Hi guys! I’m sorry for the late post today, but you may have seen on Instagram that I broke my toe hiking right before 4th of July. My goal this week was to recover our dining room chairs so in between resting and at a very slow pace that’s what I’ve been doing, and I still have more to go.
Overall the process is going much slower than I was expecting. I thought it would take a couple hours, and they’d be done no problem – even with my broken toe. Yeahhhhh, not quite (#managingexpectations). But really, don’t let the time scare you. I’m going to go through everything I did to help save you some time. And I’m guessing you won’t have a broken toe when you do it! And honestly it makes such a big difference for a really small amount of money that I think it’s still worth it.
Okay, so if you read this post you know these chairs belonged to my grandmother and that overall they’re in great condition, but the fabric was clearly old and needed to be replaced. So, I went on the hunt for something new and I really like what we ended up with, even though it took what felt like forever to pick it out. Plus, it was only $15/yard and we could get a little over 2 chairs out of each yard so it was less than $7/chair. We ended up getting some extra in case one of them gets stained or something, but it’s actually enough for 4 more chairs. Since our dining table expands to sit up to 10 I’m thinking about trying to find some more chairs at a vintage store to add to our collection.
Recovering Dining Room Chairs with Fabric: The Tutorial
Okay, on to the good stuff. I started by laying the fabric out on the floor and folding it in half (hotdog style) to make sure we had enough by progressively moving one of the seats down the piece of fabric. Doing this helped me figure out how much extra I had. I was planning to leave 4 inches of fabric on each side, but found that I was really close to having enough fabric to make another set and if I could change the extra to 3 inches on each side then there would be enough. So, I tried the first 2 at four inches and found that three inches would be plenty. Yay!
After measuring I left the fabric folded, put the seat on top, made my measurements, and cut just one strip of fabric (which was enough for 2 chairs). I did this so I could make adjustments for the remaining ones if I needed to. Then I cut that piece in half. After that I laid the fabric over the seat to make sure I got the pattern lined up nicely. I wanted it to be straight and centered on the seat. Once I did that I held 2 sides tightly while I carefully flipped it over, trying hard not to move the fabric and get it off center. Then I started stapling. First I tried doing it on the ground – I thought I could just sit on the floor that way I wouldn’t be on my foot. But, that didn’t work. You really need to be at a table so you can use your bodyweight as leverage. I worked at our dining room table, because our steel table would have been too high. I just made sure to cover it and use some dishcloths as padding so I didn’t scratch the table at all. When stapling I started by doing one staple, flipping the seat and then stapling in the same place directly across. This helped me keep from pulling the pattern too much to one side or the other. I did that until I had 6 or 7 staples on each side and everything felt pretty secure. At that point I finished a whole side and then moved on to the next until I was all the way around. I left 2 inches or so around each corner and went backand did those last. There were a few things that I figured out about the staple gun that I think will help you:
1. As I mentioned, staple in a place where you can get good leverage. Depending on how hard your wood is, it can take a lot of force to get the staple all the way in.
2. I’m right-handed and I found that using my left hand to pull the fabric and my right hand at the top of the staple gun and pushing down as hard as I could helped add more pressure that was necessary to get the staples all the way in. You don’t want any “recoil.”
3. I found if I stapled quicker they went in more evenly. When I slowly squeezed the gun (to help gather some more force) many times the center would go in but the side would come out or go in crooked.
If you’ve been thinking about recovering your dining chairs or feel like your space could use a little facelift this is the perfect thing! It’s inexpensive, easy and makes a big impact. I’ll be sure to share some photos when I’ve finished them all.