Tuesday, February 10, 2009

WFMW: (Almost) new dining chairs for cheap

You can use fabric made for outdoor furniture for covering your dining chairs. It's highly durable and likes to hide out on clearance racks at upholstery stores. With this fabric, a staple gun, scissors, a measuring tape, and a screwdriver, you can easily give your dining chairs a new look for not a lotta dollas.

Now for the details. I was lucky. Extremely lucky. My mom friends and I had a garage sale last year (that's right: eight months ago) and during our pre- snatch-up-the-junk-before-the-sale-opens sale I snatched up a long length of outdoor furniture fabric for two dollars. I have, however, been thinking about this project for months and have perused a couple of upholstery stores. I saw a lot of possibilities for just a few dollars a yard (I planned to buy about four yards).

Then I happened upon this fabric at my garage sale and figured I wouldn't find a better deal on a neutral fabric. So this week I decided to finally release it from my crowded closet and either cover my six dining chairs like I intended or send it to the trash.

So rather than waste my (Pete's) hard-earned two dollars, I set about to put it to some use. Here we go, in pictures:

The "before" situation. Painful isn't it?

Don't be intimidated by your chair's array of bolts and screws. Search around for four screws only that attach the cushion to the chair. Or get Pete to come to your house and do it like he did for me.

This type of fabric cuts so easily. Allow plenty of overage around the cushion so you have plenty to pull and tug tightly. (FYI, this fabric measured 25 inches across.)

If you don't have one of these bad boys, you can buy one for about $13. I bought my staple gun about ten years ago...when I covered some other dining room chairs, come to think of it.

Pull the fabric tightly and EVENLY around one side. DO NOT try to curve it around the corners. Just do the sides for now. Trust me. Get your Bad Boy stapler and push it down on the edge of the fabric with all your might. Pull the trigger. Oooohhh, yeah!

Keep going around the sides, again don't worry about the corners. Pull the fabric as tightly as you can before stapling it to make sure it's nice and smooth on the other side. Also, don't worry about the number of staples you use...no one except the dog will ever see the underside of your chair, and he's not judging.

Now for the corners. Gather up all the fabric in the corner, making sure to pull it as tightly as possible and taking care to smooth any gaps.

Pull the gathered fabric toward the middle of the seat as hard as you possibly can. Puuuullll! Haaarrrdd! Then get out your gun, aim, and fire. A lot of times.

It's not pretty, but it gets the job done. Add reinforcement staples where you think they're needed...one is not enough, for sure.

There ya go... a nice tight corner.

Four of them.

After its extreme makeover, the cushion fits back on the chair without any problems. With the screws, of course.

I also added two coats of fabric protector because something, some day, far away from now I hope...could be spilled on it.

And here's the fabric I had leftover, apparently a perfect hiding place for two little boys.

For more great Works for Me Wednesday tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.


Anonymous said...

My Dad would be so proud of you!

Anonymous said...

What's that Beastie Boys song "She's Crafty"!

Mo said...

I redid my dining room chairs about 2 years ago...it really does make SUCH a difference, doesn't it?! Great job!!

Anonymous said...

It looks great and ya gotta love that outdoor fabric! Thanks for sharing!

Dawn said...

Your chairs turned out FAB-U-LOUS!!I see that you just wrapped the new over the old...I just graciously received a dining table and chairs for our homeschool room. The chairs need to be recovered because the old fabric smells...any ideas???