Springtime Folding Chair Makeover

Posted by julia on Monday, April 28th, 2014

Spring is here and I thought it was high time to give my ugly old folding chairs a fresh new look! This project is easy and scores high in the little bit of work = big results category.

Riley Blake's laminate fabric has a wonderful soft hand, with a laminate coating on the top side, making it perfect for raincoats, lunchboxes, spill mats, tote bags and more.

These chairs are headed to the Spring International Quilt Market in Pittsburgh, so if you are there, be sure to stop by the Riley Blake booth and take a peek!

Here is what you will need:

  • an ugly old folding chair with fabric set cushion
  • a can of spray primer
  • a can of spray paint - color of your choosing
  • about 1/2 yard Riley Blake laminate fabric
  • about 1/2 yard batting
  • staple gun

Let's begin!.....

Take the flat side of a hammer and pry the fabric cushion seat off the chair.

With a screwdriver, unscrew the seat back cushion from the metal chair. Save the screws - you will need them to reattach the cushion later.

With the can of primer, spray the chair all over and let it dry (about 30 minutes to 1 hour). After your primer coat is dry, you can spray on the paint color of your choice. For lighter colors, you may need several coats (and 2-3 cans) of spray paint. For darker colors, 1-2 coats will be enough. For extra durability and protection, you may want to finish with a top clear coat.

While the primer is drying you can begin recovering the cushions. Starting at the center of each side, staple the fabric to the back of the chair, pulling gently as you go to smooth out wrinkles and to keep the fabric nice and taut. Work your way around, leaving the corners for last.

For the corners, Pull gently, trying not to let the fabric wrinkle or fold, and staple as you go.

Trim the fabric all around, leaving 1/4" - 1/2" excess. The seat cushion is now finished. Set it aside for now.

Take a piece of batting and cut it about 1" larger than your seat back cushion. You want it large enough to cover the front and fold over the back about 1". Do the same with a piece of laminate fabric. *The batting on the seat back helps provide a cushion so staples don't poke through.

Starting at the center top and bottom, staple while pulling the fabric taut. Be careful as you staple to check and make sure the staples aren't poking through to the front. In some areas, you may need to hold the staple gun at a slight angle.

Trim around the edges just like you did you the seat cushion. Now all you need to do is pop the seat cushion back into the chair seat and screw the seat back cushion into the chair back.

You are finished!

Category: Home Decor


  1. These are adorable! Fun way to spruce up old folding chairs, love it.
    by Sallyjean
    April 28th, 2014 at 5:46 a.m.
  2. Oh, I love this project! This looks like a lot of fun. Gotta try this.
    by Karen Nelson
    April 28th, 2014 at 6:57 a.m.
  3. What does the back look like? Would this work on outdoor chairs instead of fabric made for outdoors?
    by Debby
    April 28th, 2014 at 10:36 a.m.
  4. These chairs are so cute! I may have to try it sometime. BTW, the word is taut, not taught. As a former teacher and librarian, I just couldn't let that go. LOL :)
    by Trisha
    April 28th, 2014 at 11:19 a.m.
  5. Trisha, seriously thanks! I'm a bit nit-picky about spelling, too. I guess my 2a.m. brain was a bit muddled. I'll be sure to fix that. Debby, any fabric would work on these chairs. A lighter weight fabric would be less durable and would need a layer of batting on the seat, and a heavier outdoor fabric should work just fine. The back of the chair, as well as the entire chair surface (even underneath) is spray painted.
    by Julia
    April 28th, 2014 at 1:23 p.m.
  6. Love what u did. I have had a project like this on the brain and u did all the figuring and hard part for me. Thanks
    by Amelia
    April 29th, 2014 at 8:54 a.m.
  7. Julia, these are just adorable - so fun with the gingham, chevrons and polkadots!! What a great idea!
    by Deonn
    May 27th, 2014 at 9:05 a.m.
  8. Sooo cute!!! Shared on my blog! http://sewingmelissa.blogspot.com/2014/06/springtime-chair-re-make.html
    by melissa
    June 09th, 2014 at 9:27 p.m.

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