Reupholster a Chair Cushion




About: I have been doing woodworking for about 7 years now. I had never worked with furniture before that. I can now use a lot of tools and can also use a laser engraver to create even more aesthetic works of art.

This is a beginner type re-upholstery instructable for the chairs that only have a single cushion that you sit on. I do not know how to use a sewing machine. All of this can be done with hand tools and each chair cushion can be done within an hour... from start to finish.




Staple Remover

Pair of Pliers (to help with the tough nails/staples)

Spray glue 77 or similar fabric adhesive.

Some Dacron type foam

1/2 inch foam (optional)

Upholstery Staples (about 1/2 inch or so)

Staple gun. (I have a pneumatic one, but a hand held one can be used)

The new Fabric

Dust Cover (for the underside of the chair)

Step 1: Remove the Old Fabric

You start with unscrewing the seat from the chair. In general, this is 4 screws on each corner of the chair that need to be removed. You can do this by flipping the chair upside down and you should b able to see the screws right away.

Then comes the tedious (and most time consuming part of this job) of removing the staples.

Be careful of those staples that break off rather than come fully out. They will be sharp. If I cannot get them out with my pliers, then I hammer them flat so they do not catch on the new fabric that you will put on (or your fingers).

Step 2: Add Foam and Padding

If the original cushion has little to no cushion I will add a 1/2 inch foam material.

I make the 1/2 inch foam the same size as the existing chair cushion. See photo, where I cut out the two back corners of the foam (as that is where the back comes up).

I add the foam by first applying a layer of adhesive on both the foam and the existing seat, then letting it sit for a minute or two to get a little tacky (read the instructions, as each adhesive could be a little different).

Then I add a dacron filter type material to add a little more cushion and to help with smoothing the final lines when I put the new fabric on.

I attach this in the same way, with the adhesive. And once tacky, I stick them together and fold the sides over the bottom. On this particular chair I had to cut out the same section as I did with the foam (due to the back of the chair) and also cut the front corners diagonal (so that they do not overlap when stapling it all together).

I do not staple anything to the top of the chair. This could possibly be uncomfortable in the future, when sitting on it.

Step 3: Add the New Fabric

At this point I have the fabric ready to go. It is also big enough for me to staple to the underside of the chair.

You have to be particularly cautious around the corners as they tend to bunch up and have a lot of wrinkles. I resolve this by pulling all the fabric in the corners tight and then stapling it while I am holding it.

Once completed with all four sides of stapling, then I cut off all the extra fabric that will only bunch up and look a bit unsightly.

Step 4: Bottom Side of the Chair Cushion

The next step is to use a "dust cover" to cover the bottom of the chair. This is a thin black material that prevents any droppings from the chair (such as foam bits) to fall to the floor.

I just placed it over all the unsightly folds and staples and just stapled it on

This fabric is just a cosmetic cover really.

Step 5: Completion

This is what the reupholstered cushion looks like.

Then I attached it to the chair and it looks brand new.

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    9 Discussions


    2 days ago

    Hi Trisha! Great work!

    Hey, I did our kitchenette chairs a few years back. I used the heaviest-duty carpet padding I could find and did a double-layer under the fabric. Worked great. When you sit, you don't bottom out - so to speak. %) Very inexpensive to buy a few feet.

    Also, for my daughter, whom wipes her hands on everything, I added a plastic cover. Removed it a few years later by just pulling it off.

    Thanks for the instructable!

    1 reply

    2 days ago

    My father was a tradaitional upholsterer by trade and I learnt from him.
    Staples were never used. He would grab a handful of tacks and store them in his mouth, then feed them one at a time to a magnetic hammer.
    I covered loose seats for pocket money. A loose seat has a frame, webbing, calico or scrim or hessian, stuffing and a cover.
    The key tool was the webbing stretcher, either pliers looking like a hammerhead shark, or a flat piece of timber with a slot to lever the webbing tight.
    The stuffing was horsehair and he had a fearsome machine called a carding machine that you fed with horsehair mattresses and stuffing came out the other end.
    The difference was that he worked with centuries old furniture where only traditional methods and materials were appropriate.
    However, your demonstration shows nicely that with care, it's not so difficult to fix your own chairs.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 days ago

    That is interesting about your fathers work. Thank you for your compliment.


    2 days ago

    Very nice. Gonna give it a shot for my aging dining set.


    2 days ago

    Nice instructable! I've got a couple of questions about finishing up:
    Did you have any bunching of the "dustcover" when you screwed it back onto the chair? If so, how did you deal with that and what would you do to prevent it in the future?

    1 reply

    Reply 2 days ago

    Hi David, I did not have that problem on this chair. But I do know what you are talking about. I have found that pulling the dust cover tight helps to prevent that. If it is loose then the screw tends to snag And pull. You could also add a few staples to the area where you will be putting the screw to help hold the fabric in place. I have not tried that last one, but it might help.


    18 days ago

    I was just looking up information on how to redo my chairs in my kitchen and I seen this in the one hour challenge... Thanks!

    1 reply

    Reply 18 days ago

    You're welcome. Glad I could assist you. Let me know if you run into any snags.