How to Reupholster Chairs with Laminated Cotton

I recently shared our farmhouse dining room table and chairs, and today I’m excited to share a tutorial on how to reupholster dining room chairs with laminated cotton fabric!

Anyone with little ones around the table knows how impossible the idea of upholstered dining room chairs sounds.

Luckily, we have laminated cotton to save the day. In all sorts of prints, laminated cotton is the perfect solution to having clean, wipeable chairs.

Laminated cotton is basically a quilting weight cotton with a polyurethane coating on one side. It doesn’t contain phthalates like oilcloth does, so you don’t have to worry about it being dangerous for your kids. It’s also more pliable than oilcloth, making it easier to work with for certain projects.

Ready to reupholster your own chairs?

Screwdriver or screw gun
Heavy duty staple gun and staples
Staple remover and pliers
Upholstery foam
Laminated cotton
1/4″ batting (polyester or cotton)
Spray adhesive
Electric turkey carver (optional, but will save your life when cutting foam!)

You may remember the before photo of the $5 Craigslist chairs, including the ugly plaid fabric on the seats.

In the first post I explained a bit about the bad luck I had while trying to redo the chairs. I had already waited over two months after ordering laminated cotton that was on back order, when I received an email from ModeS asking if I’d like to review one of their products. To be honest, I initially had no plans to accept the offer, as they are located in Hong Kong. Since I don’t often order products from overseas due to a fear of shipping hassles, etc, I didn’t think it would be up my alley.

I decided to take a quick look at their products anyway, and as laminated cotton (or the lack there of, in my case) had been on my mind, I instantly was drawn to that section of the site. And then I saw THE fabric. It was Echino laminated cotton in a print that I had never seen before on any site (and I’m pretty sure that by that time I had seen every site that carries laminated cotton :)).

I was in love, and knew that I needed that fabric on my chairs. I was able to cancel the back ordered fabric that I had ordered from another site, and was so excited for the Echino fabric to arrive. I was surprised that it took less than two weeks from ordering until the fabric was on my doorstep. I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised with my whole experience with ModeS on all levels. The selection was the best I’ve seen for laminates, the shipping was much faster than I expected, and my fabric came wrapped in cute Kawaii packaging, which is never a bad thing :).

Once I had the fabric in hand, I was finally motivated to get to work on the chairs that had been sitting in my garage for months.

Photo via Instagram

After I removed the seats from the chairs, I sanded, primed, painted, distressed, and protected the chair frames using the exact same process that I used for our buffet makeover.

To recover the seats, use a staple remover to remove the existing fabric from the chairs. Pliers will come in handy, especially if the staples are older and tend to break.

Or in my case, remove all three layers. Super fun…

After all the staples, foam, and fabric layers are removed, throw them out! Yuck. Unless your foam is still in good condition, you’ll only need to keep the wood seat base.

Use the seat base to trace a new foam shape. Trace the foam 1/2″ larger than the wood on all sides to allow for overhang and a smooth edge on the finished seat.

Use an electric turkey carver to cut along traced line. You can use a serrated knife if you don’t have an electric carver, but the carver will slice through the foam like butter and save you a lot of time, energy, and mess. Once the foam is cut out, use a spray adhesive (make sure it’s specifically designed for wood and upholstery foam) to glue the foam to the wood. This will help the foam to stay in place while upholstering, as well as give it more stability when it’s in use.
Place the seat over the batting and cut the batting approximately 3″ larger than the seat on all sides. The layer of batting will help to round the edges of the foam and make it easier when adding the laminated cotton, which is obviously less pliable than other fabrics. Once you have one piece of batting cut, you can use it as a guide to cut the other pieces of batting if you’re reupholstering multiple chairs.
Pull the batting tight on the middle of one side, and staple it to the seat, placing the staple in between two fingers, rather than right next to your fingers. This will help to eliminate any uneven pulls in the fabric.
Repeat on the opposite side.

Staple remaining two sides using the same method.

Continue stapling opposite sides until all four sides of batting are stapled in place on the seat. Staples should be spaced approximately 1″ apart.

To shape corners, fold and pinch batting as pictured, and pull back tightly toward seat.

Hold snugly and staple corner in place.

Repeat with remaining corners.

Place the seat onto the laminated cotton and cut the laminated cotton 3-4″ larger than the seat on all sides. If using a directional print, be sure that the seat is positioned in the right direction before cutting! Also make sure you are centering the seat on the print as desired.
Remember that if you’re reupholstering multiple chairs, you can use the cut piece of laminated cotton as a guide to cut the other pieces.
Use the same technique as was used with the batting to staple the laminated cotton to the seat. Pull the fabric tight (tighter than you may think), and place one staple on one side, being sure to staple in between two fingers rather than next to your fingers.

Repeat on the opposite side.

Repeat with remaining two sides.

Continue stapling opposite sides until all four sides of fabric are stapled in place on the seat. If you notice any uneven pulls, use your staple remover and pliers to remove them and re-staple as needed.

Shape corners by folding in similar fashion as batting. If you find there is too much bulk to make a nice neat fold, trim some of the excess before folding. If you used 1″ thick foam, you may be able to fold the laminate so that the folds are only slightly visible on the right side of the seat. If using thicker foam like I did (mine was 2″), you’ll see more of the folds – try to make them as neat and uniform as possible.

Staple corner in place.
Repeat with remaining corners.

Use screwdriver or screw gun to reattach seats onto chairs.


Enjoy your new chairs!

And even enjoy having sticky little hands on them :).

ModeS sent me the fabric used in this post in exchange for a review of the product. All opinions shared are my own and genuine :).

Farmhouse Dining Room Table and Chairs

Today’s post has been a loooong time in the making. As in, it started last July. Our little Ikea dining room table that we had been using for years was on it’s last legs (very punny), as were the chairs that came with it. Lucky for me, Joel is almost always up for a new project, and we worked together to design a new table… “Worked together” meaning I told him what I wanted and he did the work.
I wanted a farmhouse styled table, but without braces along the bottom like farmhouse tables often have. I thought it would be much easier to clean underneath without them, and wanted simple, clean lines, while still having a rustic feel.
We also wanted a table large enough for 8 people if needed, but not so huge that it overpowers our dining space.
As usual, life got busy, and it wasn’t until November when the table was finally finished – no thanks to me of course. We also had plans to build two benches for seating, but as so often happens, Craigslist changed our plans, hehe. Just as he was ready to start on the benches, Joel found 6 of these chairs for $5 each. I really loved the style and details of the chairs, and soon enough they were in our garage.
The chairs seemed to be doomed from the start, with first our paint sprayer dying mid project, and then the original fabric I ordered to reupholster them being back ordered for months with no telling when it would arrive. As you can see in the photos, one chair out of the six is still MIA – actually I know exactly where it is, but I’ll just say it’s in a lot more than one piece at the moment :). We normally use other chairs (that are half-repainted as I type) for the boys’ booster seats, so the five chairs are more than enough for now.
My new plan is to keep just the 5 chairs, and have Joel make one bench instead of two (I may have not mentioned that tidbit to him yet). Maybe it’ll even happen before next July! You probably shouldn’t hold your breath on that one though.
So after waiting for months and starting to give up hope that the fabric for the chairs would ever arrive, I made a change in plans thanks to this amazing Echino laminated cotton fabric from ModeS. I fell in love with the quirkiness, and was able to cancel my back ordered fabric from the other company.
In the end it couldn’t have worked out more serendipitous, and later this week I’m going to give you the full run down on exactly how I did the chairs, including a tutorial on reupholstering chairs with laminated cotton.
So there you have it! It feels so nice to have a couple of big projects done, and move on to the next!

Buffet Makeover

I’ve been super excited to share today’s post with you. Almost as excited as I’ve been that this project is finished! You may have seen a few peeks of the progress on Instagram along the way, and I’m thrilled to finally get to show you the finished product.

You see, Wyatt has needed a new dresser for quite some time. I had been wanting to put the green dresser in his room (part of the de-greening I’m doing in my living room), but since we’ve been using it as a buffet for our tv, I was waiting until I found something to replace it.

I searched Craigslist for months waiting for the perfect project to come along, and luckily I found this beaute one day for $40. Joel was not one bit thrilled about the whole idea of it all, and was sure that it had no hope. But of course I knew better, as wives usually do :). I was so excited to start sanding that I almost forgot the always-important before photos.

I loved the lines and details, and functionally it was perfect. And guess what else? It was clean!!! At least until I got my hands on it. I don’t know how a 30+ year old piece of furniture could be so clean, but let me tell you, it was. And I was happy.

Want to see what it looks like now (please say yes :))?

Here’s the rundown on what I did… First, I lightly sanded the entire buffet, and then primed it. With all the details, I didn’t want to risk not priming it, and used Kilz Oil Based Spray Primer.
KILZ 13 oz. Original Primer Sealer Spray (6-Pack)
After two coats and six cans of primer, I painted two coats with a paint sprayer. In the past I’ve used a $15 paint sprayer from Harbor Freight that attached to our air compressor, but it recently bit the dust (and we have some still half-painted chairs to prove it). I debated whether to get a new similar sprayer, or get a stand alone unit instead. In the end, we bought the Wagner Control Spray Max HLVP Sprayer. It had really great reviews on Amazon, and worked really well for me. The learning curve was small and it did a great job, even with latex paint. Many decent priced sprayers aren’t suited for latex paint, but it handled it beautifully with just a little thinning.
After painting, I distressed it enough to allow the original stain to peek through around the edges.
I also sprayed it with three coats of water based Polyurethane (sometimes called Polyacrylic) for protection. If you’re painting a piece white, the rule of thumb is to always use a water based Polyurethane, as oil based will yellow over time. Somehow, my white paint still changed a bit in color to be slightly creamy, which I cannot for the life of me figure out. Thank goodness though, I actually prefer the new color to the original white. It’s just a little bit warmer and takes the edge off the white.
I went back and forth a lot on what pulls to put on the finished buffet, but in the end I really love these. They give the buffet just the look that I had envisioned, and fit my style perfectly.
I’m also happy to report that I was successful in changing Joel’s mind. He’s just as happy with it now as I am :).


Ruffled Burlap Table Runner Tutorial

Need to dress up your Thanksgiving or Christmas table?

This simple yet elegant table runner is a perfect addition to any table.

Even better, it’s an easy project that you can have whipped up in no time!

Ready to get started?

Burlap – 48″ wide and the finished desired length plus 6″
Cotton – 45″ wide and TWICE as long as the length of burlap – if you want to use your ruffler foot, it’s a good idea to have a little extra length of cotton
*You’ll have enough width to be able to make three runners out of the above amounts.*

1. Cut the burlap to 16″ wide and the cotton to 10″ wide (it’s easiest if you rip the cotton along the grainline). You can adjust these widths, but I’d recommend to keep at least 6″ difference between the two to make sure you have a nice wide border of burlap.

2. Using a basting stitch, stitch along one entire length of the cotton, without backstitching at the beginning or end. Pull the bottom thread to gather the cotton to match the length of the burlap.
Right sides together, match raw edge with burlap edge and stitch along the entire length. I used my ruffler foot, and used it to gather the cotton as it was being sewn to the burlap. If you have a ruffler foot, use it! It’s more than worth the few minutes it takes to figure out :). If you are using a ruffler foot, it’s a good idea to sew a couple of test pieces to make sure the cotton isn’t being gathered more than double – if it is, you’ll come up short when you get to the end of the burlap!

3. Repeat step 2 with the remaining long sides of cotton and burlap. You can see that my gathered cotton ended up being just a hair shorter than my burlap, but since I started with a little extra length, it’s no worry and will be trimmed soon!

4. Turn the runner right side out.

5. Keeping the ruffles centered in the middle, press the folded burlap edges flat, keeping equal amounts of burlap on each side. You can press just the edge of the ruffles, making them more billowy…

Or you can press them flat, making a more modern and sleek ruffle.

6. Topstitch 1/4″ from edge of ruffle on each side down length of runner.

7. Trim the runner to your desired finished length plus 4″. Press one end 1″ toward the wrong side, and then another 1″.

8. Topstitch close to the folded edge.

9. Repeat steps 7-8 with other end of runner.

Great job!
If only the turkey dinner could come together as quickly :).
What are your Thanksgiving plans? Travelling? Staying home? I’d love to hear!

Tutorial: A Frameful of Flowers

I love flowers. I love my sewing room. Flowers on my sewing room table would be a bad idea, considering the amount of fabric and supplies that’s taking over my table at any given time.

I created this piece of art for my sewing room, and can’t wait to make another larger piece for my living room, with the flowers spaced a bit further apart and in purple.

Something about a frame bursting with voluptuous flowers is just heavenly.

Want to make one too? Let’s get started!


Fake flowers – one “vine” from JoAnn supplied enough flowers to fill a 10″x10″ shadow box (you can adjust amount of flowers based on the size of shadow box you use)
Shadow box – mine was 10″x10″
Glue gun and glue sticks
1. To prepare your flowers, trim each close to the base of the stem. I used only the large flowers from my vine at this point.
2. Remove backing and glass from your shadow box and glue a flower in the center of shadowbox back cardboard.
3. Keep gluing…
4. And gluing…
5. And gluing! Place the flowers as near or far from each other as you’d like. I wanted so see mostly petals, and not necessarily the middle of the flowers, so the my flowers are between 1-2″ of each other at the bases.
6. Slide the shadow box over the flowers and tuck all the petals inside the frame.
7. Use any left over flowers to fill in any spaces and to get the exact look you want. I used the smaller flowers on my vine for this step, and they worked perfectly as I glued them in the corners and any other areas that needed a bit more fill.
8. Replace any other backing you have for your shadow box and secure it in place using the tabs on the back of the frame.
Enjoy your new piece of art!
Hang it on your wall…
Use it as a centerpiece for your summer party…
Or make a few in different colors and display them all together! Have fun and be creative!