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How To Reupholster A Chair

by - Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Things are busy around here. But its a fun kind of busy for the most part so I like having many projects on the go. One thing I managed to strike of the To Do list was the other half of the UsedEverywhere project. I already showed you the two-tone desk makeover and here is the chair re-do.

How to Reupholster a Chair


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The chair was a pretty easy makeover candidate. Read below for the step by step tutorial.

The back rest and seat cushion were only attached to the frame with a few screws. After dismantling the chair, I hand painted the chair frame in three coats of Para Paints Optima Melamine paint in Fog (SR-27). This paint is durable and meant for use on cabinetry or furniture. 

Then I carefully deconstructed the cushions - removing all the staples and preserving the material so I could use it as a pattern for the new fabric. The old foam and batting had disintegrated so I had to replace that.

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I decided to use this snazzy Holland - Vapour fabric from TonicLiving.com. It had the right retro feel and would complement the shape of the chair.

I laid out the old fabric and traced it. The old fabric had been machine stitched with some upholstery thread on the corners but I decided just to fold and staple my corners instead so I had to revise the pattern somewhat. New foam on the back rest and cushion was held in place using some spray adhesive.

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And with the help of HandyMan I stapled the new fabric in place, trying to keep things nice and tight and the pattern centered. And here is the finished chair!

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DIY Chair Reupholstery

  1. Disassemble the chair by removing the screws which attach the chair seat and back to the chair frame.
  2. Give the frame a light sanding.
  3. Paint the frame with two coats of furniture paint. Lightly sand in between coats.
  4. Remove the fabric from the seat and back. Keep the old fabric to use as a pattern.
  5. Replace the foam and batting as required
  6. Use the old fabric and cut the chair cover out of the new fabric. If your fabric is patterned, ensure it is centered on the cover. Repeat for the chair back.
  7. Use spray foam to attach the foam and batting to the seat.
  8. Place the new fabric on top of the foam and batting. Turn the seat upside down and starting the centre of one side, staple the fabric to the seat. 
  9. Pull the fabric tight at the opposite side and place a staple in the middle. Repeat for the two remaining sides.
  10. Starting on one side, move from the centre out to the corners.
  11. Create crisp corners by folding bench corners
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The fabric really pops in person. I'm pretty happy with how it goes with the paint colour. I could have picked a darker paint, but lately I find I'm moving away from the greys so this muted greeny blue feels just right and fresh.

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I wish I could keep the chair but some lucky person is going to win it when UsedEverywhere gives it away at the Blissdom conference. If you're attending Blissdom, come say hi, I'll be at the UsedEverywhere booth on Oct. 20th.

Have you remade over any furniture lately? It always amazes me what a bit of paint and fabric can do!

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