Reupholstering a Wingback Chair Getting Started

What You'll Need
Approximately 11 yards of upholstery fabric (consult with the upholstery guide available at the fabric store for a more accurate amount)
1/2 " thick padding for the seat if it needs it
Rubber mallet
Needle nose pliers
Scissors (good quality, capable of cutting through thick fabric)
Staple gun and staples
Flexible jaw metal stripping
Cardboard stripping
Rigid metal stripping
Ice pick tool
Glue gun and glue sticks

Is that old, wingback chair you have moldering in the corner beginning to show signs of its true age? Does it have areas where the signs of wear and tear simply can't be covered up with a strategically placed throw? Or, does it simply no longer reflect your design taste or the theme of your room? Regardless of the reason, reupholstering that wingback chair can transform it back into the showpiece it once was. And think of the pride you'll have when you set your thumbs through your belt loops, rock back and forth on your heels and proclaim, "Yep, I reupholstered that there piece myself!"


Removing the Existing Fabric

Step 1

Try to remove the existing fabric from the chair without ruining them. This will allow you to use them as templates for when you are ready to cut from the new fabric. Use the needle nose pliers and begin removing the existing staples. When you remove a section of fabric, pin a note to it indicating which part of the chair it is.

Step 2

Place a section of the old fabric over the new fabric and cut out the new piece. Don’t forget to mark the new piece so you know exactly where it gets installed.

Step 3

If the chair has any work or bare spots, use the padding to fill them in. For instance, some wingback chairs have buttons that run up along the inside back of the chair. If you are not replacing the buttons, you will have to fill in the existing holes with padding to ensure a smooth finish.

Reupholstering the Back

Step 1

Take the section of fabric to be used for the back of the chair and drape it over the area. Tuck the sides in and pull them through the back of the chair. With one hand, pull the fabric tight and use the other to staple the fabric to the piece of wood that spans the back top of the chair. Trim away the excess fabric (approximately ¼" from the staples).

Step 2

Now pull the bottom part of the fabric through to the back of the chair and pull it tight. Staple this fabric to the upper wood bar on the backside of the chair. (There are two wood bars here, be sure to staple it to the top one and not the bottom one).

Step 3

Pull both sides of the fabric very tight and staple them to the wood frame.

In the next article, we'll go over reupholstering the seat and the arms.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Dave Donovan is a freelance copywriter living in Atco, NJ. An electrician for 15 years, an injury forced him to pursue his true passion - writing.