We've been collecting a particular style of blackwood dining chair one at a time for the past couple of years. They all had mismatched upholstery that was damaged and worn so it was time to do something about it. While they all matched in style, they couldn't all be reupholstered the same way.
The way the chairs differed was that on some chairs the seat base was removable but the others were fixed. The seats that did pop out were quite simple to reupholster but the ones that didn't were a bit tricky.
What You Need
Heavy weight or upholstery fabric
Staple gun & staples
Hot glue gun & sticks
Chair Style A - Removable Seat
1. Make any structural repairs to the chair. Our chairs needed some re-gluing around the joints
2. Pop out the seat from the chair and remove the existing layers of fabric. We only remove the first layer as the 2nd layer appeared to be keeping most the seat together!
3. Cut the wadding so it’s the same size as the seat base then cut fabric about 4 inches wider than seat base.
4. Place the fabric pattern side down, the wadding on top and then the chair base onto of them both. Using a staple gun, staple the fabric in to the center of your first side. Carefully stretch your fabric around the seat until it’s firm [but not so tight that it’s stressing the fabric] and staple on the opposite side. Repeat the steps for the remaining sides.
5. Return to the first side and staple either side of the first staple, repeat on the other sides. Continue to staple outward on each side until you reach an inch before the corners
6. For the corners make a fold which suits your chair style best. For us we approached it like wrapping a present and pulled the sides of the fold in to make it nice and tight.
7. Take the calico and cut it to a similar size as the seat. Iron a fold all around to create a crisp edge so that the calico is just smaller than the seat.
8. Using the same method as stapling the upholstery fabric staple the calico to the first side then repeat on the remaining sides.
9. Pop the base back in the chair. Chair done!
Chair Style B
1. Make any structural repairs to the chair. Again our chairs needed some gluing around the joints
2. Remove the existing layers of fabric. We removed everything down to the base fabric that was holding the springs in the seat.
3. Cut the wadding so it’s the same size as the seat base then cut fabric about 2 inches wider than seat base. We used 2 layers of thick wadding to give the seat a better shape.
4. Place the wadding on top of the seat and then the fabric. On the front side, fold the fabric under its self and using a staple gun, staple the fabric to the chair. Again, fold the fabric and carefully stretch it until it’s firm [but not so tight that it’s stressing the fabric] and staple on the opposite side. Repeat the steps for the remaining sides.
5. Staple the full length of the front side till just before the corner. Fold the fabric on both sides to create a tight corner and staple to the corner. Continue to staple around the corner, heading for the back of the chair until you reach the original staple on that side. At this point the fabric may have gathered, if that is the case remove the first staple, reposition the fabric and re-staple. Repeat these steps on the opposite corner.
6. Now staple the fabric the full length of the back of the chair until just before the corners. Fold the corners tight and staple. Easier said than done, we know, but you'll get there with a bit of patience. Time to hide those ugly staples.
7. Starting with the trim pressed against the back of the chair, run hot glue along the line of the staples starting an inch away from the back of the chair. Press the trim into place and be careful- the hot glue can seep through the trim. Once you have run the trim all the way around the seat, cut the trim so that the end is hidden under the starting point.
8. Chair finished!
Additional Notes: We made things a bit tricky for ourselves by choosing a heavy weight vintage fabric but it was worth the extra effort. Also, we highly recommend having a helper while doing this project- at times you just won’t have enough hands!
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(Images: Jenny Butler)