Introduction: Reupholstering a Chair

About: I'm Happy

This Instructable will lead you through the steps of reupholstering a chair! hope you enjoy :)

Step 1: Find a Run Down, Old Chair

First things first, you have to find a chair that needs to be reupholstered. REALLY bad chairs are going to be the best because first, they will be cheaper, and second, it will be easier to tear the old fabric off. When finding a chair, makes sure that it is stable, or you are going to have to redo the frame, and that just isn't any fun at all.

Step 2: Get Materials

Materials!! SUPER important obviously, so here they are:

1. Chair

If you followed step 1, you should already have this, so check that off the list.

2. Batting

A twin size package of quilt batting should be enough

3. Scissors

4. Upholstery Fabric

I got about 3 yards of fabric for my chair, but this could vary

5. Staple Gun

6. LOTS of staples

7. Nail Remover

Probably the back end of your hammer

8. Burlap

1 yard should be enough. if the burlap on your chair is in good condition, then you DO NOT need to buy more

9. Braided trim

I got about 3 yards of trim for my chair, but this could vary

10. Hot Glue Gun, and Hot Glue

11. a roll of paper

to make pattern pieces with (could also use newspaper and some tape).

Step 3: Strip the Chair Down to the Frame

This is a pretty simple step. Just rip all the old fabric off the chair. Try to salvage the fabric pieces because they are going to be used to make the pattern pieces for the new fabric. Also, the chairs I redid had nails holding the fabric in place, and when I ripped the fabric off, there were still nails all over the frame of the chair. If your chair has nails in it, be sure to take the nails out before you start putting the new fabric on. This will make it easier later on (learned that the hard way). :)

Step 4: Salvage Anything You Can

When I was making my chairs, there were pieces of padding that I saved because they were not damaged at all. Also, there will probably be burlap on your chair, and if that is still good, it can definitely be reused (I reused the burlap on one of the chair i redid).

Step 5: Make Pattern Pieces

Use the old fabric pieces to make new patterns for your chair. Pretty simple. Just lay the fabric out, and cut the shape out. I suggest making the pattern pieces a little bit bigger than the fabric, just to be on the safe side. Some of the pattern pieces will have slits in them, so the fabric fits snugly around the frame, but I cut those out as i went, rather than before hand.

Step 6: Replace Burlap

If the burlap on your chair is reusable, you can skip this step....Okay, so the reason the burlap is there is to support the batting, and the batting is there to make the chair comfy, soooo THIS IS IMPORTANT. The burlap is going to cover the back of the chair, and the springs. A yard of burlap was enough to redo ONE chair. Just place the burlap on the chair bottom and cut the out line (make sure to cut the flaps, and not just a big rectangle). Use a staple gun to secure it in place. For the chair back, cut strips of burlap about 3 inches wide. the back is going to be woven. I staples the vertical pieces of burlap on first (the top and the bottom like in the picture). I then woven in the horizontal pieces of burlap and stapled them on both sides. MAKE SURE THE BURLAP ON THE BACK OF THE CHAIR IS TAUT.

Step 7: Put the Batting on the Chair

The batting is soo important because not only does it make the chair super comfy, it also protects the the fabric from getting worn out by the wooden frame. So yay for batting!! The batting is going to need to cover basically the whole chair. I used batting from an old comforter that I had, but since most people don't have old comforters laying around, any batting will do. just plain old batting that is used for sewing quilts ( you can get it at Walmart, or like any sewing store). a twin sized package of batting should be enough to reupholster one chair.

Anyway, two layers of batting on the armrests should be plush enough (look at the picture). the shapes on the arm rests are basically going to be three rectangular pieces. one on top(1), on near the inside of the chair(2), and one on the front side of the chair(3). there is also a place at the bottom of the chair that will need batting(4)...the numbers match the picture, just in case that confusing ;)

The reset of the batting won't be put on the chair until after the armrests get fabric, but you can go ahead an cut out the pieces. The seat and the chair back are going to have more layers of batting to make the chair more comfortable (i did 3 on the seat, and 4 on the chair back, but you can make it to your liking). Cutting the shapes for the back and seat are easy, just make sure you follow the shape of the chair :) (on the picture, i outlined the shape for you!!)

Step 8: Upholstering the Armrests

FINALLY, we get to put some pretty fabric on the chair. The armrest pieces are going to be rectangular shapes, and you will need two of them :) as you staple the fabric on, you will find that you have to cut slits into the fabric at some places so that it wraps around the wood correctly.

Start by stapling both sides of the fabric to the frame. The front part is easier, so I would start there. When doing the back side of the armrest, you are going to put the fabric through a gap (see picture) in the back of the chair, and wrap it around to the back side of the chair (see other picture haha), then staple it.

Once you have stapled both sides of the armrest, you can staple the top part. My chair had a support bar that I stapled the top part of the armrest to. make sure you fold the fabric over to make the seam look nice and professional (as shown in the picture).

Next, staple the bottom of the arm rest. There should be another support bar near the bottom of the arm rest that you can staple it to. Wrap the fabric around the bottom of the arm rest, and staple it to the arm rest. I made the mistake of stapling the bottom part of the armrest to the bottom of the chair frame. If you do this, you wont be able to staple the seat fabric to the chair frame, and that's a problem, so make sure you staple it to the armrest part of the frame, and not the bottom of the chair.

Do this for both arm rests.

Step 9: Upholstering the Seat Back

Next up is the back of the seat. The shape of the seat back is also going to be a big rectangle. You should have a pattern piece made based on the former pieces of fabric on your chair.

Fist things first, you need to put the batting on the chair back. I stapled it at the top of the chair, but nowhere else. You don't really need to staple it at all, but it helps hold the fabric in place, so you do not have to worry about it when you are putting the fabric on.

Staple the SIDES of the chair back first. I made the mistake of stapling the top first, but if you staple the top first, it messes up the chair when you are trying to make the corner seams (shown in picture). You will have to cut slits on the sides of the fabric, where it meets the arm rest.

When making the seam make sure the side fabric is tucked under the fabric on the top (like in the picture), then staple it to hold it in place. staple it as low as possible, because when you put the back of the chair on later, you will want to be able to cover the staple. Once you have the seams done on both sides, staple the rest of the top.

Once you have done the sides, and the top, do the bottom. make sure EVERYTHING is pulled really tights, so it looks good when you're done. Also, just like the arm rests, make sure you staple the bottom of the seat back to the support bar at the bottom of the seat frame, NOT the very bottom of the chair.

Step 10: Upholster the Seat

Next up is upholstering the seat. The pattern piece for the seat will also be a rectangle at first, with slits cut in it later.

Before you start stapling fabric onto the seat, don't forget to put the batting down. Staple the front of the est first. It will not go down to the bottom of the chair, because there is another place at the bottom of the chair that will go all the way to the bottom (see first picture).

you will need to cut a slit where the armrest is to make the "flap" of the seat. The rest of the side fabric will be tucked under the arm rest, and stapled to the frame. Be VERY careful when cutting the slits because if you cut them too far,you will be able to see the gap (i made that mistake on one of my chairs). Also, make sure yo cut with the grain of the fabric, and not accidentally diagonal.

I suggest stapling the back of the seat before you staple the sides, just to make sure everything is really tight. You will also have to cut slits in the back where the fabric meets the back of the armrests. Once the back is stapled, staple the sides, making sure everything is pulled taut.

Step 11: Finishing the Front of the Chair

Oh My! We're almost done!! the next parts are super easy :)

First off, you need to staple the bottom strip of fabric onto the bottom, front of the chair. It's super easy :) Just staple the fabric on (good sides together) and then fold the fabric down (that was confusing...look at the pictures). Once you fold the fabric down, staple the bottom of the fabric to the bottom of the chair (as in UNDERNEATH the chair).

Step 12: Finishing the Outer Sides of the Chair

Next up is to finish the armrests. The pieces will be rectangles.

Start by stapling the top of the piece to the chair, just like you did the front piece (good sides together...see picture), then flip it down, just like the front piece. Make sure the front side of the fabric is folded over to make a nice edge that won't fray. Staple that next. Don't worry about covering the staples because you are going to put trim on to cover them. After the front side is staples, staple the bottom. Staple the bottom of the fabric to the underside of the chair. Once those three sides are stapled, staple the back. You do not have to worry about folding this part over because the back will cover it.


Step 13: Finishing the Back

The last fabric piece! How exciting! This part is just like the sides and the front. First, staple the top of the fabric (good sides together). Just like on the armrests, make sure BOTH sides of the back are folded under so that the edges won't fray. Staple the sides. You do not have to worry about the staples showing because they will be covered with trim. Once you are done with the sides, staple the bottom to the under side of the chair.

Make sure you cut off ALL extra fabric from the bottom of the chair, so it doesn't hang down.

Step 14: Add the Trim

The trim is used to cover up all the staples that are showing. You are going to use hot glue to glue the trim in place. First you are going to go around the bottom front piece. One piece of trim will go on top of that piece, and one piece will go on bottom (see picture). The edges of the trim will be covered by the trim on the sides of the armrest, so do not glue it too far onto the side.

Next, you are going to do the sides. Start the sides at the top, at the back of the chair. The trim on the back will cover the trim from the sides, so do not glue the side trim too far onto the back. Take the side trim all the way around the side to the bottom near the back (see picture).

Last, but not least, gluing the trim on the back!! you're almost done!!! I just stared gluing the trim at a random spot on the back, and went all the way around with it.

Step 15: Enjoy Your Chair!!

Woohoo! You reupholstered a chair! Now you can enjoy it :)

One little side of the chairs in the pictures has pompoms at the bottom of it, and if you want pompoms, all you have to do is buy pompom trim at a craft store, and glue it to the underneath of the chair! yay

Hope you enjoy your chair :)

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