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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

DIY - Chair Covers

This is a super easy afternoon project!  I'm not sure why upholstery seems so scary... But here are some tips and tricks to make this easy!

This is my dinning room set - a nice blond table and four chairs - with a very boring seat cover.  They never really bothered me before and they have really held up well since my parents bought me this set when I first moved out on my own.  But since my mom was coming for the day and we wanted a craft project - I started thinking about re-covering these to spruce up my apartment a bit!

1). Take apart your existing chair and measure front to back and side to side to get an estimate on how much fabric you will need.  This is important and measure twice!!  These seats were roughly 30x30 - with a generous amount for extra. Most upholstery fabrics are 58 inches wide so we figured two yards would get us by and have a little left over.

2). You can find upholstery fabric at most fabric stores and maybe some craft stores.  It's important to use specifically upholstery fabric because of the weight of the fabric and the tighter weave.  If your chair isn't going to get much use or is more decorative - then regular fabric could work, but you should really use upholstery just to be safe and prevent extra wear and tear.  

Some essentials you will need::
-upholstery fabric
-a good scissors 
-tape measure
-pen or pencil for markings
-a REALLY good staple gun (this took two purchases for us to figure out!)
-staples (more than you think)

*some of this you may have lying around the house, but if you're out buying fabric you might as well pick up the essentials.  You never know when you'll need a good staple gun!!

3). Lay out your fabric and start measuring for your covers (lay the fabric upside down).  Depending on your fabric and the design of your print - you might want to mark what direction you want "up" so that all the pieces are the same.  If you are absolutely sure of your measurements - go ahead and cut all your pieces at once.

4). Place your cover onto the fabric square (centered).  Notice we didn't remove the existing seat cover - and I didn't need to add batting - this will be different with every chair set so use your best judgement.  That's another great thing about the weight of upholstery fabric - you won't see anything through it typically.  Work from each side and worry about the corners later.  One side, staple center, side across from where you just stapled, staple center - then do your other two sides.  Always working from the center out and working in a balanced direction.  This will help keep your fabric centered and help prevent wrinkles.  Turn the fabric edge under before stapling for a more finished look.

5). Use your best judgement on the corners - just try and make them all look the same.  Consider the direction of the chair and how the corners will look.  Don't worry too much about mistakes - staples can always be pulled out if things aren't laying nicely.

While my mom worked on the actual upholstery act - I was busy taking off the old seats.  Each chair will be different - make sure to only remove screws holding the seat to the frame.  Keep all the screws for each chair together and separate from the others - same with keeping the seat with the original chair frame.  This will just help things go smoother when you put the new seat back on.  Also flipping the chair over - like the photo above - makes putting the seat back on sooooo much easier!

My mom was really good at this so I just let her work on all of them!  She rocks at corners :)

Before and After.  This only took about 2 hours total for four chairs - I'd say that's pretty successful!

I was really excited about how much this spruced up my dinning room - the blue really pops against the blond wood :)

Have you tried recovering furniture?  How did it go?  Any additional tips?

Always, J