When Curtis and I bought this 6 chair set off of craigslist (4 regular chairs and 2 captains chairs), I knew they would need to be reupholstered. While the floral isn’t terrible, it just wasn’t what I had envisioned for our dining room. I had also never reupholstered anything before — but I’ve stretched canvas, and I was almost a sculpture minor, so I feel pretty comfortable with tools and such.
Just a side note — while I’m sure any and all chairs can be reupholstered, the only reason I knew this was a DIY I could handle was that with these particular chairs, the upholstered seat is screwed on in each corner and easily comes off. I believe this is the case with most older upholstered chairs, but before you buy just anything, you might want to check.
So here are the basic tools you will need:
Staple Gun + staples (I ordered the Stanley Light Duty Staple Gun Kit and it was perfect)
1/2 yard Fabric per seat cushion
Fabric Scissors (or kitchen scissors – basically heavier duty than regular scissors)
Screw Driver/Drill or both
I went to JoAnn’s Fabrics and found an awesome grey fabric for the 4 table chairs, and a fun patterned fabric for the captains chairs, for a total of $35! I was honestly surprised by how awesome the fabrics were there, it was hard to narrow down to only 2!
Step 1: Unscrew the seats from the chairs
Pretty self explanatory, but just as a tip, be gentle when taking these old screws out —they’re going to need to go back in, so if you crack the wood, you might have a problem down the road.
Step 2: Cut fabric to size of seat cushion
I got 2 yards of fabric for the 4 seat cushions which gave me plenty of room to cut and position each seat properly. It can be a little different with patterns because you’re going to want to get the pattern lined up a certain way – so think about getting some extra fabric if that’s the case.
Step 3: Stretch and staple
Once your fabric is cut to size, you’re ready to go!
Another quick note — I reupholstered right on top of the previous fabric, which worked well for me, but I’m not sure if it’s proper technique. It might be worth looking up, or seeing how the texture of the 2 fabrics work on top of one another.
- So, position the seat in the middle of my allocated piece of fabric. Fold over one edge and pull tight.
- Staple about 1-2 inches from edge (follow the previous staple line if you can while avoiding existing staples).
- Pull and stretch the opposite side (ex. if you started on the top, now stretch from the bottom). At this point it is very important to stretch extremely tightly, this is how you get the nice tight surface of the seat.
If at any point you realize one of your sides is too loose, you can take the staples out and try again. This comes in handy for corners, they’re not the easiest! But honestly do what feels right with the fabric for corners, it doesn’t need to look great under the chair, but it should look good from the side, so find the way that works best for you.
Step 4: Get the chairs put pack together, and enjoy!
If you need additional information, this is a great photo tutorial.