Our parish had a yard sale fundraiser a couple of weeks ago to raise money for this summer’s mission trip to Ecuador and we helped plan the event.  Everything in the sale was donated by parishioners, including these two ladies:
Although sturdy, they looked a little sad – the fabric on the seats was worn and the bamboo was discolored and stained in many spots.  So, I did what anyone with a tooth for a project did, I snatched them up and told them I’d make them over so that they could sell them for much more than the $5 a piece they were asking.  :D

So I did.

And here’s how.

First I removed the seats.  You can see they were just attached by four screws, screwed in through metal brackets at the four corners under the seat.

Then I gave the bamboo a quick vacuum with a bristled vacuum attachment and scrubbed them down with some soap and water - I used a wet toothbrush to clean out crevices and to remove a little grime and a damp washcloth to clean the rest.

Once clean, I took them outside to be painted.  I used Rustoleum spray paint in white and to make sure I covered every inch of the chairs that would be seen, I first painted the chairs upside down.  This enable me to get underneath the curves on the backrest and places under the chair that might be seen from above.

I covered most of the underside of the chair but I didn’t waste paint with parts that definitely wouldn’t be seen.  Also, I sprayed two coats for good coverage – I painted the second coat about 30 minutes after the first.

After the underside was dry, I flipped the chairs over and sprayed them standing upright.

Here’s where all that painting got me:

Next came the seats.

Lots of staples had to be removed in order to freshen these babies up.  To remove them, I used a small flathead screwdriver to pry them up and a needle-nose pliers to pull them out.

First I started by removing the black backing.

Then I removed the piping.
I removed the old piping material from the piping itself because the original intention was to redo the piping with the new fabric.  But, in the end, it turned out the chairs didn’t really need the piping…which was good because I didn’t have a ton of time to finish these and I had never made my own piping before.

After I started removing the actual seat material on one of the chairs, I realized that it wasn’t foam underneath but a sort of loose fiber.  We debated on just buying new foam to fit to the seats but then ditched that for the easier route – simply putting the new fabric over the old.  The old fabric wasn’t gross, just worn and faded, so it worked out well to skip a few steps! 

To make sure the new geometric fabric (a mustard-colored curtain panel we purchased at Kohl’s) was straight, I first laid the seat right on top of the fabric, which was upside down so that the wrong side of the fabric was facing the top of the seat.  Then I eyeballed it, making sure it was right in the center of the design.
Then, while I wrapped the fabric around to the underside, Anthony stapled.  We did the front (straight edge) of the seat first followed by a few staples at the back center.  Then we did the sides and front corners.  Last we did the rest of the back; around the curved corners.  I wish we had more hands to take pictures because, while it seems fairly easy, there’s a lot of pulling and folding involved to make sure there are no folds along the sides of the seat.  These seats were a little more difficult since they were rounded at the back; a squared seat (like this one) would’ve been a lot easier.

We did one seat one night and the next seat a couple of nights later.  While I love the outcomes of recovering seats, the process isn’t the most fun past time so you can imagine how glad I was after that last staple was in on the last seat…and then you can imagine my grief when I set both seats on their bamboo counterparts and realized the ikat design on one was opposite the other:
This is what happens when you do projects while the kids are awake.  #facepalm #facepalm #facepalm

Out came lots of staples and in went more and finally, we had it right and almost done.  Before our last step, which you’ll see below, I made sure that none of the screw holes were completely covered by layers of fabric, making it really difficult if not impossible to get the seat back on the chairs.  I simply cut around the holes if there was too much fabric over them or cut a small hole in the fabric above the holes if I couldn’t cut around them.  Hopefully that makes sense.  Again, I didn’t take pictures of the underside of the seats once we were finished upholstering them (rookie mistake!) but you can see similar scenarios in this post and this one.

The next and last step was covering the underside of the seats.  Because we opted to cover over the old fabric, some of it was peeking out from under the new on the underside of the seat.  Of course nobody really looks under there but it bothered me.  So, I grabbed some interfacing we had left from covering the bottom of the loveseat, and stapled it on there.

First, I cut out a piece a little larger than the area I wanted covered and centered it over the area, placing two staples in the middle to hold it in place.
The interfacing I used was fairly thin and allowed me to see the edge of the fabric underneath so I just grabbed a scissors and cut it to size, making sure I was cutting it so that it overlapped the edge of the fabric.  Then I stapled it in place.

Much cleaner.

And that’s it!

Do you have upholstering chairs under your belt?  My friends Pam and Oscar are in the process of doing their dining room chairs and look how great they’re turning out!  I love the floral fabric they chose!

And my friend Natasha did hers too!  So classy, right?

It’s a really simple update anyone can do!  Like I said above, the more square the cushion, the easier but if you can tug and pull, you can tackle any shape!

bamboo chair

.           .           .

P.S.  If you live in the Mobile area and are interested in buying these lovely ladies (or even just one…they’d make great desk chairs!), email me at

P.P.S.  A huge virtual hug and cheeky kiss to all of you who voted for my outfit for the Goodwill Fashion Challenge!  I got second place – a $100 gift card to Goodwill!  I’m going to pass on a small token of appreciation to one lucky voter so if you voted, keep your eyes peeled because that just might be you!  I’ll pick a winner before the end of the week!  Seriously, thanks again!


  1. Replies
    1. Me too!! Now if I can just find a place in my house for them, I'll just buy them right up! ;)

  2. They turned out so great! A few years ago, I painted and recovered two chairs that I bought at an antique store and I'm itching to redo them. Maybe I'll add it to my summer projects? LOVE the fabric you chose too.

    1. Isn't that the best thing about chairs? You can refurbish them one time and then a year or two later, or when the wind blows a different direction, you can completely change them again? I love it! If you ever think of it, send pictures! I'd love to see! :)

  3. Those look amazing!! I seriously love them! I just NEED you to come here and go with me to my local Goodwill, I NEED your vision! :)

    1. Thanks Natalie!! I will be there stat...that would be so fun! :)

  4. My summer project is to repaint a vanity and accompanying bench stool and recover the stool to make it into my sewing table. I've never recovered anything but I think this will be easy enough.

    I love how those chairs turned out!

  5. What? How?! You do all these amazing things that look so hard to me (and with kiddos on top of it!). I am thoroughly impressed - you rock and those chairs look great! I hope they sold quickly! (I can't see how they wouldn't)

    1. I had Anthony's help on these Kristina! Definitely could not have done them by myself! And so far they haven't sold!!!! Darn!