How to upcycle kitchen chairs

How to upcycle kitchen chairs

How to upcycle kitchen chairs (and make them child-friendly)

There’s no point crying over spilt milk, however there is a point in re-covering the kitchen chairs.

When we moved into our new (to us) house a few years back, we got a new (to us) set of dining table and chairs. Trying to create a country feel to the kitchen we opted for a upcycled shabby-chic look, you know the style, painted legs and polished wooden top on the table with painted chairs and a fabric seat cover.

Well after 3 years of our little cherubs testing the absorbency and general magnetic attraction for jam or spagbol on them, the time has finally come to re-cover them.

The original fabric was a white cotton with a pretty flower print (ideal for a household with 2 young children!!!). Learning from our original mistake we wanted to find a fabric which we could wipe clean. We quickly discounted the classic PVC oilcloth on the basis that it would be uncomfortable to sit on. After a little more research we came across vinyl coated cotton, which comes with either a matt or gloss finish.

As the vinyl finish is applied to a printed cotton the fabric retains a softness and a more natural movement when compared to PVC oilcloth, plus you can wipe it!! Vinyl coated cotton is ideal for table cloths so you can buy it by the meter, we prefered the matt finish as it was the softer of the two choices.

For this project I needed the following gear;

  • Covering fabric (enough to cover 6 chairs – we used approx 1.5meters of Vinyl coated cotton)
  • Screwdriver or cordless drill with screwdriver attachment/setting
  • Heavy duty stapler and staple remover (both can be picked up in most hardware stores)
  • Ruler
  • Scissors or rotary cutter

So first things first, I removed the seat top by flipping the seat over and using a cordless drill I removed the 3 retaining screws.

Once the top was off I can see that the old fabric was help on with some pretty serious staples. I took it to my cutting table and set about removing these all the way around, I’m not sure they needed 30 to hold it in place, but they all have to come out nonetheless.

Luckily the fabric was actually a second covering, so the original cover could stay in place.

With the old removed fabric to hand I lay it flat out to measure and cut a replacement from the new fabric. I had to make sure the pattern was the right way round, but if you’re smart you could get away with less fabric for a plain or random pattern.

I take the newly cut fabric and centre the cushioned seat on it. I test to make sure all sides when pulled up would have room to be stapled. Once happy with the allowance I set about stapling in place, I begin on the back centre working out and round to the front.

The stapling can get a bit tiresome after a bit, a lot like the removing of the old ones, but it’s worth concentrating and keeping a good downward pressure as otherwise it could result in a bit of a baggy cover, and we don’t want that now do we?!

As I come to the corners I make sure that I pull them tight and create a little gather under and staple the fold in place, I have to do about 3 or 4 of these tucks around each corner to keep the tension looking good.

Once it’s securely stapled all the way around I trim back any excess from the gathered corners and set about replacing the seat to the frame, being careful not to over tighten the screws and damage the fabric or chair top.

That’s it…well that’s one of them anyway. Just 5 more to go!

I must say they were really simple to do, and now they’ll be ready for a good few more years of spilt drinks and sticky hand wiping…..I wonder if I could clothe the kids in this stuff too?

Until next time,

Matt Chapple, winner of the Great British Sewing BeeMatt x

The stitcher. A magnet for foolery & prankster at heart. Loves being creative, whether with some wood and a saw or with a needle and thread. Attempts to disguise his past time activities as manly pursuits, but is actually pretty handy at sewing!


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