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How To: Recovering Chair Cushions

My first tutorial!  The first of many, I hope.  This one in particular is something I know a lot about because I've done it more than 5 times.  That makes me a know-it-all...right?  ;)

Chair cushions, next to painting, are a super easy way to bring something fresh and new to your kitchen nook, your front entry, or wherever you plan to put the chair(s).   The set I show you in this tutorial are from my farmhouse table project (check it out here:  The seat boards on the original craigslist purchase were in decent shape.  All I needed to do (to feel good about re-using them---they were a little wet) was air dry them for a full day on my back patio which gets lots of sun.   Good as new!

Let's get started, shall we?

What you'll need:
1. Seat boards.  If you cannot re-use the originals, measure each chair individually.  From what I've experienced, you never know when "identical" anythings mean "not that identical."  Get each board cut to their individual specs.  The Lowe's in my area will cut boards for you, so ask around if you don't have a saw at your disposal.  NOTE: You will need to screw holes into the boards (pressboard is what I have) if you get new ones.  Line the boards up to where they will be installed onto the chairs and mark where the screws will go in.  Then you can drill the holes.  Ready for step 2.
2. Poly-fil Foam.  You can choose whatever thickness you desire, but I typically go with the 1" thickness.  To save money (which we all like) get the giant roll of 24x72x1.  Walmart and Hobby Lobby have it for about the same price.  Joann has more options for foam that you can get cut to the specs you need, it was just easier for me to buy a bag of it.  I did buy 2 just in case I messed up....I do that a lot. 
3.  Your fabric!  The fun part.  choose a fabric that you love.  I'm not going to tell you what color or type to get because it's really "to each is own" so you get whatever make your little heart sing.  I will put in my two cents and say that vinyl and duck canvas (even out door type canvas) work fabulous in kitchens and places where the chairs will get a lot of use.  You can spray scotch guard upholstery protection on any of your cottons if you are concerned about stains.  I will say that stains come out with a little water and a little scrubbing or some Incredible stain remover works great too...says the mommy of two kids under the age of 5! 
4. Scissors and Staple Gun + staples.  A good set of fabric scissors and semi-good quality staple gun really makes a difference.  Invest if you are going to want to do more of the wonderful projects that involve fabric and there are a LOT.

Step 1:
Lay out your seat boards and measure your foam.  I usually complete one seat before cutting out anything else just for my own sanity.

Step 2:
Start stapling, pulling to make the foam taut.  What helps me is by securing two parallel sides, pulled tight.  Staple all along each side to make sure it is secure, in the corners fold and tuck making sure to staple the fold so that you cannot see it when you flip it over.  NOTE:  Don't cover your screw holes!

Here is is on the flip side.

Step 3:  Cut the fabric out.  I always cut the fabric to the measurement of the seat with foam on it because, obviously, it changes the thickness of the board.  Staple the same way you did for the foam.  NOTE:  Again, don't cover up your screw holes!  Yea...I did do it once.

This is what it looks like on the beautiful side!

 At one point in this project I had a little helper collecting staples. :)

This doesn't happen often, but sometimes I get a boo boo.  This happened cause I did SIX chairs in one sitting.  ouch.  Leaning to take breaks...

Step 4:  Installation time!  These are the chairs that I got at (for this super sweet deal: after my other chairs, I discovered were going to be a disaster.  Luckily for me these were the perfect size for my pre-made seats!  I took the original seats off --they were butcher block style wood (to be used in another project-nothing goes to waste here!) and installed mine with ease and my husband's beast of a drill.  See it making an indentation on my couch!

Flipped upside down and screwed in.

 Finished!  Yay, Mommy!

I hope this tutorial was informative and not too drawn out.  I'm still learning to condense my explanations of ...all things. :)  It really is an easy and inexpensive project depending on the price of your fabric (did you know Joann has an app now????  with coupons galore???  download that sucker right now!).  The price also goes up depending on the amount of mistakes you make.  Trust me.

If you are looking for a beginner DIY project to start your creative juices flowing, this is a good jumping off point.  Learning to do this will give you the confidence to take on things you might not have thought possible before.

Now get started!
Have a great day!


  1. This is such an informative post I really appreciate the information you wrote here.Leather Button Beds


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