How to recover a seat !


As promised, I thought I would share with you how to recover a seat...I know it isn't rocket science, but perhaps some of you don't know just how easy this is (ahem, Kim) and would try it for yourself if you knew how to do it.

These are the tools we will need for the project:

  • Chairs
  • Fabric
  • Padding
  • Scissors
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Sharpie 
  • Screwdriver or drill
  • Pliers
  • Trash bag
  • double-stick tape or spray adhesive

This is how two of my chairs looked before ..Good bones, but ratty upholstery. I had two chairs with the golden seats and two others that were pretty similar, that had black cloth upholstery.  Black cloth not so good with two grey kitties.

Let's begin:

First, turn your chair upside down and using your drill or screwdriver, remove the screws from each corner.  This is what is attaching the seat to the base of the chair, as seen below.


Next, place your removed seat in a garbage bag and use your scissors to cut the current fabric off of the seat.  I cut around the edge of each seat, leaving the fabric that had been stapled to the seat still attached and the bulk of the seat in the garbage bag.  You can see above that I was working with two layers of old ugly fabric from previous owners.  I choose to do this step in the bag due to the padding had disintegrated into a very very fine powder (note the orange colored powder below). I wanted the padding out of there ASAP.  I found that when you are removing the staples, you fling some of this powder while yanking on the staples, it is less of a mess this way. Careful, don't stick your head in the bag so far as to suffocate!

Repeat this step for all four seats.

Next, remove your seat from the bag and begin the removal of your staples and the fabric that is still attached under the staples.  You will want to remove as many staples and the old fabric as possible.  I found needle nose pliers to work great, but any pliers will do. If you come across some really stubborn staples you could always use a hammer to flatten them down if needed.

Click below for more!

You should now be left with nothing but the wooden seats!  Roll out your foam, in this case I used 1" foam- I wanted a little cushy for the tushy. Position all of your seats on the foam and using your sharpie, trace around each seat transferring the shape of the seat to the foam.  Using your scissors, cut through the foam on the black lines.

You should now have four wood seats and four pieces of foam.  Using double stick tape or spray adhesive, attach your foam to the seat - making sure to note which side is up!  I didn't use any kind of adhesive, and had a hard time keeping the foam centered on the wood when I got to the next step. So this is a hindsight step added in to help you!

Next, arrange your foam covered seats on your fabric and again, use your spray adhesive or tape to affix the seat to the fabric.  This will be important if your design has lines (such as mine did) and you want to keep these lines straight.  Also, if your fabric has a pattern that you would like to be uniform on all four seats, note this when you are laying them out on the fabric so that all patterns are going the same direction.

You may notice that one of the pieces of foam says "black" this was because not all four of my seats were the same, but very similar. I needed to remember which seat fit on which base, so I just wrote it on the foam.  Perhaps if I ever pass these on and someone recovers them, they will find a surprise...haha.

Now you are ready to cut out the fabric!  Cut around each seat, leaving yourself about 4" allowance all the way around.  Next, grab your staple gun and go to town.  I found that pulling the fabric tight and doing one staple at North, South, East and West helped to make sure the fabric wasn't too tight in one direction and then I alternated sides and stapled all the way around.

When you arrive at each corner, overlap the fabric, but try to keep it smooth and not bunched.

After you have stapled all the way around, check for loose spots and feel free to always add more staples!!  Next, I trimmed up any extra fabric and tried to clear all of the pre-existing screw holes of any fabric.  Flip your masterpiece over and see how you've done!  


Re-attach your seats using a drill or screwdriver and (tada!) you have new seats!!

Good luck!


alexis said...

carolyn! very helpful. i am planning on doing this to my dining room chairs as soon as i find a good fabric. quick question: is it completely necessary to remove the old fabric and foam? can you not just staple over the old (as it sounds like some people did before you on your chairs)? what are the cons?
xoxo alexis

theblondemule said...

Busted! You know I'm still going to ask you to do this for me, right?

Carolyn said...

alexis: No, if you think the padding is still intact and you don't really care if the old upholstery is hiding under your new stuff, then go right ahead! If you are wanting to preserve the current fabric and don't want to use the spray adhesive, try the double stick tape method so that your new fabric won't move when you are trying to pull it tight.

CONS: Dust mites? Good luck!

Carolyn said...

Kim: How about we do it TOGETHER?? Team work! haha

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