It's been five years. Five years of accumulated food stains on our daily dining chairs. I love that we eat and gather around our dining room table throughout the day and night, but I should have known better than to use a linen/cotton blend fabric when I recovered them the first time when we scored them off Craigslist those five years ago. I got smart and motivated! This time I used an indoor/outdoor fabric in a print that works with our dining room and adjacent living room decor. The hand of the fabric is just slippery enough to know that the food won't adhere and not too slippery that little tushies will slide off in the middle of morning cheerios. Though it's taken me five years to do it, I still feel like I need to do it FAST! Thankfully, I found a way. Here's how to recover 5 dining chairs in 90 minutes. I'll walk you through the tools and steps to complete the project with ease and glee. 'Glee' might be an aggressive term while you're covering your
chairs, but gleeful is how you'll feel when it's done!
Here's what you'll need:
Gather tools and the following materials (10 minutes):
Tip for another time:
- Staple gun
- Staples (I used 6mm staples, which worked fine, but you could use a little longer tine of 8mm if you like)
- Screwdriver for chair cushion screws (each chair had 5 screws), could also use your cordless drill here. My bit wasn't long enough to get to the screws.
- Muffin tin (to place chair screws in so they don't end up in the carpet or down the furnace vent)
- Protective eye wear for stapling and drilling (if applicable)
- Spray bottle and hand towel or paper towels (shown) for cleaning chair once the cushion is off and you reveal broccoli and gold fish crust beneath.
If your tools and craft supplies are not already in one place and ready to go. Designate a bin or tote with top to hold a tool kit that includes, but is not limited to: drill, staple gun, staples, protective eye wear, screw drivers - phillips and standard, hammer, picture nails and other nails, screws, screw anchors, level, scissors, pliers, wrench, duct tape, tape measure, twine, furniture leg pads, and oft used crafting supplies that won't be damaged by the tools in the bin: glue gun, glue sticks, glue, tweezers, bone folder, so much more. Start small if you need to and grow from there. Here's what you'll do:
- Start by unscrewing and lifting off chair cushions from each chair. You'll want to create an assembly line operation for efficiency. (2 minutes per chair = 10 minutes)
- Remove existing fabric and staples if applicable. Alternatively, you can save time and simply cover the existing fabric if you're sure it won't show through. This can be a wise move as it gives additional cushioning (albeit slight) and stability to the cushion. (1 minutes per chair, rip and tear! = 5 minutes)
- Time to cut your fabric. Provided all of your chairs have the same size seat (one of my chairs had arms and a bit larger cushion), place one cushion right side down on stack of fabric facing wrong side up (you'll need one layer for each chair). Then cut around cushion leaving approximately 4-5" allowance to pull up over the cushion and staple. Remember, this is the Natural Maker Mom and we're busy, if you have a bit more time by all means feel free to measure, mark and cut, but experience has shown that an eyeball is good enough for this project. Now cut! If you find that your layers of fabric are too difficult to cut (4 or 6 layers) then separate them and double this step. But do NOT waste time by doing single layers, always economize on time when you can. (5 minutes)
- Now place each cushion, right side down on wrong side up fabric and grab your protective eyewear and staple gun. You're going to staple corners first, then sides. Pull one corner up and over the cushion and staple, now rotate the cushion or yourself 180 degrees to you have the opposite corner in front of you. Staple this corner. Now turn the cushion 90 degrees and staple that corner, now 180 degrees again and staple the opposite corner. You're done with corners. (3 minutes per chair = 15 minutes)
- On to sides. Pick a side, any side, and pull up and over the cushion. Start with a center staple then work your way out to the corners alternating sides. When you reach a corner, create a clean fold (shown) and staple. Continue on each side until completed. Run a few more staples along corners and sides for good measure. (3 minutes per chair = 15 minutes)
- Trim excess fabric with scissors. (1 minute per chair = 5 minutes)
- Clean chairs with spray bottle and towel. (1 minute per chair = 5 minutes)
- Place covered cushions back on chairs. You'll likely need to turn your chair over and rest on the table or ground to screw your cushion back onto the chair frame. Do this for as many chairs as you've covered. - Pull screws from your muffin tin and start reattaching cushions to chair frames. (4 minutes per chair = 20 minutes)
- Your done! Now enjoy your handy work and start making your guest list for Saturday night's dinner party to show off your chairs. Have fun! Options requiring additional time:
- You can upgrade your seat cushion by picking up and cutting to size a piece of foam. 2" thick is about right, but go thicker or thinner as your style and chairs demand. (adds 15-20 minutes unless you have an electric craft or other saw in which case you'll breeze through this step at 5 minutes, max!).
- Do more chairs!