How to Cover a Dining Chair Seat

Some dining chairs have seats that are part of the chair frame. Other  dining chairs have seats that can be removed from the chair. This article applies to covering a removable dining chair seat with a solid plywood base.

This will also show  you how to cut the plywood, the foam, and the fabric for the seat.

Fabric: The typical dining chair seat of this type takes about 2/3 yard (24") of 54" wide plain fabric for each 2 chair seats. The fabric for each seat is cut 1/2 the width of the fabric (27") wide by 24" deep. If you have a patterned fabric that requires matching, then you should allow more fabric. This video only applies to using plain fabric.

Foam: For a dining chair seat you can use 1", 1 1/2", or 2" foam. We recommend the the foam have a density of 2 1/2 lb to 3 lb, and between 42 to 52 ILD. For further information, see Foam for Upholstery. Cut the foam 1/2" wider than the wood base all the way around. For example, if your wood base it 20" X 16", then you would cut the foam 21" X 17". However, Dining chair seats are generally wider in the front than in the back, so you will have to take that into consideration. and that's all.

Wood base. We recommend using a 1/2" plywood for the base. After cutting the plywood to size, round the corners slightly and dull all the  sharp edges, with either a router or a metal object.

The Process:

Mark the middle on the seat on the bottom on the front and the back of the wood base. Glue the foam onto the wood base. The foam should overhang the wood about 1/2" all the way around the seat.

Mark the center of underside of the fabric on the front and back of the fabric. Use a marker that won't bleed through the fabric. A woodworker's pencil or tailors chalk are good markers.

Spread out the fabric face down on a clean surface. Lay the wood base top down in the center of the fabric. Line up the center marks of the wood base and the fabric.

When stapling, run the length of the staple to go the same as the edge of the wood.

To keep everything in place, put heavy weight, or your knee, or your elbow in the center of the wood base. Using a webbing pliers or your hands, pull the front of the fabric around to the bottom of the wood base. Put a couple staples loosely in the front. Go to the back of the seat and pull and staple the fabric the same as on the front.

Note, While we are lining up the fabric, we only use a few staples to keep everything in place. Sometimes we may have to readjust the fabric so we don't want a lot of staples in the fabric yet.

Pull the center of each side and put one staple loosely in each side. You should now have the fabric stapled in a cross shape, with the four corners loose.