I’ve always wanted to learn how to do upholstery so when I saw that an evening leisure course was being offered at our local university called “Upholstery Made Easy” I just had to sign up!
The course was for three hours every Monday night for six weeks and required you to bring a small piece of furniture and your choice of fabric.
This was the gem I decided to work on. I bought two of these office chairs a few years ago second-hand for $15 a piece with the intention of using them as seating in our living room. I reupholstered the first one in class with the help of the instructor and then completed the second one solo.
To start, you’ll want to look at how the fabric is attached to your chair, it’s more than likely going to be stapled or in some cases nailed to the frame. If it’s stapled, you’ll want to use a staple puller and a set of pliers to remove them. I bought this at Home Hardware for six dollars.
It was great for getting into tight spots.
I probably spent about 2-3 hours on each chair just removing staples… this was the most time consuming part of the whole project. Make sure to put on a good movie while you’re doing this.
The curved back portion of my chair had 4 layers altogether – 2 layers of fabric with a layer of foam and cardboard in between. The foam and cardboard were still in good shape so I just set them aside to be reused later.
Once you remove the second layer of fabric you’ll be left with just the frame. You basically want to strip the chair down to it’s bare bones and then rebuild it. The most important thing that I learned from this process was to keep all the fabric you remove! This will be your template for the new fabric. This is also the best time to paint your chair.
Since I was also going to reuse the foam on the seat, I only needed to remove the fabric.
I chose to go with a classic black fabric for the outside of the chair and a beautiful black and white floral pattern for the front. Make sure you choose a thick upholstery fabric since it will be getting a lot of use and you don’t want to be doing this all over again anytime soon!
Next, I used the template for the back of the chair to cut out my black fabric. Be sure to leave at least 2 inches all the way around so you’ll have excess to play with.
Then I cut out my floral fabric for the front side of the chair and the seat.
The only tool I didn’t have on hand was a brad nailer/stapler to get into the nooks of the frame, so I used the one we had in class. I hope to get one of these in the near future, it definitely made stapling quick and easy.
To reassemble your chair, start by pinning up your fabric with a few staples to make sure you have enough fabric to go all the way around. Then work from the middle towards the right stapling up and down and then from the middle again to the left pulling the fabric tight as you go. There shouldn’t be any wrinkles in the fabric when you’re done.
Once you’re done stapling, cut the excess fabric.
I then secured the foam in place with a few more staples. Using the same technique to secure the black fabric to the chair, I then went overtop of the foam with the floral fabric.
The seat was very easy to reupholster, I started my staples on the straight side of the seat first and then made my way around the curved part.
The tip I learned for going around curves is to pull as tight as you can straight up and then towards yourself until you start to see a fold, then secure it in place.
To finish off the chair, I added black piping that I made from the leftover black fabric (or you can buy it pre-made) and then added a dust cover to the bottom of the seats.
In the end, I only spent $40 in fabric to redo two chairs but I think they look like a million bucks! It was way easier than I thought it would be, so I definitely recommend trying it yourself or even taking a class like I did!