Recovering a Dining Chair

A step-by-step guide to recovering a dining room chair.
Recovering a dining room chair isn't as hard as you might think. With a few basic supplies and some creative how-to, you can turn an old, lifeless dining room chair into a new statement piece. Here's how:
Tools you will need:
  • Staple gun
  • Screwdriver
  • Measuring tape
  • Marking pen/pencil
  • Hammer
1. Turn the chair over and remove the screws in order to remove the seat section from the chair base. Tip: To avoid losing your chair screws, tape them together.
2. Remove the lining piece from the bottom of the chair. Set this piece aside for now as it will be used to create a new lining piece later.
3. Refinish your chair, if needed. Sand down your chair with coarse sandpaper and then a finer one. Apply light coats of stain until the desired colour is achieved.
4. Make a template for the seat fabric. Measure from the back of the chair all the way to the front making sure to include an extra inch on each side past the existing fabric. Next, measure from side to side across the front section of the chair, again adding an extra inch on each side. Repeat this side to side measurement across the back of the chair.
5. Using the measurements you just took in Step 4, create a template for your new seat fabric. Don't worry if the template looks quite square while your seat shape is more rounded. This extra fabric is needed to properly cover the chair.
6. Once you have your template, you can figure out how much fabric you need to recover your chair(s). Tip: take your template with you to the store to ensure you purchase enough fabric.
Note: you may need to take into consideration the pattern of your fabric. If you have a large motif that you wish to centre on the seat or an obvious pattern you will want to make sure you purchase enough fabric to cut your fabric the way you would like.
7. Place your template on your fabric and cut it out. If your fabric has an obvious stripe in it, be sure to cut it so the stripe is perfectly straight along the edge of your piece.
8. Find the centre front of your fabric. This can be down by folding your fabric in half and marking the fold with a pin. On the chair, measure across the front of the seat and mark the centre point in pencil. Repeat this marking process for the centre back of the chair and your fabric piece.
9. Line up the centre front of your fabric with the centre front of your seat piece. Use a few staples to hold this section in place. Repeat this process for the centre back of the seat.
10. Now wrap the fabric over one side and apply a few staples along the centre of the piece. Repeat this process on the other side.
11. Now it's time to secure the corners. Pull the corner taut and staple it down. Then, working from the outside toward the centre of the corner, pull the fabric taut and staple it down. Finish one side completely before starting to work on the other side of the corner. Repeat this same process for the other three corners.
12. If the staples didn't go in as far as you would like, you can hammer them in now. Trim the excess fabric close to your staples.
13. Take your old lining piece and place it over your new lining fabric. For our project, we chose to use a sew-in pellon interfacing fabric. Trace and cut out your lining piece. Staple your lining piece in place making sure to cover the raw edges of your seat fabric.
14. Reattach the seat to the base of your chair.
Congratulations on completing your chair!

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