(Ugly Duckling) Chair Progress- Tutorial #1

Seeeee...I am working on it:


I have to admit, this chair is the biggest pain in the you-know-what. Whoever made it must have thought that staples were the best thing ever invented...that, or they were testing out (and having a lot of fun with) their staple gun.

So Im at a few hundred staples and counting, but Im almost there. Yippee! Then comes the fun part of choosing a fabric to reupholster with.

Im going to give you a few separate tutorials on how to re-do a chair like this. I have to let you know that this is not an easy project- definitely the hardest one Ive done yet. It takes a lot of patience and time. There may have been a few times when I wanted to throw the chair out the window, but we wont talk about those ;)

So here's how to begin (and dont forget to take pictures of everything as you go, so you remember what the chair looked like to begin with!):

You'll need (for Tutorial Part 1):
- Camera
- Scissors
- Flat Head Screwdriver
- Plyers
- A LOT of patience

1. Take of the main cushions that are sitting on the chair and set aside (easy peasy).

2. Remove the screws underneath the seat to release the lower cushion.:

3. Slowly take apart the seat base.You want to save all of the fabric as you go, since it will become your template for the new fabric you choose for the chair:

4. The seat is now off the chair, but we need remove the fabric from the seat. Begin removing all of the staples from the seat. The staple removing will take you the longest and can be most time consuming part of the process. I used a flat head screwdriver to pull up the staples and then a pair of plyers to remove them completely.

5. Take your seat and turn it over. Use the screwdriver to pull up the old fabric and loosen some of the staples on the seat. Then use your plyers to pull the old staples out:

6. Once you have removed the staples from the seat, slowly pull off the fabric as you go, as you want to save this fabric for later, to use as a template.

7. After you have finished that, we will need to start working on taking the back cushion off the chair frame. Again, you want to save as much of this fabric as you can, so that you can use it for a template later on. Use the same process as before. Using your screwdriver to pull up the staples, and then using your plyers to pull them out completely:

8. Once you have your back cushion off the chair it may look simlar to this (upside down):

You will want to save this for later, if you plan on using the fabric covered buttons on the chair again, and if not, for a template.

Your chair will now look like this:

Main cushion off, main seat off and back cushion off. Now to remove the back padding of the chair (this part has taken me the longest so far).

9. Begin by loosening the staples again. Again, save as much fabric as you can without ripping it too much. Dont worry about saving the piping around the edges. You'll have to make new piping (which I will give you a tutorial on later) to match your new fabric choice.

10. Use your plyers to get under the staples and remove them. Try not to damage the wood too much, especially if you plan on staining the chair:

After this stage is complete, you are working with your empty frame, and can begin working on the frame itself.
I have decided on staining my chair, rather than painting it, and going with a light coloured fabric. 

In the next tutorial, I will show you my empty frame (Im almost there!) and the next step :)

Thanks for bearing with me on this one, its a tough (but hopefully rewarding) project!


  1. Wow ! I admire your bravery and diligence on this project Melissa. I just know you will create a piece you will be very proud of. I am anxious to see the finished product :)

  2. Great chair, but I had to comment: WHERE did you get those pliers?!? Holy cow! I did a double-take on those! They are awesome!

  3. Thanks so much Arlene! :)

    LOL! Thanks Shelly! I got them at HomeSense on clearance...had to buy them- they came in a set. Maybe I'll blog about them this week ;)


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