Welcome to Part Four of my How to Re-Cover a Dining Chair Series! In this section we’ll cover how to add the fabric panel to the backrest. Miss a step? Click the links below to view any part of the series!

 

Blog Post: No-Sew Dining Chair Transformation
Part One – Add the Batting
Part Two – Fabric the Seat
Part Three – Fabric the Seat Back
Part Four – Secure the Panel
Part Five – Dustcover

 

TIP: Click the tabs below to see the tools, materials and cut list.

 

Cost: About $25 per chair depending on price of fabric

Time: 1 hour

Difficulty: Moderate. While no sewing is required, adjusting and stapling the fabric in place takes time and patience.

Note: This list may contain affiliate links

Flexible Tape Measure
Staple Gun
Scissors
Mallet or Hammer
Tin Snips to cut the metal tack strips
Needle Nose Pliers to remove staples
Flathead Screwdriver to tuck fabric
Iron to smooth the folds and tighten the fabric

Note: This list may contain affiliate links

3/8-inch staples
Fabric – Get 2 yards per chair
Batting – Get 1½ yards per chair
Dust Cover Fabric – Get about ½ yard per chair

Seat

  • Width – Stretch the tape measure across the seat cushion. Pull the tape down around the edges of the cushion until you reach the inside edge of the wood framing below on each side.
  • Depth – Slip the tape measure between the seat cushion and backrest. Pull the tape down around the edges of the cushion until you reach the inside edge of the wood framing below at both the front and back of the seat.

Backrest

  • Height – Starting on the backside of the top edge (rolled or straight), stretch the tape up and over the top of the chair, down the front side, between the seat and backrest, along the back edge of the seat cushion, and down to the inside edge of the wood framing below.
  • Width – Stretch the tape measure across the backrest. Pull the tape around the edges of the cushion until you reach the inside edge of the wood framing on the backside.

Panel

  • Height – Measure from the top edge of the backrest (or from the wood beneath the rolled edge) down the backrest, past the seat cushion, and under the seat to the wood framing.
  • Width – Measure the full width of the backrest, and then add two inches for the tack strips.

Dust Cover

  • Width and Depth – Measure the total width and depth of the underside of the seat, and then add two inches to each measurement to allow the edges to fold under.

Tack Strip

  • Length – Measure from the underside of the roll to the bottom edge of the seat.

 

Steps

 

1. Attach the Fabric to the Top Edge

 

Flip the fabric for the top panel face down over the roll at the top of the backrest. Place a strip of cardboard (I’m using a 1 inch strip I cut from a cereal box) onto the fabric. The cardboard will help create a crisp edge once the fabric is flipped back over it. Now nestle the stapler up against the underside of the roll, and then staple through the cardboard and fabric, and into the wood strip. I like to start with a few staples near the center, and then flip the fabric over to make sure I’m running level. Staple ever ½ inch across the cardboard, stopping 3 inches from each edge.
How To Re-Cover a Dining Chair Part 4 by Build Basic - Step 1

www.Build-Basic.com2. Position the Fabric

 

Flip the fabric over the cardboard so that it lays right side up on the backrest. Pulling from the bottom edge of the fabric, center the panel. Now staple once through the fabric and into the wood frame on the underside of the seat to hold the fabric tautly in place.
How To Re-Cover a Dining Chair Part 4 by Build Basic - Step 2

www.Build-Basic.com3. Place the Tack Strip

 

Using tin snips, cut the metal tack strip to length. Position the tack strip inside the fold at the top of the panel. Now for the fun part–place the tack strip face up BESIDE the backrest. Pulling down slightly on the fabric, press the tip of the spikes through the fabric. If the fabric ends up loose or puckering between two spikes, just lift it out, and reposition.
How To Re-Cover a Dining Chair Part 4 by Build Basic - Step 3

www.Build-Basic.com4. Insert the Fabric onto the Tack Strip

 

Once the fabric is positioned, press the fabric fully onto the spikes on the strip. You won’t love these tack strips right now, but wait until the next step when they make you look like a pro.
How To Re-Cover a Dining Chair Part 4 by Build Basic - Step 4

www.Build-Basic.com5. Position the Tack Strip

 

Now roll the tack strip under so that it faces down toward the chair. Place the top of the tack strip against the underside of the roll. Press the tack strip into the backside of the chair, flush with its outside edge. Once the strip is in place, tap it with a mallet (I just used a hammer with a rag taped around the end) to install it. While this sounds hard, it actually glides right into the chair and makes a beautiful, crisp edge. Repeat steps 3-5 to secure the fabric on the opposite side.
How To Re-Cover a Dining Chair Part 4 by Build Basic - Step 5

www.Build-Basic.com6. Notch the Fabric

 

Notch the fabric at the backside of each leg to create the tab. Using a flathead screwdriver, tuck the tab up and under the existing fabric.
How To Re-Cover a Dining Chair Part 4 by Build Basic - Step 6

www.Build-Basic.com7. Staple the Flap

 

Pull the remaining base of the fabric taut, and then staple it to the underside of the seat.
How To Re-Cover a Dining Chair Part 4 by Build Basic - Step 6

www.Build-Basic.com8. Corner Detail

 

This isn’t a step, just a close-up photo to show how the finished corner looks.
How To Re-Cover a Dining Chair Part 4 by Build Basic - Step 8

www.Build-Basic.com9. Add the Dustcover

 

Now let’s Go To Part Five where I show how to add the dustcover.
How To Re-Cover a Dining Chair Part 4 by Build Basic - Step 9

www.Build-Basic.com

 

MORE BUILDING PLANS

 

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