Reupholstering Chair Seats part 2

This was a much more productive run!  Amazing what can happen when you have all the right materials at your disposal! Last time I sat down to reupholster a seat for my dinette I had a chair pad (foam) that was several inches too narrow on all fronts.  How frustrating!  I went back to JoAnn a few days ago and swapped those chair pads for squares ones that were 22″ on each side.  They only had three 1″ high density foam pads, so I had to get 2″ thickness, praying that I had enough fabric (I did).

how to reupholster a chair using foam

These covered the widest part of my seats (20″).  My seats taper towards the back, so I will have to do some extra cutting.
These were my tools: a permanent marker and my bread knife.  You can be fancy and use an electric meat carver, but I don’t have one.

reupholstering chair seats tools

Trace your seat with the permanent marker.
trace chair seat on foam for reupholstering

This picture was taken at an angle so the seat looks square. It is not

When you are cutting, MAKE SURE YOU MAINTAIN AN UP-AND-DOWN MOTION.  Do NOT cut at an angle.  I learned this the hard way.  Your seat will be lopsided and you will have to conjure up a way fill in what you’ve cut out.  (This high density foam is NOT easy to cut, so cutting small pieces to make up for mistakes won’t happen).

Reupholstering Chair Seats Part 1

OH-KAY!  Wow.  What an adventure this has been so far.  I used Amanda’s tutorial on Design Sponge as a guide for this next project.  I’m so glad she made it easy to follow.  However, my experiences thus far have been less than exasperating.
Here is the before picture.  No, there is nothing majorly wrong with the color of the seats.  I like them.  However, if I left the seat covers this color my house would be plain vanilla.  I needed color without painting my walls a demanding color (in this case, green).  Some of the chenille seat covers were snagged, others beginning to be threadbare.
how to reupholster a chair
These are the materials I started with: cotton batting, a hammer, wire cutters (for lack of a flat head screwdriver), fabric, staple gun, staples, and poly fill (I’ll explain that one in a bit) and a small Philips screwdriver.
First, remove the nails underneath holding the chair seat to the frame.  I used my Philips screwdriver.
The most annoying (and dire) aspect of this reupholstering project was the deteriorating foam padding underneath the seat cover.  In the picture below, my hand is laying on the seat…and I can actually feel the wooden board through the layer of padding and fabric.  Yuck!  A JoAnn Fabric employee suggested I buy poly fill to correct that hole of deteriorating foam in the middle of the seat. (Fast-forward temporarily to poly fill.  D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R.  Like a badly-stuffed sausage!)  She meant well, though!  I returned the poly fill and bought four 2″ high density foam pads measuring 15″ x 17″.
Turn your seat upside down to see what surprises await you!
Here is where this project differs depending on the wear your seats have taken.  Since I got this cute dinette used from Craigslist, I had to remove everything and start from scratch.  If my foam cushioning were intact, I wouldn’t bother going through all the trouble you are about to see.  But, my set was deteriorating so I had to do it the labor-intensive way.  I removed the dust cover before anything else, with a hammer and the pliers.  (This part took FOREVER!)
Underneath the dust cover were more…STAPLES!! Ack
I had to bring out the wire cutters because the back of the hammer was not working.  Can you believe that JoAnn didn’t carry staple removers?
FINALLY!  The dust cover was off! (I saved it to reuse)
The cording around the edge of the seat was actually a second layer under the dust cover.  It was stapled on after the seat chair fabric.  That meant there were double the staples to remove.  (I almost fainted inside).  At this point I was removing staples for over an hour.
My puppy was very curious as to what I was doing.  He also was asking for attention.
“Wait, what? This thing? You need this?!”

I continued removing staples for almost another two hours, wondering if this was even worth it.  The “wood” (really more of an extremely cheap MDF) was falling apart and flaking away.  Here’s what I had after I removed staples:

Look at all those staple holes! It took over 2 hours to remove them all. Some of them were rusted inside the wood, so they broke into several pieces during the process. Not fun. If your cushions are good, I recommend you skip this process and just cover over everything and save yourself the headache!
My next step was measuring up the  foam up against the wood seat.  Imagine my surprise when the foam that I thought would be too big all around actually didn’t measure up!
That was 2″ high density foam that I bought at 50% off at JoAnn Fabric.
Wait for the 50% ALL FOAM sales they throughout the year. Also, they often have 20% coupons for your ENTIRE purchase.  I am going to have to return these foam chair seats (they ended up being just under $18 with my coupons) and try again.
I discovered that the manufacturer used 1/2″ foam in two layers: one with the exact dimension of the wood, a second that covered the edge and went over the lip, giving that nice rounded corner look.  I will be doing just this, but with 1″ thick foam covering the top and another 1″ thick sheet going over the edge.  You don’t want to feel the wood. After that, I will cover the foam with batting to give an added layer of cushioning and smoothness to prepare for the fabric.
Have you ever tried reupholstering anything yourself?