Adding Upholstery to a Newly Built Wood Chair
Here is another plan I drew for The Design Confidential that I was planning on building… (That seems to get me in a lot of trouble!) Although this chair doesn’t have the turned legs like the inspiration piece, I like this one a lot better. It is a little more simple and a lot more inexpensive!
Upholstery work is not an exact science… I am terrible at folding the corners and making them smooth! The trick is to pull the fabric as tight as possible (with a helper!) and secure it in place.
Once again, I used mostly scrap pieces to build this chair – I ripped 1x6s down for the aprons (and saved the slim piece left over for a paint stir-stick) and ripped pieces of 2x4s down to 2x2s for some of the other pieces. In fact, the legs are constructed from a 2×6 ripped down to 2×2. I find this is way more economical as the 2×6 cost less than $5.00 and I was able to get three 2x2s out of it!
Anyway, today I’m going to share instructions on how to upholster this chair.
- 1″ Foam
- 3″ Foam
- Upholstery Batting
- Fabric of your choice (about 1-1/2 yds.)
- Scissors & Pins
- Sewing Machine
- Staple Gun (<– affiliate link!)
- Braided Trim (3 yds.)
The chair will need to be constructed to this point. The design plans for the chair are super-simple.
Only the parts that are going to show will need to be painted or stained – the legs, and part of the back legs. Apply polyurethane on these areas also and let it completely dry.
I chose a cotton and linen blend fabric for the chair. The color is similar to the color copper changes to when exposed to the elements – a “Verdegris” color!
Cut a piece of the fabric to fit inside the back. Use spray adhesive to secure the fabric in place and smooth out any wrinkles. another option would be to use decorative wallpaper or scrapbooking paper on the back – how cute would that be??
Cut the foam for the back. Use the spray adhesive and adhere the foam to the front…
Layer the upholstery batting and fabric on the foam. Cut a notch at each side of the bottom to allow for the legs. Start with the center bottom – pull it tight and staple on the inside of the back. I like to use a staple in the center and one in each end, then I fill in between them. Fold in any raw edges and secure with a few staples. (Don’t worry – these staples will be covered later with decorative trim.)
Smooth the fabric up the front and over the top. Fold the fabric over and staple on the underside of the back in the same manner as the bottom.
Fold in the raw edges at the notch of the sides and fasten the sides to the legs in the same manner as the top and bottom.
A view from the front…
I used three pieces of 1″ foam for the seat (its what I had on hand). Cut notches in the back of the foam for the seat to allow for the legs. Spray the seat of the chair with adhesive and put the seat foam in place. Lay a piece of upholstery batting on top and cut the excess at the front corners so the batting lays flat. Pull it as tight as possible without tearing and staple in place.
Cut the fabric for the seat. It needs to be large enough to fold over the aprons and staple on the underside. The front of the seat upholstery will have two vertical seams at the corners to make a sort of box. Cut notches in the back of the upholstery batting and fabric also to allow for the legs. Start at the front apron, fold the raw edge of the fabric under, and staple the layers to the underside at the center and each end. Fill in the staples along that line.
Smooth the fabric over the seat, turn under any raw edges and pull it as tight as possible – an extra set of hands may be needed! Start stapling the back between the legs on the underside of the aprons. Do the same for the sides. At the back legs where the fabric ends, turn the fabric under the batting to hide the raw edges. An upholstery nail can be used here to secure the fabric if desired.
Cover the exposed staples on the back with decorative trim.
Done, yahoo!! Now onto the next chair…
So what do you think? Are you going to tackle this chair plan and try your hand at upholstering the RH Inspired Baroque Chair? It is an easy and inexpensive project! If you have any questions, leave a comment below!