Home Decor My First Re-upholstery DIY

My First Re-upholstery DIY

written by The OklaHomeMaker April 11, 2016



Hey there! Sorry I’ve been MIA for the last few weeks, I’ve been so busy learning how to re-upholster my first armchair! This was such a fun project, and one that almost anyone can do! I’m thrilled with how it turned out!

After months of swooning over Marian AKA Miss Mustard Seed‘s gorgeous reupholstery projects, I finally decided it was time to tackle one myself. I knew my first project would be a French armchair like this one because all the upholstery is done in sections so it doesn’t require any sewing (I HATE sewing!). When I started looking for a piece to reupholster, I kept several things in mind. First, price- I didn’t want to spend big money on something I was 99% sure I would ruin. Haha. Second, quality- I wanted a piece made of solid wood that would last for years to come. And finally, condition- I wanted a piece that was sturdy & free from any damage; normal wear was OK, but since I knew I wanted to preserve the wood finish, it couldn’t have any deep scratches or cracks. After several weeks of searching, I found this piece on Craigslist for $75. It came with a matching foot stool, and we believe it was built somewhere in the 1940’s-1950’s. It’s solid wood and has a beautiful finish!

The process of re-uholstering was actually fairly simple. First I had to remove all the original fabric, using a screw driver and pliers to pull out the old staples. This was really the most time consuming part of the whole project. Tip: keep the fabric to use as a template later on! I removed the batting, cotton, burlap and springs as well, taking the chair all the down to the wood frame. Make sure you take LOTS of pictures during this part of the process so you can reference them when it’s time to re-assemble the chair!

Once I had the everything off the chair, I cleaned it well with oil soap, then replaced the webbing and re-tied all of the springs. The burlap went back on first, then I layered on the cotton, and some new batting to hold everything together. Make sure you arrange the stuffing so that it is smooth across the top or you’ll have a horrible time dealing with lumps under your fabric!

When it was finally time to cover the chair in its new threads, I used the fabric I had removed as my template. I pinned it down on top of the plaid fabric I had selected, making sure it was straight, then I cut all the way around my templates, leaving myself about 2-3 inches of wiggle room.

To attach each piece of fabric, I first centered it and tacked it at the top and bottom with my staple gun to hold it in place. Then I worked my way around, stretching and stapling the fabric evenly as I went. This part was a bit challenging since I was dealing with a plaid pattern that was not at all forgiving of my many mistakes. In hindsight, I should have chosen an all-over pattern or a solid for my first re-upholstery project. BUT it turned out beautifully, and I love the plaid so it was worth all the extra effort. 🙂

Once I had all the fabric stapled in place, I cut off all the excess as close to the staples as possible. Then I attached 1/2″ white gimp trim using a hot glue gun.

And HERE’s the finished project:


I’m so So happy with how it turned out! And I had so much fun that I’ve already purchased two more chairs so I can do it all over again! 🙂

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Craig Gilroy June 7, 2016 at 7:15 pm

I am usually looking for wonderful tips to enhance my enterprise. Thank you for taking the time to share

The Okla-Home Tour | August 17, 2016 at 7:17 pm

[…] area. This photo shows the antique chair James and I re-upholstered together last winter, click here to read more about it. Also shown are the coffee table we built together (see the matching buffet […]

Billir April 20, 2017 at 7:47 am

Thank you for the evouragement


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