Recovering Your Dining Seats
What was your last dining experience at home like? Do you remember it? If so, did you enjoy it?
Do you remember when you looked forward to having a nice meal at home? It was always a treat to sit down, smell the delicious aromas, and dig into your favorite meal. If lately you have been finding that you and your family are rushing to eat and not taking the time to savor one of life's simplest pleasures, the family meal; you have to wonder why?
Now look at the chairs around your dining room table. Do you remember when you first got them? New and soft and comfortable. It made dining a wonderful experience. Now when you sit on them are they worn and dirty? Is the material ripped or cracked? If this is the case, maybe you need to recover your dining seats.
Now many of us are on a tight budget and cannot afford to have them done professionally, however it is a reasonable project that can be undertaken by the patient do-it-yourselfer.
• Lets recover your dining seats.
First of all you must remove all of the old material and worn padding from the dining seat. Most often you will find that the seats are attached with screws, so we will discuss this type of dining seat. If your dining seat is one piece, or has springs for padding, we suggest that you get them done by a qualified professional.
To remove the old material, simply unscrew the seats from the frame and cut the old material away, exposing the padding underneath. The material and tacks or staples left on the underside of the seat can be removed with a small flathead screwdriver or a tack remover.
If the padding is attached to the seatboard this can be removed, or if it is still good, it may be reused and softened by adding a little new padding, such as terylene or cotton felt. Many modern seats have foam padding, so we will assume that this is what you have. The foam may be glued down, so you can tear it away with your hands and scrape the remaining bits off.
Now you have a clean board to work with. First you must put the new padding on. You will probably need 1"-2" foam of your desired firmness (soft to hard). Lay your board on top of your foam and trace an outline of it, be sure to leave about 1/4" all around. Now you may cut the foam out with a sharp knife or scissors. Glue the foam to the board with a good adhesive glue, centering the board on the foam.
As an option, for extra padding, you may now add a layer of terylene or cotton padding. This adds to the thickness and plushness of the seat, but it is optional. This padding is lightly glued to the foam, using only enough glue to keep the padding from moving around, too much glue will gum up the padding and make it lumpy.
You are now ready for the material. We suggest that for four (4) average dining seats that you require between 1 1/2 to 2 yards of material. This gives you enough excess to allow you to attach the material with some margin of error. Leave about 1 1/2" of fabric all around. For first time upholsters we also suggest that you use a plain fabric your first time as it is easier to work with since there are no patterns to match or stripes to line up.
Attaching the material (using a staple gun is easiest) you start from back to front first by stapling the fabric at the center of the back of the seat, and then stapling at exactly the same point on the front of the seat. Mark it out with a pencil beforehand. Be sure to make the fabric tight enough so that there are no wrinkles forming, but do not over tighten or you will pull the material out of shape.
Now repeat this either side of the seat. Remember to make your center marks before you start.
Now for the corners. Simply pull the material over the corners and staple, checking for tightness, and watching for wrinkles. Start with the front corners, and then do the back.
Once the corners are done to your satisfaction, staple the remaining fabric to the board working your way from the corners to the center marks. Again watching for tightness and wrinkles.
Remember, if you make a staple that you don't like, just remove it and try again.
Now that you have the fabric on, cut away the excess material and cover the rough underside with a piece of material or cardboard, or a dustcover. Just cut a piece of material to cover the rough underside and staple directly over the exposed edges.
All that is left now is to fasten your seats back to the chair frames.
Now that you have a newly upholstered dining set you will probably find yourself lingering over dinner as you probably won't be in such a rush to get up from the dining table with your dining seats now looking and feeling just like new.
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