August 15, 2012

How To Re-Cover a Folding Chair

I have a confession- I'm a trash-picker. It must be something genetic I got from my father because he is the master of finding tarnished treasures. It helps that he has a variety of tools and experience to make even really damaged items like new again. I don't, so I only retrieve things that can be fixed with hand tools and elbow grease.

In this case, I found a folding chair sitting next to the dumpster. It was a perfectly fine chair except the fabric on the backing was ripped. It's such an easy thing to fix! Of course, you could always just decide you'd like to spice up some regular folding chairs, too.

Doesn't look like much now.
 There are screws that hold the back rest and the seat in place. Just unscrew them and the two cushions will come right off.

The chair itself was pretty dirty, so I cleaned it up before I put the newly covered cushions back on.

Here are the back of both cushions, where you can see how the original fabric was stapled in. Rather than unstapling the current fabric and padding, I decided to simply cover the new fabric over the old. It's a lot quicker and easier this way.

I had a fun upholstery fabric laying around leftover from another project I decided to use. I set the cushions over top of it and cut out a piece big enough to fold over the back.

Now here's the fun part- the stapling. Take your trusty staple gun (or pick one up at the hardware store for about $12) and get stapling! Pick one edge, fold the fabric over, and staple in place.

 Next you want to work on the edge opposite the first one. Pull the fabric tight, and then staple that side into place as well. Now, you'll want to work on a corner. Fold some creases around the corner to get it wrapped nicely and staple in place. I only used three folds in each of the corners. Then, continue stapling along the unfinished edge to the next corner. Wrap the fabric around it again. Repeat for the remaining side.

Then it'll look a little something like this!

The back rest was a little more involved because the cushioning was ripped and missing. I took a few pieces of leftover batting and stuffed them into place.

 The back rest is a little trickier because it's curved along the bottom. I started by stapling across the bottom. Then I pulled it tight and stapled across the top. Because of the curve, you want to make sure you pull it tight when you staple the curves along the sides as well. Otherwise, you'll have a little bit of a wave going on.

Once the fabric is securely stapled, grab your cleaned metal frame and screw the cushions back into place. Voila! A lovely new chair that didn't cost anything except a pack of staples and about an hour of my time. If I didn't have that extra fabric laying around, it probably would have cost about $8, you don't need a whole lot of fabric.

If only there had been two chairs for me to rescue from oblivion. I'd love to have a set of them. I'll have to keep a weather eye out for a mate for this one. I do have enough of that fabric left to make a few more.

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