How to re-upholster a drop-in chair

Project Overview

Are your chairs looking tired and uncomfortable? Why pay a professional to re-upholster them when you can, with the proper tools, supplies and some time do it yourself.


Always keep tools and materials away from children. Read the instructions before beginning your project. Wear an approved dust mask when cutting, planing or sanding timber AS/ N251716.


  • Fabric
  • Upholstery tacks
  • Padding
  • Polypropylene webbing (if needed)


  • Pliers
  • Tacking hammer
  • Heavy duty stapler
  • Webbing stretcher (if needed)

Step by Step Instructions

1 Remove old upholstry
2 Webbing and padding
3 Replace webbing
4 Cut and glue padding
5 Cover padding
6 Cut fabrics
7 Attach fabric
8 Hints and tips
  • Step 1. Remove old upholstry

    Take the fabric off the chair by removing the staples and tacks with pliers or a staple puller if required. While you are removing the fabric, note where the tacks or staples are placed. Replace the new tacks or staples in the same or nearby holes, to mimic the previous pattern.

  • Step 2. Webbing and padding

    It is likely you will need to replace the padding when re-upholstering. Buy a polyurethane padding that is dense (an inch or two thick) and new polypropylene webbing if necessary.

  • Step 3. Replace webbing

    You will need 5 or 6 strips of polypropylene webbing to support your chair base. Measure your base, and calculate the strip lengths allowing an extra inch at each end. Place the first strip in the middle, folding over the end an inch then staple. Tighten the other end with a webbing stretcher or pliers and staple. Repeat this process front‐to‐back then add the horizontal strips in a weaving (under and over) design.

  • Step 4. Cut and glue padding

    Cut the new padding in the same design as you are replacing. Glue it to the wood, and tack the ends to the sides. You might have to let the chair sit overnight until the glue dries.

  • Step 5. Cover padding

    Cover the foam with a layer of fiber bond to protect the fabric. Never lay fabric directly over the foam's raw edges; doing so would eventually wear a hole in the fabric.

  • Step 6. Cut fabrics

    When the glue is dry, cut your fabric, trying to use the previous pattern and measurements. If you cannot, cut the fabric in the pattern of the seat, leaving about 2 inches to spare on each end.

  • Step 7. Attach fabric

    Turn the base over and pull the fabric taunt, so the ends meet underneath the chair. With tacks or staples attach the fabric to the bottom side of the chair. When you get to corners, cut a notch on the sides. This way you can fold the fabric underneath, and have a flat edge. Take the flat edge and tack or staple it to the wood. Repeat this pattern at all corners until your chair is covered.

  • Step 8. Hints and tips

    Select a fabric which has a body and weight that's easy to work with. Linens and stretch fabrics can be frustrating. Never place new fabric over the old material as the stains may come through. Upholster trimming maybe hot-glued in place.


Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions which came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings team member.

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