The living room chair is finally ready to move on the upholstery part of this project! I ordered my fabric from from fabric.com awhile ago based on the measurements I took from the pieces of fabric I pulled off the chair. Here’s what I used for this first part of the upholstery process:
- Staple gun (Manual Staple Gun or Pneumatic Staple Gun)
- Fabric (Linked Navy Blue)
- Upholstery Foam
I started by measuring out the pieces of fabric I needed based on the fabric I pulled off the chair. I used this as a guide and add an extra 2-3 inches around the sides just to be on the safe side. I started with the fabric that lines the back of the chair here. I also measured out fabric to cover the seat cushion (not pictured).
Next, I set up my air compressor and pneumatic staple gun. I LOVE my staple gun. A manual staple gun will work, but after a few upholstery projects I switched to a pneumatic one which is much easier to use. I bought the compressor and staple gun from Amazon and the connector cord from Home Depot (see supplies for links).
Next, I folded the fabric in half to center it across the back of the chair.
Once I placed the fabric, I stapled 4 staples at the center of each of the edges, making sure the pull the fabric taught. I push down on the tip of the stapler, then pull the trigger. Stapling in the center of each side helps center the fabric and makes sure the fabric doesn’t pull all over the place as you’re stapling around the edges. I placed the staples just inside the channel because the actual back cushion will be stapled to the chair inside the channel. I avoid stapling in the same area twice because I don’t want to accidentally hit another staple.
After I centered the fabric, I stapled along the edges about 1/2″ to 3/4″ apart, then cut the excess fabric off along the edges. I left about 1/4″ of fabric around the sides.
Tip: Using a geometric fabric provides a guide for straightening out the fabric. It takes a little more attention to keep it straight. If you don’t want to worry about this, use a floral or abstract pattern without a clear grid.
My chair had two seat pieces: the chair bottom screwed to the bottom of the chair and a cushion that laid on top of that. I thought about covering these separately which would require me to cover the bottom of the chair, and sew a cushion cover as well. Instead, I opted to cover the two pieces together and skip the sewing (which looked a little daunting). This also saved me from having to remove all the fabric around the two pieces as well. I love a good shortcut.
I started by cutting out a piece of fabric large enough to cover both pieces and centered the two seat pieces in the center top side down.
Next, I stapled wrapped the fabric around and placed a staple at the center of each edge. Again, this is to make sure the fabric stays straight and doesn’t move off center during the stapling process.
Since I was putting two pieces together, there was a gap in the front corners of the seat. I took some old scrap upholstery foam cushion to fill in the empty space, making sure the seat cushion looked filled out after the new fabric was wrapped around. You can also use pillow stuffing for this as well. The foam is just what I had on hand.
Tip: Since I used a piece of foam, I tapered the edges by cutting the edges at an angle so it would lay smoothly and transition into the sides of the seat cushion.
Next, I stapled around front of the seat cushion, leaving about 3-4 inches from the corners. In order to get a clean corner, I folded the fabric to create a clean edge. This is what I call the hospital corners method (or how you tuck a flat sheet when you make a bed) and stapled the fabric to the back.
I repeated the same process for the other corner and continued stapling around the sides.
My chair seat rounded in the back and started to pucker as I was moving towards the back, so instead of forcing it to wrap around (which can turn out super ugly), I made two intentional folds in the back to help the fabric lay flat. By doing this, I was able to make the fabric lay flat and have symmetrical folds on both sides of the chair.
After making the folds, I was able to finish stapling all the way around the seat.
The chair is really starting to come together! Keep following this series to see how I finish up the upholstery with tufted buttons and cording!