever elec­tric gun you choose, en­sure it has an ON/OFF switch or a trig­ger safety lock to al­low you to make it safe be­tween fir­ings. Chil­dren find the pop­ping noise of a sta­pler com­pletely fas­ci­nat­ing and may at­tempt to fix a sib­ling di­rectly to the floor be­tween the webs of the feet. Re­mov­ing sta­ples is the per­fect way to split open your fin­ger tips. Use a ded­i­cated flat-topped pin­cers or a ded­i­cated pris­ing tool for ex­ten­sive work such as the Draper 43275 Heavy Duty Sta­ple Re­mover. € 6 at any large DIY out­let. Never fire the gun un­less the base place is against your work­ing sur­face.

FIVE STARTER PROJECTS FOR A LIGHT­WEIGHT STA­PLE GUN. If you don’t have a gun, any of th­ese projects can be car­ried out with a small tack ham­mer (look for a nice dainty head) and small up­hol­stery tacks (mind your fin­gers).

Re-cover drop-in seat din­ing chairs:

This is the sim­plest pro­ject of all, es­pe­cially if the seats have suf­fi­cient pad­ding still in good con­di­tion. Sim­ply cut your new fab­ric to size, in­clud­ing ex­cess to stretch over the old cov­ers and sta­ple in po­si­tion on the un­der­side of the pad. Choose fab­ric that’s suf­fi­ciently opaque to blind out the old one, is stain re­sis­tant, and doesn’t bulk up too much or the seats won’t sit nicely back into the chair frames. Even vin­tage dress ma­te­rial will work well. As with most fab­ric projects, an ex­tra pair of hands to pull into place re­ally helps.

Cov­ered Shelv­ing and more.

A quick fash­ion fix, shelv­ing can be painted, pa­pered and yes wrapped com­pletely with a light fab­ric. The key thing is to hide the long­est sta­pled po­si­tion at the re­verse edge, so a blocky thick shelf is ideal. If you want to add stain re­sis­tance and a tighter fit, de­coupage medium (a thin form of PVA) can be brushed onto the fab­ric to seal it. Sand the shelv­ing first to give your­self some grip be­tween the fab­ric and the sur­face. Leave an ex­cess of at least 3cm to your fab­ric mea­sure­ments and iron folded seams for a per­fect fin­ish when you sta­ple.

Gor­geous Memo Boards.

A large cork board can be quickly cov­ered with ma­te­rial sta­pled on the re­verse. To add in­ter­est, mea­sure care­fully, mark up and add a trel­lis for let­ters with rib­bon se­cured where the lines crosses with dec­o­ra­tive brass tacks. Hold the rib­bon ends with sta­ples be­hind the board or tack where the board meets the frame. Leav­ing ex­tra ma­te­rial and then sta­pling you can trim back the ex­cess while hav­ing a good hand­ful of ma­te­rial to hold.

Craft a home­work ta­ble.

Take any old ta­ble at a good height for home­work or crafts. Check it for sta­bil­ity and re-screw or tighten joints where needed. Paint up the legs and skirt, and sta­ple a brightly coloured com­ple­men­tary oil-cloth (avail­able by the me­tre at any good DIY or fab­ric out­let). Use the ta­ble edges to hide the sta­pled edges. The oil­cloth is easy to wipe down and de­signs cover post war

chintz to fresh cheques and retro mo­tifs.

Up-cy­cle a head­board.

Make one, re­fresh one — a head­board is an ideal ad­ven­ture for a starter as there’s lots of room to pull the ma­te­rial be­hind to be hid­den at the rear. As with most fab­ric projects an ex­tra pair of hands to pull swathes of ma­te­rial into place re­ally helps. If the orig­i­nal fab­ric and pad­ding is clean and flat, just cover what’s there. If you’re us­ing new bat­ting, fold it gen­er­ously (10cm plus) over the edges of the board to the back and sta­ple in place, us­ing a spray ad­he­sive to hold it in place as you work.

Up­hol­ster­ing a panel can add in­ter­est in any room. Here, a cen­tral panel is used to add colour to a fairly min­i­mal bed­room and plays off the wal­nut shelv­ing.

This ot­toman was made from pal­lets, cut to size, had re­cy­cled legs af­fixed and was cov­ered in bat­ting, (up­hol­stery stuff­ing), be­fore a fi­nal, fab­ric fin­ish is sta­pled on top.

A cof­fee ta­ble bench — use an bat­tered and stained ta­ble, cover with foam and up­hol­ster in fab­ric us­ing a sta­ple gun.

Cov­er­ing a di­van bed to freshen up the fab­ric and to give a cheap but ef­fec­tive fin­ish.

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