Refurbishing a Chair




Hello fellow makers and flippers, in this instructable I am going to be showing you how I redid a chair so that it was house ready. This is my first Instructable and I wanted it to be something different than I normally make. I usually work with a lot electronics and building, so working with fabric is new for me (sanding and painting, not as much).

Step 1: Tools and Supplies

Supplies that you will need-


·Wood glue
·Your choice of spray paint, best idea to go for a paint and primer in one
(Optional - Wood putty)


·Your choice of fabric
·Project Foam (I had 1/2" and used two layers)
·Quilter's Polyester Batting (I used low loft)
·Staples for the staple gun

Tools that you will need-


·Electric sander and sand paper
·Wood Glue
·Rubber Mallet


·Staple gun

Step 2: Finding the Perfect Chair

To find my chair, I went over to my friendly neighborhood Restore, but another great place to find a chair that is inexpensive would be a flea market or possibly a rummage sale. I picked out this chair because I saw that it had great bones and just needed a little bit of love, but if you want a real challange, try going for something that may be missing a seat or looks ready to fall apart.

Step 3: Remove the Seat

The first step in fixing your chair is to remove the seat. Do this by unscrewing the screws that hold down the seat to the bottom of the chair. Then after that, if possible, remove the pieces that slide into the chair that the screws went through (this will make painting much easier).

Step 4: Regluing

Next, what you have to do is repair the parts of the chair that wobble and pull out. Do this by simply pulling the piece out from the chair, add wood glue around the whole piece and in the hole. I then reinsert the piece and used my rubber mallet to make sure that it was in nice and snug. Luckily I only had one piece of my chair that needed this, but make sure to do it to any piece that pulls out. I left it to dry over night before starting my next step.

Step 5: Sanding

This next step can be changed up a little bit, depending on what you what to do with your chair. I was just going to paint mine, so all I did was sand down the whole chair with 60 grit sand paper and made sure that all of the surfaces were smooth and free of abnormalities. I then went over certain areas with a higher grit to smooth them out even more and take out small chips or scratches. Another way to approach this is to strip all of the paint off completely if you want to stain the chair.

Step 6: Painting

The final thing that I needed to do for my chair frame was to paint it. I chose a brighter red spray paint because my house has many accents of red throughout it so the red makes this chair fit in perfectly. Remeber while painting to spray evenly to avoid dripping and more thin coats is better than less heavy coats. Whatever color that you choose to paint your chair will affect what fabric you choose for the seat, and vise versa.

Step 7: Removing the Old Seat Cover

This is the step to prepare the chair's seat to be reupholstering. I used a flat head screwdriver and a pliers to remove the staples from the wood. If you want you can just cut off the existing covering but I removed all of the staples because there were so many and I didn't wante the wood to have all of those still in it when I put the new fabric on. If your wood board is a complete mess with staples and/or nails all over I recommend tracing the board onto a new piece of wood and then cutting it out.

Step 8: Reupholstering the Seat - Foam

Through the whole reupholstering process remember not to cover up and lose the screw wholes on the board! This is the first step in reupholstering the seat. The part that makes the seat comfortable to sit on is the foam. I recommend using 1" of project foam for the most comfort, but I bought 1/2" project foam because it was a little cheaper and then all I did was double it up and use two layers of foam. First, you will need a Sharpie or something that will show up on the foam. I layed the wood base on top of the foam and traced it using my Sharpie. I then cut out the foam with a scissors. Make sure to cut the foam an 1/8" larger than the outline. I did my second layer of foam the same way. If you decide to buy 1" foam then make sure to only do one layer.

Step 9: Reupholstering the Seat - Batting

The next step in reupholstering the chair's seat is to do the batting. I used low loft batting but any kind should work. I spread the batting out and then placed the seat bottom on top of it and cut the batting so that it is 3-4" bigger all around than the seat bottom. I then placed the pieces of foam on top of the board and laid the batting over top of the foam, centering it. Next, I flipped everything over so that the batting is touching the ground and then it is the foam and on top is the board. Starting on one end, I pulled the batting up and stapled it about 1 and a 1/2" from the edge. Always do one side and then the opposite side so that it is pulled nice and tight. When doing the corners, I stapled them in like a fan so that there were no wrinkles in the corner. Finally, I trimmed all of the extra batting so that it looks nice and clean.

Step 10: Reupholstering the Seat - Fabric

This is the final step in reupholstering the chair's seat. You will need to pick a fabric that goes well with the color of your chair. I picked a fabric that had a sports magazine pattern on it because I really liked the look of the black and white fabric with the red chair and it was something unique. First, I placed my seat on the fabric and cut it out so that there was and extra 4-5" all the way around. Than, I made sure that the right side of the fabric was face down on the ground and centered my seat bottom on top of it, upside down. I pulled up on side of the fabric and stapled it once in the center and then pulled tightly on the opposite side and stapled once again in the center. Place each staple just above where the batting was cut off. I finished stapling each side, pulling the fabric each time so that it was nice and tight. Then stapled my corners in a kind of fan appearance so that there would be no wrinkles of bumps in my fabric on the rounded edge. Then I stapled the other sides the same way that I stapled the first two. This video is very helpful if you would like a visual to go along with my written part.

Step 11: Reassembling the Chair

Now that my chair is painted a nice red and that old seat is recovered with a new fabric, it is time to put it all back together. I put the parts the the chair screws into back in first. It will stay in better if you add some wood glue to the groove. Then, to finish off the whole chair, I put some glue where the seat goes on the chair, and then screwed it down. I hope you enjoyed my instructable and feel inspired to go out and redo something yourself.

Summer Fun Contest 2016

Participated in the
Summer Fun Contest 2016

Trash to Treasure Challenge

Participated in the
Trash to Treasure Challenge

Maker Olympics Contest 2016

Participated in the
Maker Olympics Contest 2016



    • Paint Challenge

      Paint Challenge
    • Sensors Contest

      Sensors Contest
    • Games Contest

      Games Contest

    4 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I had a chair that was terrible with the seat i hate i so much , i am gonna rebuild it thanks to you

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    That's awesome to hear, hope it goes well!


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you so much!