Folding Chair Makeover

Remember back in the day when everyone had a card table and chairs? Does anyone even register for those as a gift anymore? I did.... back in 1995 and I still have my set today. However, at this point I'd like to present the Oldest Folding Chair Set Award to my dad - my parents were married in 1964 and divorced in 1976, so somewhere in there they got the set, and he still has the set today and pulls them out at family functions!

I'm consistent with my taste -  I chose black & taupe back then and I still like black & taupe today - but, they could use an updated pattern. And of course, I have the perfect one - the fabric I made my kitchen awning in. Because if I ever do on occasion use my folding chairs, it's in the kitchen. Plus, because it has taupe & browns in the pattern too, it will still go with my living room if I use them out there. It's just a win-win fabric choice all around! 

This is my sad folding chair. It's actually not that bad considering I have seen worse, but it looks like it needs rescuing. At least mine already have a nice cushion and black metal so I don't have to paint that. If it was any other color, I'd be painting them black. So don't let that stop you from buying a set for a steal at a garage sale because it's easy to change the whole look. I even still have the remnants of the inventory sticker on the front of the seat. I will say right now I just used some GOO GONE and it came right off.

First, I flipped my chair upside down and you can see 4 white plastic self-tapping screws. I used a screw driver to pry up the side of the seat and just pulled up hard to get the seat to pop off.

Once my seat popped off, I could see the fabric was stapled (a million times) all around the piece of board. Since the board was so thin, it looked like all they used was a regular sized office stapler to staple down the fabric. Not really knowing what to expect, I had my staple gun ready with 3/8" staples. They'd be poking me in the hiney if I used those!

It very easily just came all up from pulling it with my hands. Once it was all off, I used the original fabric as a pattern for the new piece. I just laid it all flat and cut around it.

I decided to use my glue gun and glue the fabric back on instead of stapling. Partly because I was too lazy to go upstairs and look for a regular stapler and partly because I've glued fabric before and it stays really well. I figure since I use the chairs like 3 times a year (if that) glue is going to be just fine. Make sure you position your fabric (if it has a pattern) so it's going the right way when your chair is unfolded. I marked the top of my old fabric I was using as a pattern so I knew what was the top of the seat. So after gluing all around the edge and pulling the fabric tight, I popped the seat back on the chair. Beautiful!! Now for the back rest. My back rest had 3 screws I just unscrewed.

The backrest was made with the same thin board as the seat. I removed the fabric and recovered it the same way I did the seat, by using the old fabric as a pattern. Glued all around, pulling the fabric tight. Put back in place and screwed back on. Again, beautiful. What a difference!

After I did the first one, I was so excited to do the rest and it didn't take very long. Under an hour to do the whole set. And I even ironed each piece of fabric as I went. 

My table is still doing ok, although the top is a black vinyl and there are some knicks out of it. I'm thinking maybe using some cream colored canvas that will match the background of the chair fabric and recovering the table top... that way with canvas it'd be like it automatically has a table cloth on it & I wouldn't have to scramble at the last minute to come up with one! I'm not so sure that would work for easy clean up though. I'd have to look at it closer and see how it comes part. We'll see... 

Until then, I will enjoy pulling out my pretty chairs whenever we need additional seating. Are you trying to think where you stashed your set to pull out and recover? Go for it!! Just think of the possibilities with painting them and using updated cheery fabrics!

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  1. Jill!! You know how much I love this fabric. I really like how you used in on the folding chairs. What a beautiful set you have now!!


  2. LOL thanks Denyse! I know, I think I'm going to have to cut myself off from this fabric or commit myself to Le Jardin Fabric Pattern Anonymous! ;) I told myself I wasn't going to go crazy covering everything in sight with it, but these rarely make an appearance so that's OK! (so I tell myself!) ~Mama Ging

  3. This is such a fabulous idea!! The after is soooo much prettier! Love it!

  4. Thanks Jenna! Now that they look nice, I'm excited to use them if I can drum up a reason! ~ Mama Ging


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