For several months we have been living with chairs that looked pretty shabby. The fabric covering started to tear on several of them. This weekend we finished re-covering them, which was a simple process.
One of the enormous benefits of living in New York City is the ability to find almost anything. I needed upholstery fabric, foam and dacron. I got the fabric at Mood fabrics (famous for supplying the show Project Runway) and I got the foam and dacron at Canal Rubber. Dacron is a stretchy, web-like material that covers over the foam. If you are at all like me and are not on top of *everything*, you might have chairs that go neglected. What happens under the fabric is that the foam turns a gross shade of orange and becomes brittle and powdery. The dacron stretches over the foam and keeps this powder from dusting the floor under the chair. Have I shared too much??
Anyhow, the internet is rich with videos on how to re-upholster a chair. Each version is slightly different. Glueing the foam to the seat didn’t seem right to us, so we stretched the dacron over it and stapled it down. It’s mostly just common sense.
Neil unscrewed the seat of the chair from the wooden frame. There were 4 screws on the bottom of the seat. He then took a flat head screwdriver and removed all of the staples holding the fabric and foam onto the seat. The seat is just a sheet of plywood.
I traced the plywood shape onto the foam, giving an extra 1/2″ of space all around. I cut the foam with an electric turkey carver. Now I feel I have to explain something…we don’t use this carver to cut turkey. We bought it when we made a foam turtle shell for our daughter’s Halloween costume years ago. The man at Canal Rubber suggested using a box cutter to cut the foam, but if you can get your hands on one of these electric carvers, your life will be much easier.
I cut the dacron with a pair of sharp scissors to a size about an inch or 2 larger than the foam. We placed the foam on the plywood base and stretched the dacron over it. Then we used short staples and a staple gun to attach it to the wood.
I traced the shape of the old fabric onto the new fabric. The foam we used was slightly puffier than the old foam, so I needed to add about an inch and a half all around. You can use scissors. I used a rotary cutter. Then you stretch the fabric over the dacron and staple it down. I found this much easier with two people, but you could do it solo. We also did the canvas stretching technique, which is when you start stapling the fabric in the middle of one side, then flip it around and staple the middle of the opposite side. You do this on all sides and work your way to the corners.
I should have taken more photos, but I think it is really common sense. When you get to the corners, fiddle with how you fold the fabric so it looks nice.