This old chair was found on the roadside. $4 of materials later, it's beautiful

Knowing how to reupholster furniture is a skill that should be in everyone’s mental toolbox. A fresh piece of foam can double or triple the longevity of a chair, while new fabric can make a piece of furniture impervious to falling out of style. This can be a dream come true for anyone looking to save money, keep furniture out of the landfill and infuse a home with their own unique touch.
Don’t let intimidation prevent you from learning how to reupholster something. With the right materials and a little patience, anyone can master the art of upholstery. This DIY guide makes it easy by outlining all the materials and steps needed to take a garden-variety dining room chair from blah to brilliant. Once you finish one chair, you won’t be able to help yourself from making over an entire dining room set.
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Materials
- An old chair
- Screwdriver
- Random orbit sander
- Small pen sander
- Hand towel
- Danish oil, natural finish or your choice
- Needle-nose pliers
- Upholstery foam, 2 inches thick
- Marker
- Scissors
- Fabric, floral print
- Liner fabric, white
- Staple gun
- Staples
- Handheld clamp or vice, 2
- Electric screwdriver
- Drill bit
- Phillips-head bit
- Phillips-head screws, 4
Instructions
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1. Turn the chair upside down.
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Use the screwdriver to remove the screws attaching the cushion to the frame of the chair.
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2. Sand the large parts of the chair with the random orbit sander to remove old finish or paint.
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3. Use the pen sander with a rounded bit to sand small parts of the chair that have a lot of detail, such as grooved legs or decorative pieces.
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DIY Everywhere
4. After sanding, wipe the dust off the chair with a towel.
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5. Put the Danish oil onto the towel, then wipe evenly across the chair to give it a new finish. Follow the package instructions to determine the appropriate number of coats and drying time.
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DIY Everywhere
6. Remove all the fabric and foam from the cushion’s wooden base. Use the needle-nose pliers to remove any tacks or staples that might be in the way. Discard the fabric and foam but keep the wooden base.
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7. Place some 2-inch upholstery foam on the table. Set the wooden base on top and use it as a template to draw an outline on the foam. Set aside the base and cut the foam into the shape of the cushion.
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8. Lay a piece of printed fabric print-side down on the table. Place a piece of liner fabric on top of it. Cut the two pieces of fabric at least 6 inches wider and longer than the wooden base.
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9. Place the foam on the print fabric and liner, then the wooden base on top of the foam. Pull the edge of the printed fabric and liner up and over the bottom edge of the cushion. With the fabric pulled taut, staple it several times to the wood along the edge.
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11. Pull the fabric up and over the right edge, then staple once or twice at the corner. Repeat for the left side. Trim any excess fabric along the bottom edge as needed.
12. Repeat steps 10 and 11 for the top edge of the base.
13. Pull the fabric up and over one of the remaining sides, pull taut and staple several times along the edge. Trim any excess fabric and repeat for the last side.
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14. Turn the finished cushion right side up and check for any imperfections.
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15. Turn the chair frame and the cushion upside down. Clamp the cushion to the chair with the wooden base facing up.
16. Use a drill bit on an electric screwdriver to drill guide holes for the screws into the base.
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17. Insert a screw into each hole. Use a Phillips-head bit on the screwdriver to screw them in securely.
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18. Turn the finished chair right side up and enjoy.
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