How to reupholster a chair seat (When you have no idea what you’re doing)

How to reupholster a chair seat (When you have no idea what you’re doing)

Have you ever wanted to know how to reupholster a chair seat but you have no idea what you’re doing. Yeah me too! I have never taken an upholstery class but I can do basic staple fabric around a seat jobs.

A couple weeks ago I found a chair sitting in the yard at Picket Fence Gals. It was completely naked. There was no upholster, no springs, nothing. The wood has been completely stripped too. Clearly this was going to be someone’s project.

The chair

She had good bones. Ordinarily, I would leave this piece for someone else to tackle but there was a storm approaching and I knew if someone didn’t buy this chair in the next few minutes it was going to be destroyed. So I bought it.

Or as I like to say, I rescued it! Don’t tell my husband.

First things first

She needed to be finished in some way. In my work that means paint.

Bright blue paint

I found this bright blue paint on the “oops” paint rack at my local hardware store. I love blue in any shade but this bright blue is so pretty!

After one coat of the oops paint I took it to the hubby’s shop and ended up spraying it with a spray paint that was the exact same blue. The only reason I changed was because I was in a hurry after leaving the project sit for a couple weeks it needed to get finished.

Finished painting

How to reupholster a chair seat

Now it’s time! Since as I’ve admitted I don’t know how to upholster. I know this should have springs, and webbing. None of which I have. So I decided to do what I’ve done in the past to benches that are like this chair and build a platform seat.

To do that I needed to create a template of the seat bed. Lucky for me the hubby had so transfer tape backing in the garbage that I could use to make my template.

transfer tape backing

The backing was larger than the chair so I used a share Exacto Knife to cut away the excess and cut the form I needed.

The finished seat template

Once I had the completed template it was time to cut out a piece of plywood. I used a half inch plywood to ensure that the seat would hold up. I didn’t want anything flimsy. No one is ending up on the ground on my watch!

Plywood seat bottom

You can see from the above photo that the plywood is slightly smaller than the seat and that was to accommodate setting the seat inside of the arms. I them used figure 8 clips to attach the plywood to the frame. They’re perfect for attaching table tops and things like seats to frames. So handy!

I cut a three inch piece of foam using the same template which was a mistake on my part, because as I said I had cut the template smaller to fit between the arms. Well I needed the foam to over flow through the arms.

Bad foam cut

As you can see above this left a gap under the arms. What’s a girl to do?

Fill the gap with fiber fill of course! I grabbed a bag of fiber fill that I keep on hand to stuff pillows that need a little lift.

Fiber fill added to the gap

Once the fiber fill was in place I pulled the cotton batting over it and it was perfectly filled.

Filled with fiber fill

I used fiber fill and filled in all around the seat. when I was finished I was very happy with the results. If I do this again I’ll remember to give myself more foam but I will keep fiber fill close by just in case.

Time for Fabric!

I had the perfect piece of upholstery fabric to match the blue. It was a beautiful yellow with the same color blue upholstery sample. The tricky part was the sample was only big enough to just fit the seat. There was literally no room for mistakes. And I don’t have a back up plan.

Stapling the fabric in place

The Gods of DIY were with me on this day! I stapled the fabric in the front first all along the edge that is made for the staples. You’ll know where to staple because it’s slightly indents from the rest of the frame. I them pulled the fabric tight and stapled in the back. Then I worked my way around to the sides.

The process for how to reupholster a chair seat is best described like wrapping a gift. Only instead of tape you’re using staples to hold it in place. Pull all around so there are no wrinkles in weird places. Tuck the fabric so it’s pretty and staple. Don’t worry about seeing staples, you’re going to cover them with gimp.

Finished stapling

There wasn’t too much excess to cut off. Just a little in the front and a little in the back. I took a sharp scissors and carefully cut what I didn’t want away.

Time for gimp

I got lucky a second time on this project. I ordered gimp from Etsy that “should” match when I saw it on my screen. With different screen resolutions this could have gone really wrong.

Gimp chosen for this seat

It could not have matched any better. It was exactly what I wanted. This is the boarder that covers the staples. so it need to be at least one inch wide to fit on this piece. I used a hot glue gun to attach the gimp all the way around the chair.

The Finished Reupholstered Chair Seat

The Finished Reupholstered Chair Seat

Overall I’m thrilled with how this chair turned out. A friend of mine described it as Scandinavian looking and I agree. The fabric was the perfect compliment to the blue. It’s bright and happy now. It’s getting a price tag and being sent to the shop!

I’m happy to share this trick for upholstering a chair seat (when you don’t know what you’re doing) with you. Now it’s your turn to share this post with your friends. We can’t keep this treasure to ourselves. I need your support to unleash this posts full potential. By sharing this blog post with your friends, family, and fellow DIY enthusiasts, you’re giving them the chance to unlock their creative prowess, elevate their upholstery skills, and transform their living spaces. Let’s spread the joy of DIY upholstery far and wide—hit that share button and let the DIY Upholstery revolution begin!

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