This has been a project at least a year in the making since I bought these really worn out dining chairs on craigslist for $40 for a set of 6.
The fabric was torn and the padding dry rotting. My kids had a field day pulling it apart every night at dinner. I had originally hoped to save the caned back but they were just too damaged. So for a year we sat on them and ate and thought about how to make them pretty again. Eventually I fell in love with the Summer Blooms in Navy fabric from Spoonflower and decided it would look amazing on the back of our dining chairs. And so the idea to pad the back of the chairs was born.
The first thing we did was remove the bottom cushions. Then using an exacto knife my husband cut away the caning.
To make a foundation for our new chair back cushions we cut underlayment to fit the chair frame. Below you can see my husband tracing out the cuts using the back of the chair as a template,
We cut our two panels for each chair. One for the front and one for the back.
For the padding I used an old mattress topper that we had laying around. I used the wood backers we had cut as templates on the foam and fabric.
To create the front cushion I laid down a piece of fabric, the foam, then the backerboard. Using a pneumatic staple gun I started at the tops and bottom pulling the fabric as tight as possible. Then finishing all four sides.
I did this for all 6 fronts and then all 6 backs. For the backs I replaced the foam with a light batting. The back doesn’t really need batting; however, the white flowers on my fabric were somewhat opaque and I didn’t want the brown backer board to show through.
While I was putting the chair backs together I was also spray painting the chair frames white. I used a paint and primer in one to make it go quicker. Once the frames were dry we attached the new backs to the chair frames with the pneumatic staple gun. We attached the cushioned pieces one at a time, first the back then the front. When we were done the back looked perfect.
However, on the front we had to figure out how to cover not only the staples, but also the large gap created between the two backer pieces and the frame.
The solution was to used a large corded trim we found at Joanne’s fabric. I attached it using a hot glue gun.
While I was finishing up the trim, Cody recovered the seat cushions. He kept the original foam cushion but covered them in an additional layer of heavy batting before covering them in the blue duck cloth we picked out. Again this was all attached with a pneumatic staple gun.
And finally we were all done!
They barely look like the same chairs anymore!
The fronts are covered in a navy blue duck cloth which were hoping will be durable for the kids. The back is just cotton but I love the unexpected floral pattern.
Total this makeover came in at about $20 a chair including the original purchase of the chairs. Hard to beat that!
Stay tuned for our new dining table made from reclaimed wood and metal!