How to Reupholster a Dining Chair- The Easy Way
I little while ago, I purchased a french provincial dining set on Craigslist containing six cane back chairs, a dining table and a hutch. I plan on sewing cute little slipcovers for each of the chairs alla Miss Mustard Seed which you can read about here, but in the meantime I wanted to show all of my readers how EASY it is to recover/reupholster dining room chairs. My method allows you to remove the nasty, probably stinky, old fabric WITHOUT wasting all of your precious time removing 1,000 staples (yes, you can thank me now).
This project is particularly good for BEGINNERS at upholstery.
-Dining chairs with seat cushions that are removable
-Upholstery or Home Decor fabric of your choice (I used this Nate Berkus fabric that I got 50% off)
-Heavy duty staple gun or pneumatic staple gun (I use this one)
-Staples (I used Arrow T50 5/16″ 8mm)
-Low loft batting (I used this)
– Needle nose pliers (to remove staples)
-Flat head screwdriver (to remove staples)
-Philips-head screwdriver or drill
-Ziploc bag for saving screws
**This project is for dining chairs with removable seat cushions. Typically the seat cushions are attached with four screws underneath the frame.
Please don’t be intimidated by the length of this tutorial, I wanted to make sure I provided detail regarding each step so that even a beginner at upholstery can do this project.
- Turn your chair over and using a drill or philips-head screwdriver, remove the screws from the underside of the chair. Place the screws in the ziploc bag for safe-keeping, believe me you don’t want to lose them! Remove seat cushion from chair frame.
If you are re-painting your chairs, do this step prior to reupholstering your seat. My chair was sanded down and painted in Annie Sloan’s Old White Chalk Paint. (You can see why I am ripping off this hideously stained fabric…it’s just NASTY!!)
2. Flip your seat cushion over and using your flat head screwdriver and your needle-nose pliers, carefully start removing a few staples in the middle back section of the seat. Make sure your free hand is not in the crossfire so that if your screwdriver slips, you won’t get cut (I am speaking from experience here). You are just removing enough staples to get your scissors up underneath the fabric. (I am using a special tool designed for this type of thing, but you can just use a flat head screwdriver)
3. Once you have removed just enough staples to loosen up the fabric, insert your scissors and start cutting the fabric down towards the main section of fabric (the top of the cushion). Be careful not to cut any of the batting or foam.
4. Flip your cushion over so that the top is facing up and start cutting down the middle of the cushion, cutting the fabric only.
5. Once you have completely cut the fabric down the middle you can peal the fabric off the top of the cushion (although it will still be attached to the bottom of the frame via the 1,000 staples).
6. At this point, you are going to be cutting all of the fabric off the frame, moving along the base of the seat cushion. The only fabric that should be left attached, is the part that is stapled to the bottom of the frame. This way you remove the old, nasty fabric without spending the time to remove 1,000 staples!
7. So when all of the fabric has been cut off the frame, it should look like this.
8. You are left with all of the foam/batting intact…ready for some fresh fabric.
9. Next you are going to wrap the seat cushion in some low-loft batting to smooth out the old foam and give the seat a nice shape. If your foam is in bad condition, you can replace it or add a few extra layers of batting. Wrap and staple the batting to the bottom of the frame, pulling fairly tightly. Trim off any excess batting.
10. This is what it should look like when your done. The batting should be nice and smooth without any wrinkles.
11. Lay out the new fabric, wrong side facing up. Place your seat cushion facing down on the fabric. Cut out the fabric using the shape of the seat frame as a pattern, leaving a generous amount of fabric on all sides for wrapping and stapling the fabric to the frame (a good 6-7 inches depending on the thickness of the foam and batting).
12. Make sure you fabric pattern is lined up and straight, then pull the fabric tightly and staple it to the frame. A tip that I learned from watching upholstery videos on Youtube, is to make sure to grip the fabric like this so that there is nice even tension and you don’t get puckering in the fabric.
13. First I put six or so staples in the front center of the frame, then I put some staples in the back center. Next I put a few staples in each side of the frame. I leave the corners free because those will be stapled last.
14. This is what your corners should look before you finish them.
15. To get a nice neat corner, you are going to pull the middle of the fabric tight and staple it to the frame.
16. Next you are going staple the excess fabric on the right to the frame, pulling it over the middle section on a diagonal.
17. Then staple the left side in the same manner.
18. This is what your finished corner should look like.
19. Once all the fabric has been stapled and secured, trim off any extra fabric. Re-attach the seat cushion to the chair using the screws that you saved in your Ziploc bag. And you are done! Give yourself a big pat on the back because you just finished your first upholstery project!
I am linking this post up to these amazing blogs:
58 Water Street
Chic on a Shoestring
Funky Junk Interiors
Cedar Hill Farmhouse
The Curator’s Collection
Cupcakes and Crinoline
Live Randomly Simple
DIY Show Off
The Turquoise Home
Liz On Call
Elizabeth & Co.
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