OPP: Reupholstering Bamboo Chairs

As there has been a delay in work on the house, I have decided to start a new blog series: OPP. While I have much love for the 1990s, I’m not talking about an army with harmony, besides their version is gross. Here, OPP stands for Other People’s Projects. Without further ado, here is the first installation of OPP posts. Enjoy.

For awhile now the kitchen chairs in my grandparents house have looked a little…funky. Every so often, a couple of us make mention that they need replacing. By now the fabric is shredded, the stuffing is hanging out and, well, its really time for new chairs! They’re too busy doing a lot of doctor visits and such. A trip to the “chair store” didn’t seem likely to happen any time soon. But just look at these chairs:

I decided to redo the chairs myself – hey, if I ruined them they needed replacing anyways, right? I had all the tools I needed for the job: Wood Epoxy, Staple Gun, Screw Drivers, Cleaning Supplies…yeah, lets do this! Just needed fabric. Joann Fabric, here I come!

If you want to do this project at home, you’re going to need these supplies:

• Screw drivers (peep the underside of your chair to see what kind you’d need)
• Staple or Tack Remover like this one from Husky (if you don’t have one you can use a knife and/or plyers)
• Staple Gun
• Staples (duh!)
• Upholstery Fabric (or another heavyweight fabric)
• Bucket
• Cleaning Solution (Make sure its safe to use on the materials your project is made from.)
• Sponge (or Rag)
• Small Crevice Brush

Some other supplies you may need depending on the condition and type of project you repair:

• Foam (if yours is in bad repair)
• Foam Glue
• Wood Epoxy like JB Weld Wood Weld


(1) First, disassemble the chair using your screwdrivers:

(2) Thoroughly wash and clean all the project parts. I used an OxyClean mixture of about two scoops to a 1/2 gallon. That is more than they recommend but I’m just good like that. And I don’t like dirt. Or germs.

(3) Once your project is nice and dry now is the time to use that Epoxy if you have any spots that need repair. I used some on a weakened area that had snapped in half. It was too sparse to screw back together. I used JB Weld Wood Weld. It worked like a charm and dried very close in color to the bamboo. Very easy to work with and made a very strong bond.

(4) Now pull all those staples / brads / whatever out of the underside of all your cushions. I got lucky after one took forever and the next day Pop went to Home Depot and purchased this little <a href=”http://Husky“>timesaver:image

This is the hardest part.

(5) Next, examine your bare base to see if you need new foam. If you do need new foam go ahead and use your old foam as a template to trace out your new foam shape. At this point you may want to use foam glue to tack the foam to the base. Definitely do this if you find you are having trouble attaching your fabric to the base in step 6.

(6) You can use your old fabric as a template to trace out your new fabric to shape. If your fabric was as tattered as mine, that ain’t gonna work, huh? Instead, lay your base on top of the fabric and mark a rough outline with some soap or a fabric pencil. Measure the thickness of your base and add 2 inches. Mark a new soap line around your first one that is that distance larger. (Mine was 2″ plus 2″ = for an added total of 4″) Measure twice, cut once people! It is better to overshoot your numbers then undercut your fabric. The goal here is to make sure you have enough enough fabric to get a good grip to pull it tight when you’re doing your stapling.

(7) Staple time. Lay your fabric face-down on your work surface. Next, lay your base face-down on your fabric. Pick a place to start and pop in a couple staples. I like to fold under my fabric as I go for a cleaner edge. Now, work on the opposite side. What you want do is to pull the fabric tight and secure with one or two staples. Next, do a 1/4 turn and add some staples. Then the opposite. Keep working on opposite sides. (If you start at 12 o’clock your next staple is going to be 6 o’clock. Then 3 o’clock followed by 9 o’clock. Divide those sections and staple 1:30 & 7:30, 4:30 & 10:30.) You get the idea. Keep dividing the ‘pie’ and always pull tight as you make your way ’round.

(8) Once you are all finished, you can reattach to your seat base. Take care the direction you put the cushion back on if you reused old foam. I was able to keep the foam on my chairs, but the front end showed a slightly flatter area. Due to this, I made sure to reattach the bases with the flatter area facing the back of the chair. Rotate yours at your your own risk and discretion, I cannot tell you if doing so would impair the structural integrity of your chairs.

Here are before and after pictures:
The grandparents could not be happier and now no new chairs are needed. My total price was just under $40 for all three chairs as I only needed to purchase fabric and wood epoxy.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle people!

I would like to replace that thin bamboo wrapping. See that raffia looking stuff?

It is not structural on these chairs – it’s decorative and it serves to cover nail holes. I’m in the market for some of that but I can’t seem to find any anywhere. The Gods of Google have not been kind to me in that regard. If you have any information on where to get some please leave a comment – I would be grateful. Thank you.

Thanks for reading, please subscribe to this blog and help me out by sharing on Facebook and Twitter – use the buttons below. ❤ Roni

5 thoughts on “OPP: Reupholstering Bamboo Chairs

  1. Pingback: OPP: Reupholstering Bamboo Chairs By Roni | Basics On A Budget

Put in your two screws here:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s