For close to a year now I have been collecting materials to recover antique chairs to use in our dining room. I scoured thrift stores and Craig’s List to find the perfect antique chairs. Over a year and a half ago I found a solid wood table with three leaves, that can seat twelve, from a local thrift store. It is perfect but unfortunately did not come with any chairs, however, I cannot really complain since it only cost me $75!
Back to the chairs. As I was doing my research to see what materials I needed for this DIY I ran into a problem. I could not find one article that laid out the exact materials that I needed. Most would say a few materials that were needed but not specifics. As you can imagine I became very frustrated. Once I started to actually cut materials I decided to document everything so I could create an all-inclusive DIY blog post.
Side Note: Recovering chairs is NOT a cheap venture. You have to really WANT the rehab to spend the money. Also, as I was pulling my photos together for the before and after I was only able to find one before photo. I am so bummed I lost the rest. Trust me when I say the fabric was ugly!
Aside from needing actual chairs to recover, here are the materials I used to get the job done.
Electric Stapler (A manual staple will work, however, your hands will be killing you before you have finished the first cushion)
Hammer (To make sure all staples are flat and not sticking up)
1/2 inch Batting
1 inch Foam
Needle Nose Pliers (To remove staples that do not go in all the way)
Fabric (Make sure you purchase upholstery fabric)
1/2 inch Plywood
Flat Head Screw Driver (To remove staples that do not go in all the way)
First things first, make sure you have ALL your supplies before you start. If you have to stop the process while you are in the middle of everything you will just become frustrated.
Take off the existing seats and make sure all joints are sturdy. (Some of my chairs did not come with seats)
Condition the wood. The chairs I purchased were very dry and in desperate need of oil. I bought a product called Howard Feed-N-Wax Wood Polish & Conditioner. I tried Old English Oil but the wood was so dry it did not matter how many coats I applied.
Cut out seats from plywood. Use the existing seats as templates or you can use paper to create your own template if your chair did not come with a seat.
Clean the wood of any shavings.
Use new wood template to measure the foam.
Spray the adhesive onto plywood and press foam onto plywood.
Place plywood and foam on batting. Measure batting. There should be enough batting around the edges to just wrap over the edge of the plywood. (But only by about 1/2 inch)
Place plywood, foam, and batting on top of the wrong side of the fabric. Measure fabric. There should be enough fabric around the edges to wrap on top of plywood without the batting being in between the fabric and plywood. If the batting gets in between it is much harder to send the staples through all three layers.
Begin to staple. As you staple think “opposites”. Start with one corner, then the opposite corner, and so on till the corners are complete. Then one side and then the opposite side till all sides are complete. The reason for opposites is the allow the fabric to “pull” naturally. You do not want to go around the fabric in one direction because it will inevitably tighten in weird places. I did two rows or staples and off set the two rows. I felt like it made for a more secure fasten and held the fabric evenly.
Place the finished cushion to the chair and hold in place with screws.
Please share if you found this tutorial helpful and as always do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!