maryboo (carryboo) wrote,


chair1My friend gave me two kitchen chairs for free about three years ago, and they have been great for sitting on ever since. But with cat claws and lots of use, they have really fallen apart. Ewww, look how gross.

So I got the bright idea to reupholster them. I got two yards of canvas fabric at on sale, and figured I'd learn as I did it. And it was really easy! Granted, I did it as lazily as possible, but hey, they turned out great on the cheap. If you ever wanted to see how to do it yourself, here goes.

You'll need a chair, fabric, a screwdriver, a sewing machine, a staple gun, and a buddy.

chair2First, figure out how to take apart your chair.

chair3See, this was really an easy chair to take apart. All the screws are in obvious places.

chair3.5Don't lose your screws. Or the frame of the chair.

chair4I laid down the back cushion on my fabric, estimated how much I'd need, and cut that amount.

chair5I folded the fabric over the back with the wrong side facing out. So, the top of the back is where the fabric folds, leaving open the sides and the bottom. I pinned the sides tight around the cushion, leaving the bottom open.

chair6Pin both sides closed, snug around the cushion, and carefully remove the fabric. Normally you might pin perpendicular to the direction you're going to sew to make taking the pins out easier, but in this case, I wanted this to be as snug as possible, and also this might be one of those lazy moments, so I pinned exactly where I was planning on sewing.

chair7See here how I would take out each pin and sew about where the pin had been.

chair8Once both sides are sewn, slip the fabric, still inside-out, back onto the cushion to make sure it fits well. If not, back to the sewing machine!

chair9Cut off the excess fabric on the sewn sides, then turn it right-side-out and slip it back onto the cushion. You might want to poke holes into the fabric where the screws will go. I didn't--screwing it back together later was fine without holes.

chair10Check out how your cushion was put together. I saw that if I tried to take off the existing fabric, the padding would come off with it, so I opted to put the new fabric right over the old. Leaving it on, I had a good guide for how to staple the new fabric on, but had to be careful not to hit the old staples. Well, sorta careful. This is the bottom of the back, so exposed staples are okay, since no one will ever see them.

chair11Corners of everything are tricky, aren't they? Fold down the shorter edge of your fabric and staple it down at the corners of both sides. Take the opposite, and longer (I didn't make any measurements, I just left long edges and cut one a little shorter after I turned it right-side out), edge of your fabric, fold it down for a clean seam, and staple that down carefully. Having a buddy help you here will be good. Please don't staple yourself.

chair12Staple that whole seam edge shut. You're halfway done! Put this cushion aside for later when you're putting the chair back together.

chair13Okay, now the seat cushion. Again, this is all estimation. Lazy lazy lazy. If you're smart, you'll be more precise and not waste too much fabric, but not me man. And another again, check out how the chair is already put together. This part is all staples, baby, no sewing. So carefully and on a sturdy surface that you can get above, and with the help of a buddy if possible, start to staple your fabric to the cushion. Staple a few staples in the middle of the edge on one side, then the opposite side, pulling taught. Then staple a couple down on the third side, then the fourth. Don't staple the entire length yet, not until after you do the corners. And don't pull too tight, or you'll tear the fabric. Be careful not to staple over the holes for the screws!

chair14Okay, corners. Tricky, naturally. You pull the fabric over the edge of the corner and staple that down. Then you neatly fold the sides over that, and staple them down.

chair15Just be careful to get some neat (well, semi-neat) lines on the sides of the cushion, which people will actually see.

chair16Staple all around the edge now.

chair17Cut off the excess fabric, and then staple the inside edge that's leftover to the inner part of the seat. Remember that the only person that is going to see this is your cat, and she is not a stickler for neatness.

chair18Put the chair back together. This was tougher than taking it apart for some reason, and I asked Strong Dave for help. He tried and still it was hard. Then he said, "Why aren't you just using the electric screwdriver?" See why it helps to have a buddy around?

chair19Presto! New chair!

One step I skipped was ironing the fabric (lazy, remember?), which is funny because look at how the ironing board was totally right next to me through the whole process, mocking me. Whatever, ironing board, the fabric will get smooth from all the butts sitting on it.

Now, to do the couch...


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