Fabric Sample Chair Seat Re-Cover Tutorial

  Welcome to my first ever DIY on GypsyYaya!  I am constantly DIY-ing this and that but I am terrible at cataloging my progress.  Either I don't even realize my project is worth sharing until it's done, or I forget to take pictures until I'm halfway through :(   But I am officially getting organized to share my many creative projects with ya'll!  So here goes...

  This DIY is a little less about the Do It Yourself aspect as it is about the material resource.  My mantra is always "Inspired Not Expensive".  If I can find a way to do something using a potentially "wasted" resource instead of buying something new- I do. These resources always tend to be much cheaper and require more creativity, which for me is much more rewarding than heading to a big box store to buy off the shelf.  Saving money while impacting the environment less just feels good to me.

   Awhile back I stumbled upon a bin full of discontinued fabric samples at a gorgeous fabric store.  They were the most succulent bits of fabrics in amazing global patterns and colors.  I had no idea what I would use them for, but for 99 cents a piece I snagged several of them just in case.  The pieces range in size but most are square and about the size of a dining chair seat or large floor pillow.  Then voila!  My idea was born.

DIY Chair Seat Re-Cover Using Cheap Fabric Samples!

This was a super easy project that took me less than half an hour to complete and cost a total of 99 cents!  I already had all the tools on hand and you probably do to.

The Tools~
A Heavy Duty Staple Gun & Staples To Attach Fabric
A Hammer To Tap In Any Unruly Staples
A Screwdriver To Remove The Seat
Scissors To Trim Fabric Edges

An Old Chair In Need Of A Re-Do (Or An Entire Dining Table Chair Set) ~
I found this chair at a thrift store in New Orleans and I love it dearly.  It was one of my few surviving furniture pieces after Hurricane Katrina so I cherish it!  It definitely needed a little freshening up since the old fabric covering had pretty much rotted off.  The stain is quite dinged up but I like it that way, it gives it some soul and character. I would love to do a set of 4 dining chairs in mis-matched patterns with coordinating colors. I love that look. Very bohemian.

The Fabric~
You can easily find beautiful fabric samples at your local fabric store.  Aim for a store that stocks high end and designer fabrics. They almost always have a bin with discontinued fabric samples or remnants for next  to nothing.  If you don't feel like finding a fabric store or don't have one nearby you can also find these on ETSY.  You can find entire lots of them for 7 or 8 dollars.  And of course watch your local thrift store.  I often see them hanging in the linen section for 50 cents a piece. Incidentally the piece I'm using for this chair came from a Goodwill and I paid a whole 49 cents for it. Sweet!

Start by taking your chair apart. This is usually a piece of cake involving nothing more than unscrewing the four corner screws from the bottom. Set them aside for later. I usually wipe out any crud from the crevices that I couldn't get to before during this step. 

Flip your seat over and position your fabric. The pattern on my piece of fabric isn't evenly spaced but hey, there is beauty in imperfection.  Hold the fabric tightly and staple around the edges. Start on one side, then do the opposite side to maintain an even edge. Save the corners for last and keep the staples about an inch from the edge. 

Fold the corners in a "V" shape- first hold down the middle and fold over from either side. Staple in place and make sure you are not covering the original screw holes. It will be nearly impossible to put the screws through the fabric without destroying it. Trim all the excess fabric about half an inch from the staples. I used the hammer to make sure all the staples were tapped in at this point. Screw the seat back in place.

Finished! The floor pillow in the picture was also made using 99 cent fabric samples. One for the front and one for the back. The fabric is very durable and when it's so cheap you won't think twice about tossing them on the floor and lounging around on them. My husband uses this floor pillow daily. I plan to make more for comfy movie watching on the floor-but that's another tutorial!
I hope you are inspired with some new ideas! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to leave a comment below and I'll be happy to help you out!



  1. So very nice piece you have created, Andrea! I always thought uphosltering is such a difficult task that a woman cannot do alone :D But, the way you explain it, I think I might dare the the same experiment one day :)
    Lovely cushion, too!

  2. good job! Looks awesome! I just recently turned down some free chairs because they looked awful. Now I know what to do!

  3. Zara! It's not nearly as hard as you imagine! You could totally do it. It's actually kinda fun :)

  4. Holly,
    Thanks! And...
    Never turn down free chairs! Just kidding, but it's pretty cool what you can do with some old stuff and a little creativity isn't it?!


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