Reupholstering Chairs

After two years of living with these chairs:

I am happy to report that one of them has been successfully reupholstered!  A few weeks ago, I had given up on re-doing them myself & got permission from my husband to take them to a local upholstery shop.  I decided I should stain the the wood on the chairs first, since it was in pretty bad shape. 


After a quick sanding, I used a small paintbrush to cover the wood in one coat of Minwax Polyshades in Tudor with a satin sheen. 

Then, I called the upholstery shop & was told it would cost around $550 per chair!  Yikes!  Needless to say, after hearing the price tag, Mark came home from work & immediately started stripping the fabric off one of the chairs!  (You can see how nice & dark the wood is now in the photo below.)  We decided to work one chair at a time so we could use the other chair to reference how it had been upholstered.


When it came time to put on the new fabric (a 6’x9’ drop cloth) we started with the inside back.  We used the pieces we removed as a pattern & cut each piece out as we went. 

We folded the fabric back to prevent fraying & then put a nail in the middle of the top & worked our way out.  We had to pull the fabric through the sides & bottom & then stapled it to the back.  Next we used the same approach for the insides of the arms.


We then laid the fabric on the seat bottom & pulled the back through the crack (not sure what to call that!) & stapled it to the back.  We did the same thing to the sides.


To get a nice seam in the front, I cut a long strip of cardboard from a box of canned drinks.  With fabric folded underneath it, we stapled it to the bottom front of the chair & once we had the top part finished, we stapled it under the chair.  I’m pretty sure that doesn’t make sense, so here is the video we watched.  You’ll see him do it around 3:30.)


Next, we tackled the outside sides, which were fairly simple. 


The part that had us worried the most was the back, since we couldn’t just nail the back sides into the wood, since we weren’t going to cover that part in trim.  We ended up putting a few staples in the top, middle, of the back & working our way towards the side.  When we got close to the side, we used these upholstery tack strips to give us a nice, clean, staple free edge.  Before using them we watched this video to figure out how to use them.  It ended up being the easiest part of the entire chair!  (I’m just holding the tack strip up next to the finished chair so you can see where we held it.  Then we punctured the fabric & folded them 180 degrees away from the chair & nailed them in with a rubber mallet.)



The final strip was gluing on the trim.  Originally, the chairs had double welting around them, but I don’t have much patience with my sewing machine, so I just bought some trim instead.


I am so happy with how this turned out!


One more to go!  Mark is stripping the fabric off the other chair as we speak!  Hopefully, we’ll have a living room reveal soon!



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