This Office Chair DIY seemed to find me. Since I have plenty of leftover fabrics from other projects, that’s not a bad thing. I love to reupholster! Even so, for this project I’m taking a bit of a shortcut.
Thanks to everyone who entered our giveaway last month. Congratulations goes out to J. Kynerd. She is the winner of a Cutting Edge Stencil. I enjoyed bringing you our first giveaway and hope to have another one for you down the road!
We were out for a stroll on garbage day when we happened on this molded plywood chair.
We brought it back to store with our other chair find (you’ll see the antique rocker in an upcoming post).
Hubs just got into fixing and restoring vintage sewing machines, so I thought this chair would be perfect for whiling away the hours.
You Will Need…
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- Rowenta Compact Fabric Steamer – or any other steam cleaner
- Batting (you can use natural cotton or synthetic)
- Elmer’s Craft Bond Spray Adhesive
- Arrow PT-50 Pneumatic Staple Gun
- T-50 1/4″ staples
- Osborne Heavy Duty Staple Lifter
- Upholstery fabric of your choice (indoor/outdoor fabric works). I bought mine locally but like Fabricville if buying online.
How to Clean an Upholstered Chair
The first order of business was to clean the chair. Our method of cleaning applies to any upholstered chair.
- Disassemble (if possible)
- Steam clean upholstery and let dry.
- As an extra step if desired, spray the upholstery with Benefect Deacon 30. If you can’t find that product, any upholstery cleaner will do.
Steam will kill bed bugs if present up to 3/4″ into fabric surfaces. For that reason, I’m not removing the upholstery: I’m going to reupholster right over it.
Decon 30 uses natural Thyme oil and kills 99.99% of bacteria in 30 seconds with no rinsing necessary. We also wipe down all the hard surfaces of the chair: wheels, metal and wood.
Office Chair DIY – Extra Padding
Skimpy padding is not my thing. I don’t know about you, but I like a comfy chair so a little extra padding is in order! When the upholstery is completely dry, trace the seat and back onto batting and cut it out.
Office Chair DIY – Fabric Selection
Did you know that outdoor fabric is perfectly suitable for indoor uses too? You might recognize the leftover fabric below from the outdoor pillow I made Hubs early this season.
Cut the fabric larger than the batting by 1 1/2″ – 2″ bigger on each edge so you can fold it over and staple it.
I remove every other staple so the original fabric stays on. My plan it to re-staple in the spaces in between and then remove the remainder as I go.
DIY Office Chair Reupholstery
Out in the garage, Hubs put a piece of plastic on his sawhorse to catch overspray. But before spraying the batting with adhesive, I fold them in half and mark the middle with a marker to help me position them onto the chair back and seat, respectively.
Hubs sprays a light coating of adhesive onto one side of the batting.
The spray glue helps the batting grips onto the original red fabric so it doesn’t shift as we staple on the fabric.
See the difference between the old padding and additional batting? Not only does the extra padding add comfort, but the shortest staple we have in our arsenal is 1/4″. The original chair has 3/16″ inch staples. The extra batting will ensure that the extra depth won’t poke through the front.
Two Pair of Hands are Better than One!
Stapling fabric is so much easier when you have an extra pair of hands to help. Just remember to put your batting side face down on the wrong side of the fabric.
Here’s the correct way to position the piece ready for stapling. I pulled the fabric taut as Hubs placed the staples. Don’t forget to wear protective goggles when working with a staple gun! Even though mine kept steaming up, it’s important to keep them on!
Put a staple north, south, east and west to hold the fabric in place.
Then staple out from the centre on each side. I put a few staples in the bottom first and then move to the opposite side, also working out from the middle. As you place each staple (in between the ones you removed earlier), remove the staple right next to it.
Stop short of the corners. When you get to the corner, place a staple right in the middle. Then fold the fabric towards the middle creating little pleats as shown so you end up with a smooth curve on the right side of the fabric.
Look Over Your Work
Before putting away the staple gun, inspect your work to ensure you have enough staples and fill in any gaps.
Here’s now the wrong side will look.
Flip it over to inspect the right side. It should be perfectly smooth. If not, pop a few staples where necessary and try again.
Trim away any excess fabric with scissors.
Ensure that the fabric is well back of where the screws go.
When we went to screw the pieces back on, we accidentally stripped one of the screws. But that’s not a problem if you have a tapping kit like this one.
Hubs was able to find the screw size, insert the relevant tapping dye and with a few twists of the screw, it was perfect once again.
The old screw fits like a glove. And with that, our office chair makeover is complete!
Office Chair DIY
Our newly upholstered office chair is a big improvement over the old fabric! The pattern of the fabric works beautifully against the molded plywood chair. Hubs has an upholstered desk chair that looks good as new.
We hope you enjoyed this post on how to reupholster an office chair. Pinning is always welcome and appreciated!
If you’re interested in learning how to reupholster an office chair that’s completely fabric covered, you’ll want to check out my previous post! Or if you have one of those ‘bonded leather’ office chairs that’s looking more shabby than chic, check out this this post.