How to Reupholster a Chair Back

We’ve covered how to take care of a chair seat. You may also want to tackle a chair’s back, however. This tutorial just requires some temporary fabric tacks, adhesive and a staple gun to get your various layers attached to the chair. Learn how to take care of a chair back below.

  1. You’ll have to start by Frankensteining the chair apart. Depending on how the chair is built, this could require several different methods to get the fabric off the chair back. You may have to unscrew parts, use a staple remover that can handle staple gun staples, cut fabrics and other materials or perhaps jimmy pieces apart with a screw driver.
  2. You’ll need several layers:
  • If the chair has an open back, you’ll need a layer of fabric that people will see from the back.
  • Upholstery foam for some padding.
  • A layer of plain cotton fabric to smooth out the foam.
  • For added comfort and a smooth effect, you’ll have a layer of polyester batting.
  • Then the top layer of fabric.
  1. Measure your optional first layer that may show out the back. The easiest way to do this is to get some old fabric, hold it up to the chair and cut where you want the fabric to end on the chair. You can use that as a template for your new fabric. Then cut the fabric against that template.
  2. Staple the measured first layer of fabric to the chair back.
  3. You can start layering here if the chair is not open back. Measure your foam with your fabric template. Secure the foam onto the chair with a spray adhesive.
  4. Measure the same way and use the spray adhesive to apply the plain cotton.
  5. Measure and apply the polyester batting. You’ll only need a few staples on this.
  6. This step is a little different. You’ll need to take extra care, since it’s the outside fabric. Don’t cut the fabric. Just apply the fabric to the chair with temporary tacks. This is so you can see just how you want it to measure and lay. Staple in place around the edges and then trim the fabric from there.
  7. Cover your staples by adding some trim, applying with some fabric glue.
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