How to reupholster a chair ~ DIY tips for covering a chair with fabric
When I was 12 I started working on a program for girls in our church called personal progress. It was a 6 year program and each year you worked on project and goals to better yourself in all areas of life. One of the projects I was suppose to do was to learn a new skill. My crazy little 12 year old mind came up with the idea to learn to reupholster a chair. My Mom being SUPER CRAFTY was willing to teach me. My Dad picked up this old metal chair at an auction for $2, it had a ripped mustard yellow vinyl seat and was in pretty bad shape.
Mom and I picked out some fabric, a new foam cushion and turned that mustard yellow hunk on junk, into what I thought was the prettiest chair on earth. I have had it ALL these years but a few years ago it found its way into the pile of “almost junk, but the hoarder in me can’t let it go” pile in the garage. It was once again, worn and out of date and the brass with pink rose print fabric was hot in the early 90′s (but so was Richard Simmons) but not any more. So this sad little chair sat unused for several years.
This week I decided to put my skills to work that my Mom had taught me so many years ago and pass them onto my kids and once again transform the chair. With a little spray paint and some new fabric this chair is cute as can be, and has now upgraded it address from the pile in the garage to my front room.
First step was to take the seat and back piece off the chair. A few simple screws and they popped right off. Next I sprayed the chair with an even coat of black spray paint. The kids helped me strip the old fabric off the boards, the padding was really worn so we took that off as well.
My kids helped me trace out a pattern on the new foam cushion and on the back side of the new fabric as well. I picked up a 1 inch foam pad at my local Home Fabrics store. I cut the foam pad to the exact size of the wood base, but I cut the fabric about 1 1/2 inches bigger to allow for room to wrap the seat. Once I got the foam cut to size I used hot glue to tack it to the wood seat.
I then placed the seat back and seat bottom foam side down onto the back side of the fabric. I started at the top and tacked the fabric onto the back of the seat board. I then went to the bottom, pulled the fabric snug and tacked it down, then did each one of the sides. So it was now tacked down on all 4 sides. You need to pull it tight so the front is nice and smooth and does not have any wrinkles or bumps in it. You can tack it down with short staples from a staple gun… but I just used hot glue since it is screwed into place as well. And that is what I used last time and it held just fine for 20 years LOL.
Once I got the seat back and the seat bottom covered I then covered a piece or poster board in the same shape as a cover. You put this on the back side so it has a nice finished look as well, it is a must have to the back board since you see it. But not needed for the bottom, but I put it on there anyway.
It is a rather simple process, each chair is a little different. But these basic tips will work for most basic chairs. If you do this I would recommend that you get a good sturdy upholstery fabric.