Yes it can be done if you have 7-8 hours to devote per day. This was a special project I did for a friend who owns a Dentistry Office. Probably the hardest part was actually finding a material that everyone liked in the office! LOL First it was pattern that was a concern and then if it would hold up with young kids. They have a fabric called Krypton and it can hold up to everything. If you pour something wet on the fabric it will bead right off! Perfect for kids and juice! If you live in Michigan there is a place on Hoover in Warren called “The Fabric Warehouse”. They are great there and a lot less expensive than Joann Fabric.
For this project I purchased 12 yards @ $13.00/ yard. I just barely had enough so I would suggest at least One yard extra especially if you need to line up patterns.
I ran this like an assembly line. First disassembling the chairs and then putting them all back together.
Tools you will need:
Staple gun preferably an automatic one to save on your hands. Thin reel of cardboard
Fabric adhesive (optional) Clothes pins (optional)
Hammer Needle nosed pliers Gloves Screw driver or Drill Sharp Scissors
Small nail/staple puller, there is also an upholstery staple puller that makes the job a little easier if you plan to do this as a hobby.
Tip: If you don’t think you will remember how you took everything apart take pictures with your cell phone and refer back to them. I found this to be a valuable tip in my upholster class.
To begin I flip the chair over and start pulling out all the staples using the small staple puller. Some I used my hammer to get up under the staples. Begin first removing the bottom mesh and lay it aside you will re-use these pieces. Continue pulling staples out along the bottom perimeter of the chair. When you are done with this you will need to carefully pry up the tack strips on both sides of the back rest. You will then flip the material over the back of the chair and carefully remove the tack strips from the piece of cloth you will also reuse them. At the top of the chair you will notice a thin piece of cardboard strip. You will not reuse this unless you are able to do so in one piece. It usually tears and is inexpensive enough to buy a Joann Fabrics.
Last but not least finish pulling out the staples on the back of the chair. Most chairs are held together with a few screws on the inside of the chair. Mine had 3 sets of screw on both sides. Remove them and the back cushion of your chair will come out. It makes it so much easier to re upholster.
Now pull all the material away from the cushions. You will use the old pieces as a pattern for cutting out your new material. It takes all the guess work out of measuring and cutting into corners. Keep in mind that if you have a pattern you will want that pattern to run from the back rest and match with the bottom cushion of the chair. To help me I folded my Old Material from the chair in half and marked the middle with safety pins on the top and bottom of each. Use these pins to help you line up your material.
For instance on my pattern I have a line pattern running down several places throughout the material and I simply lined my pins on the downhill pattern and began cutting each piece out. Just to be certain you should have one piece for the bottom cushion, one piece for the front of the back of the chair and one for the backing of the chair. 3 pieces total. Easy Peasy!
Now it is time for re-assembly!
Begin by laying out the fabric on the bottom of the chair folding it under the cushion in the corners only. Do not begin stapling. Now you want to lay your new fabric on the front of the back rest. Just to be sure it will line up with the bottom print slip it into place and make any necessary adjustments. You want the pattern to look straight if you have stripes or lines running through it. If it looks good then take your back rest and without moving the material I sprayed fabric adhesive on the right side and pressed the material down and then sprayed the left side and pressed the material in place. This is optional but found it help to hold the piece in place while working with it.
Switching gears I began working on the bottom cushion first. Start by pulling material around to the bottom of the chair carefully folding in the corners and making sure the material is pulled tight and flat. Start stapling from one side to the other just tacking it in place on all four sides. Then you can turn it over and make sure you get it really secured.
Now for the back rest! This may be a little more difficult if the back rest is curved. Start by stapling along the top; pulling it tight and flat. Then I moved to the bottom and finally each side. If you pull hard enough you will definitely get all the wrinkles out.
Voila! You are ready to insert the back into the chair and secure it with screws. With gloves on I laid my backing piece face down on the back rest of the chair and positioned my tack strips up against the ribs of the chair with the tacks pointing upward. Fold the material over the tacks pushing the tacks through.
Tip: I held my material and tack strips together with clothes pins. It kept the material from slipping off.
Turn the material about face with the fabric still facing down. Line a 1-1/1/2” overlap at the very top of the back rest. If you remember taking the cardboard piece out at the top you will have no problem understanding these instructions. Cut a piece of cardboard reel to length and begin stapling it in place just below the top edge of the chair. Definitely use quite a few staples here you do not want this area to come loose with wear.
Tip: I found using a magazine or something soft between the tack and the hammer helped keep the tack from pushing through the material.
Flip the material and tack strip towards you, tacks facing downward. Begin hammering the tack strips up near the ribs keeping the material flat as you go. It will look wrinkly in the middle until you pull the material around the bottom of the chair. Begin in the middle and then work over in each direction.
Last but not least, staple on your lower mesh. Can you believe it! You are done! Great job I am sure it looks fabulous! Would love it if people sent in pictures of their projects!