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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

DIY: Folding Chair Makeover

Because my husband and I have not yet settled into a permanent home of our own, we haven't invested in a "real" dining room table and chairs. Instead, we've been making due with a folding table and folding chairs which for the time being are serving us just fine. However, in their store-purchased state, they were less than inspiring to look at. So, I decided that a makeover was in store. You can see the fruit of my labor in the above photo on the right. I'm pretty pleased with the results. The process was fairly easy, so I've included a step-by-step tutorial below for those of you who want to create your own fabulous folding chairs. If you're looking for folding chairs like mine, they can be purchased at Walmart.

In addition to the folding chairs, here are the supplies you will need:

1) Fabric for the back cover and coordinating thread: I used a sheet that I purchased very cheaply at Target. Because it already had hemmed edges, it cut way down on my sewing time! 2) A 19" square piece of fabric for each seat cushion: I used an indoor/outdoor home decor fabric that I purchased from Joann's. I'd recommend using something fairly durable so that it will last. 3) A 19" square piece of lightweight quilt batting for each seat cushion: The seats are already padded, but I wanted a little more cushion for mine. 4) Primer 5) Spray paint in the color of your choice: I used Valspar's metallic paint in "aluminum" 6) Duct tape 7) Painter's tape 8) Phillips head screwdriver 9) Sharp, pointy scissors

Step 1: Use the screwdriver to remove the screws from the underside of the seat so that the cushion can be removed.

Step 2: Use painter's tape to cover the plastic end caps on each of the chair legs. This part of the chair will be in contact with the floor. The end caps will get some wear, and because they are made of plastic, the paint likely will not stick to them very well. By covering them with tape, they will retain their original black color and you won't have to worry about paint chipping off of them.

Step 3: Cover the chair with one coat of primer.

Step 4: Once the primer is dry, give the chair two coats of spray paint, ensuring that it is well covered (you don't need to worry about painting the flat part of the seat, because it will be covered with the cushion).

At this point, my chairs looked like this:

Step 5: Remove painter's tape from plastic end caps.

Step 6: Time to cover the seat cushion!...I don't have a staple gun, so this is the method that I used. (If you want to use a staple gun instead, just make sure that your staples are shallow enough that they won't poke all the way through the cushion board.) Place the cushion fabric face down on the ground and layer the batting on top of it. Place the seat cushion face down on top of the batting. Wrap the edge of the fabric around the cushion and duct tape it in place. Make sure that you do not tape over the screw holes on the bottom of the cushion. If your fabric covers the center screw hole, cut a notch in it so that the hole is exposed (see photo below). Pull the opposite edge of the fabric tautly around the cushion and tape it in place. Repeat this process with the remaining two sides.

Step 7: Carefully fold in the fabric at the corners of the cushion as shown in the photo below. Be mindful of where the corner screw holes are and make sure that there is only one layer of fabric covering each hole (ie. don't let the fabric get bunched up right over the holes). Tape the folded corner fabric down. Using your sharp, pointy scissors, cut small holes in the fabric to expose the corner screw holes (You should be able to feel where they are by pressing on the fabric that is wrapped over each corner of the cushion).

Your finished cushion should look like this:

Step 8: Place the cushion right side up on the seat of the chair...make sure you have it oriented correctly, mine was a slightly different shape in the front vs. the back. Screw the cushion into place. You will have to apply a little bit of pressure to the top of the cushion in order for the screws to catch.

Step 9: Trace the back of your chair onto a large piece of paper to create a pattern for the seat back covers. Add a half inch seam allowance to the side and top edges of your traced pattern. If you are using fabric that does not have a hem, make sure to add an extra inch to the bottom of each pattern so that you have enough fabric to create a hem.

Step 10: Use your pattern to cut out two panels for each seat back.

Step 11: Sew the seat back panels together (right sides facing) on the side and top edges, using a half inch seam allowance.

Step 12: Clip the curves so that the cover fits smoothly around the corners of the chair back.

Step 13: Lay a towel over the back of the chair and place the seat back cover on inside out. Use an iron to gently press the seam open around the curves of the chair back.

Step 14: If you are using fabric without a hem, create a hem around the bottom edge of your cover so that it has a finished edge.

Step 15: Turn your chair back cover right side out and place it on the chair...Voila! You now have a beautiful designer folding chair!

I plan to eventually do a makeover of our table too...I'll post photos when that project is done. :)

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  1. Can't wait to see the table makeover, too! :-D

  2. Awesome Ideas.. I will be mix up some my own Ideas when make up my chair ;)


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