October 29th 2007
archived under: Crafts, Decor, Home & Garden, Step by Step Crafts

I’ve been wanting to re-cover my office chair for a while… to match my bulletin board.

Then, this post from Design*Sponge reminded me recently, and I finally got off my butt to do it. However… I wish I had a chair like theirs, because the top part (the part your back leans on) on mine cannot completely snap out of the plastic frame. WISH IT COULD.

Also… I am very much a visual learner. SO… I like to cater to visual learners too. I needed WAY more photos than two “after” shots. So here is my version.

To begin: One Ugly Office Chair

Turn it over, and unscrew the seat from the base. Very simple, indeed.

Rip off the ugly useless cardboard if you feel like it, then lay the seat on your fabric, making sure the fabric is facing the right way if it is patterned.

Staple the straight sides using a staple gun.

Don’t work clockwise or counter-clockwise… work with opposing sides (like left, then right, then top, then bottom).

After that, pull each corner point as far in as it can go…

and staple the four corners with one staple each.

At each corner, now you have two “pockets” of fabric. Put your finger in the center of each pocket, then flatten it to the bottom of the seat to make a pleat. Staple each pleat.

Now you will have two pleats at each corner, for a total of eight.

Do some extra stapling wherever you feel it’s necessary, then trim your fabric pretty close to the staples, but not too close.

Now, cut a piece of muslin about the size of the chair bottom. Folding the edges under, staple the fabric to cover up the edges of your pretty fabric. Again, do top, bottom, right, left (or similar).

I folded the corners under separately too, because I felt like it.

Feel around for the screw-holes and then poke some holes in the muslin with a pair of scissors.

Now you’re ready to screw on the base again. (See the holes?)

So… screw it on!

If you’re lucky, like the folks at Design*Sponge, you will be able to pry the backrest of your chair off for its makeover. If you’re unlucky like me, you’ll need to use some biceps. I borrowed some biceps for my chair-prying.

The backrest doesn’t actually pop off… it’s still connected in the middle. So this stinks.

But it’s workable. Lay your backrest on some fabric, or some fabric on the backrest, and trace around it. Then cut around the tracing, giving yourself several inches on all sides. LEARN FROM MY ERROR: leave more wiggle room than I did! It will make life MUCH easier.

Make a running-stitch around the edge of your backrest fabric with some heavy thread (I used embroidery floss). The thread color doesn’t matter, because no one will see it.

Sit the fabric on the backrest, and pull the string to gather. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to tie the string ends together when it’s nice and gathery. If you’re unlucky, like me, your string will break.

Starting at the bottom, and working your way up both sides (and then to the top of course), tuck the fabric edges in-between the cushioned part and the plastic part of the chair back. A flat-head screwdriver is good for this. Then, snap the plastic back in place (just squeeze really hard and it’ll snap).

Voila! Your office chair is no longer ugly!

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