Home Improvement & Gardening Blog by ManoMano

Dining Chair Makeover: DIY Upholstered Chairs

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Chairs can be an expensive addition to your home, especially when you need multiple chairs to seat your family and guests. Upcycling old chairs not only saves you money on buying new, but it gives you the chance to be creative with the finish and colours you choose. You can make furniture that fits seamlessly into your home décor, no matter what they originally looked like when you found them at the car boot sale, charity shop or junk store. In order to create your own upholstered chairs…

What you’ll need

To do this DIY project you’ll need the following tools:

Dustpan and brush
Palm sander and Assorted sandpaper to fit your palm sander in course, medium and fine grits
Paint brush
Stapler and Staples
Small hammer
Measuring tape

In addition, these materials will be needed:

Vintage chairs
Old rag
Varnish or paint
Oil cloth or upholstery fabric

The measurements of the fabric will depend on the size of the seat, with extra width to allow the fabric to be folded around all sides of the seat and stapled in place on the underside.

The Handy Mano ManoMano diy do it yourself Dining Chair Makeover Upholstered Chairs wooden upholster reupholster tools and materials

Cost, time and difficulty

The approximate cost of materials for this project is £45.

This project is quite simple and is therefore suitable for beginners. Depending on the style of your chairs, this project shouldn’t take longer than half a day. Allow extra time for drying, which will be determined by recommended drying times on the varnish or paint you use. If you require a second coat of paint, this will require more drying time and extend the length of your project.

 The Handy Mano ManoMano diy do it yourself Dining Chair Makeover Upholstered Chairs wooden upholster reupholster before

Step 1: Clean and dismantle the chairs

Brush down the chairs with the brush from a dustpan to remove any cobwebs, dust and debris. Turn the chairs over and twist the latches that hold the seat pad into the chair. The Handy Mano ManoMano diy do it yourself Dining Chair Makeover Upholstered Chairs wooden upholster reupholster underside remove seat

Pop the seat pad out of the chair frame and set aside. If you’re working on multiple chairs, it’s a good idea to make a note of which seat pad belongs to which chair frame. Brush around the empty seat space.

The Handy Mano ManoMano diy do it yourself Dining Chair Makeover Upholstered Chairs wooden upholster reupholster seat removed

 Step 2: Sand the chairs

Attach a course sandpaper to your sander and begin to sand off any old varnish, paint splashes or watermarks. Don’t forget to sand the inside edges of the legs and seat. Work the tip of the sander into all the joins and corners.

The Handy Mano ManoMano diy do it yourself Dining Chair Makeover Upholstered Chairs wooden upholster reupholster sanding down chair

Once the varnish has been removed, swap the sandpaper to a medium grit and sand the chairs again to smooth out any rough edges. Wipe the dust away with an old rag before switching to a fine grit paper and giving the chairs one last sanding to ensure the wood is completely smooth. Wipe and brush away all the dust created by the sanding process.

 

Step 3: Varnish or paint the chairs

Once your chairs are clean and dust free you can begin varnishing or painting the frames. Use a small brush to apply a coat of clear varnish in a gloss or matt finish, depending on your preference.The Handy Mano ManoMano diy do it yourself Dining Chair Makeover Upholstered Chairs wooden upholster reupholster varnishing varnish polish

If you would prefer to paint the chairs, either use a spray paint or brush-on paint to coat all surfaces with a fine layer. It’s better to apply a couple of fine coats rather than one thick coat, which may cause drips. Allow the first coat to dry for the length of time recommended by the manufacturer. If the chairs require a second coat of paint or varnish, add the next layer and allow to dry thoroughly.

Step 4: Upholster the seat pad

While the chair frames are drying you can move on to upholstering the seat pads. Lay the seat on top of your chosen fabric, leaving plenty of excess fabric to wrap over onto the reverse of the cushion pad. Cut to size, including this excess fabric allowance.The Handy Mano ManoMano diy do it yourself Dining Chair Makeover Upholstered Chairs wooden upholster reupholster fabric on seats

Place the fabric face-down and position the seat pad top-down in the centre of the fabric. Use a staple gun to attach the fabric to the wooden base of the seat pad. Add one staple on all four sides, pulling the fabric tight before attaching it to the base. Work along the edges and, when you reach the corners, pull the fabric tight around the shape, stapling as you go to create a smooth sweep.

The Handy Mano ManoMano diy do it yourself Dining Chair Makeover Upholstered Chairs wooden upholster reupholster nailing fabric to seats nail

Once the fabric is stapled all the way around the seat pad, trim off any excess fabric to allow the latches on the base to move freely.

The Handy Mano ManoMano diy do it yourself Dining Chair Makeover Upholstered Chairs wooden upholster reupholster trimming fabric on seats

Step 5: Reassemble the chairs

Once the paint or varnish is completely dry, you can re-insert the seat pads.

The Handy Mano ManoMano diy do it yourself Dining Chair Makeover Upholstered Chairs wooden upholster reupholster attaching seats Turn the chairs upside down and twist the latches back into position. This may be more difficult with the extra layer of fabric, so you can gently knock the latches into place with a small hammer if needed. Turn your chair right-side up and enjoy your handiwork – what a transformation!

The Handy Mano ManoMano diy do it yourself Dining Chair Makeover Upholstered Chairs wooden upholster reupholster afterThe Handy Mano ManoMano diy do it yourself Dining Chair Makeover Upholstered Chairs wooden upholster reupholster after

This article was written by Cassie Fairy. You can find Cassie’s blog ‘My Thrifty Life’ at Cassiefairy.com, where she shares daily blog posts about her home DIY projects, upcycled finds, budget recipes and plenty of inspiration for living a low-cost yet lovely life.

 

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