Home & Garden

How to reupholster a chair

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Home & Garden

How to reupholster a chair

Don't pass up that forlorn-looking chair at your local antiques store. Reupholstering is easy and adds a coordinated finish to your decor. Here's how to reupholster a chair:

Note: Instructions are for spring-cushion chair. If your chair does not have springs, not all steps will apply.

• Upholstery-weight fabric, 148 cm (60 in) wide. To determine how much fabric you'll need, use the old fabric piece as a guide. If there is no old piece, measure the width and length of the seat surface. If seat is round, treat it as a rectangle, measuring at the widest point. Add to this measurement the thickness of the polyester batting and foam. Allow extra if using patterned fabric.
• Burlap
• Jute webbing
• Twine
• Polyurethane foam (1 ½ in think, or thickness or original chair padding)
• Polyester quilt batting (5/8 in to 1 in thick)
• Piping cord
• Packing needle (curved upholsterer's needle)

• Staple remover
• Pliers
• Hammer
• Webbing stretcher (available at upholstery supply store for about $20)
• Staple gun
• Trimming knife or scissors
• Glue gun
• Tape measure

1. Remove old fabric, stuffing, webbing, tacks and staples; set aside springs to reuse.

2. Turn chair upside down. Measure and mark on frame positions of new webbing strips. Space between webbing strips should be a little less than width of webbing strip. Cut webbing strips to length, adding 6 in. When attaching webbing strips to frame, attach front-to-back strips first; then attach side-to-side strips, weaving over and under front-to-back strips. For each webbing strip, fold back 1 end of strip 1-1/2 in; staple strip to chair frame through folded end, stapling on angle for maximum strength. Fasten other end of webbing strip to spiked end of stretcher vertically against opposite side of chair frame. Using stretcher as a lever, stretch webbing strip taut by pulling stretcher down until it is horizontal to work surface. Staple webbing strip; fold back 1-1/2 in flab and staple again. Trim excess webbing. Continue with remaining strips of webbing.

3. Turn chair right side up; place springs, equally spaced and not more than 4 in apart, where webbing strips overlap. Using needle and twine, fasten each spring to webbing with 3 stitches looped around bottom coil. With twine, lash tops of coils to each other. Use staple gun to fasten twine to frame.

4. Cut burlap 4 in larger all around than surface of seat frame. Centre burlap over seat frame and staple to centre of back rail of seat frame, then pull burlap tightly over springs and staple at centre of front rail of seat frame. Pulling burlap tight, staple to centre of side rails. Starting at centres and working toward corners, staple burlap all around frame, pulling burlap taut as you go. Trim burlap to 1 in beyond seat frame; finger-press excess burlap up toward centre. Secure burlap to spring tops by stitching with needle and twine.

5. Cut polyurethane foam and polyester batting to size of seat frame. Cut fabric 5 in larger than stuffing material. Position foam and batting on burlap. Centre fabric on seat and staple at centre of outside face of back rail. Pull fabric firmly to pack down filling and staple at centre outside face of front rail. Repeat at side rails. Starting at centres, staple to within 4 in of corners, pulling down fabric firmly before stapling. At each front corner, fold in fullness to create pleat, then staple forcefully. Make a V-cut in fabric at each back corner. Fold under raw edges around backrest corners and staple to frame. Trim excess fabric.

6. Cover piping cord with fabric or purchase braided trim. Using hot glue gun, glue on piping to cover staples.

Find more great budget decor tips here!

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Home & Garden

How to reupholster a chair