Thursday, May 22, 2008

How I re-covered my dining chairs

See this post for pictures of my dining room chair re-do.

Maybe you’re like me and have never tackled a project like this before. My husband marveled that I would try something like this with no previous experience. Well, when I was growing up, my dad always told me that I could do anything I wanted to, and I’ve taken him quite literally. That has given me a lot of confidence in my abilities. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)

Anyway, I took pictures of each step as I went so I could share with you just how easy this is. But before we get started, let me warn you: This is most likely not the way the pros do it. It’s just what seemed logical to me – and worked!

First of all, let’s remember what these chairs looked like to start with.

The first step was to get the chair pad off the chair. I discovered that mine screwed on and off, and I suspect most chair pads do. Before you go prying them off with a screwdriver, please look for screw holes!!

The next step was to make a pattern so I knew how big to cut the material. I actually measured this before I ever went to the fabric counter, but it’s still important to make a pattern. It’s a lot easier than measuring eight times over. I used an old paper bag for my pattern, and it measures 23x24". [Remember: Measure twice, cut once!]

The next step is to cut out the pieces. Since I was using plastic covering, I also cut those out.
Once that’s done, layer first the plastic, then the fabric, right-side-down on your work surface. Center the chair pad on the square.
Next, I pulled all four corners in and stapled them in place with the staple gun.

Then I pulled and stapled the middle of each side.

Then the tricky part – adjusting the fullness so there are no visible puckers at the corners. I found it was easiest to get my fingers under the fabric and adjust it before slicking it down and stapling it. (I hope that makes sense! I was adjusting the fullness to ruffle at the bottom of the chair pad instead of the sides.)
Now, if you really want it to look finished, you can cover the middle of the bottom (which includes the fabric ends) with paper or a fabric that won’t ravel. I didn’t have any of that available, and I really don’t care what insects might see when they look under my dining room chairs. My guests don’t make a habit of looking underneath them, and I don’t, either. :)
Voila! You’re done! Simply set the chair pad back on the chair, screw it back in place, and admire your handiwork.