DIY – How to Reupholster a Wicker Chair

What a fantastic weekend!  The weather was beautiful here on the coast.  We spent some quality family time and even managed a visit to the beach.  How beautiful is that?!?  I do miss Autumn in November, but when you see places like these, you tend to forget that it should be getting colder, not warmer.


In the middle of all of the weekend fun I did manage to upholster some chairs.  I spotted this set of wicker chairs at a garage sale a while back.

Wicker Chair Before

It was love at first sight.  No, really.  I love these chairs.  I  purchased 2 of a set of 14 for $10.00 each.

Wicker Chair-1

These puppies are heavy!  They are extremely well made and sturdy.  Even though they had been professionally upholstered,  I wanted to update them to reflect my style. So, I stripped them down.

First the bottom seat came off with 4 screws being removed.

Wicker Chair-2

Then I pulled the double corded trim and the fabric off next.

Wicker Chair 

It is important, especially when working with outdoor pieces, that you remove any staples that might poke through.  I hate rusty staples, nails, or screws.

Once I had them stripped down and cleaned up, I began to paint the wicker. [On the first chair I removed the foam, but discovered it really wasn’t necessary, so I left it in place while painting the second chair.]

Wicker Chair-6

I used Squirts “Lace” spray paint for the wicker.  I didn’t take too many photos as my hands were holding a paint can.  In case you are wondering; I placed the chairs on the grass (as you can see in the photo) and spray painted as close to the chair as possible, but not close enough to make the paint run.  The goal was to get into the grooves of the wicker.  It took two coats for a thorough coverage.  The grooves are pretty tight, so there was no spray through as you might expect when painting wicker.  And, no, I did not prime.  It was not necessary and I thought it would be a waste of time, money and effort.  While the paint was drying, I re-upholstered the seat.

Wicker Chair-9

I took off the black under cover and upholstered right over the top of the current fabric.  It was in great condition with no odd smells.  I liked the extra security of another layer of fabric there, so I left it.

Wicker Chair-11

I placed the seat cushion on top of my fabric and cut a square (the same as you would if wrapping a present). 

Wicker Chair-19

Then, just like when wrapping a present, I secured each of the four sides with a staple.  Once tightly secured, I began stapling the rest of the fabric to the wood base.

Wicker Chair-21

Around the corners, I tugged until tight and smooth, then stapled into a pleat.  I cut off the excess as close to the staples as possible.

Wicker Chair-23

I stapled the original under cover back on to hide the staple.  You can notice that I placed staples on either side of the holes where the screws will go back in.  This will help me locate the correct spots.

Wicker Chair-32

Once the wicker was dry, I looked at the chair and decided I wanted the legs to be glossy black.  Easy fix.  Spray paint is a wonder!

It was now time to prepare the fabric for the chair itself.

Wicker Chair-29

I cheated (sshhh don’t tell anyone). I used the original piece to cut the new fabric.  I cut each piece separately while making sure to add enough seam allowance. Then I sewed them together and I “stitched in the ditch”.


Stitching in the ditch is when you “top sew” in the crease. Looks great, adds strength and if done right helps the fabric lay properly where it can’t be ironed flat.  Keeps that pesky little seam facing the direction you want it.

Now that my fabric is ready, I used spray adhesive to adhere the foam back onto the chair that I had removed it from.

Wicker Chair-33

I love spray adhesive!  It is my BFF.  How many things can a person do with spray adhesive?  If I ever meet the person who thought to put glue in a spray can; I will have to ask for an autograph.  They should be famous!  Yes, it’s the small things in life that get my attention.


After the foam was properly reapplied (thank you BFF); I stapled the fabric in place.  Here is where upholstery becomes creative.  You tug and pull and fold and press until the fabric is properly placed.  It should be smooth and snug.

When you do your first upholstery job, be sure to keep the original fabric to refer to if you get stuck.  After a few jobs, your comfort level increases and you’ll know what to expect.

The only thing left was to decide on trim.  The original chairs had a double rope trim.  When I looked closely at them, I noticed they were rubber rope.

 rope trim

Bingo!  Great durability on outdoor furniture.  Being the penny pincher that I am, I re-used them.  I cut off the original fabric and was left with two three lengths of rope. One of them tore.  Oops!

Torn trim

electrical tape







Easy fix.  Electrical tape is flexible and sturdy.

There are many different options when making a double trim.  This one has a 1/4 inch space in the middle.  To accomplish this I placed the first rope on the new fabric, folded the fabric over (right side out) and sewed it using a zipper foot.

sewing trim

Zipper foot







You have to make sure the needle is set completely to the right.

Then you trim the excess fabric away, add the second rope and sew it in place.

Second rope

Once the rope is sewn into place, flip the piece of trim over and cut off excess fabric from the back (this is where the hot glue goes).

cut off excess

I hot glued the trim to the chair, starting in the middle of the chair and trim.  Then I replaced the seat and sat back in admiration!

new chairs

I love my new chairs!  The pale green fabric looks so soft and romantic.  These chairs are perfect for the early morning coffee on our front porch while watching the birds flutter by.

I made some pillows to add a bit of color.

with pillows

I’m not rapped in them. 

Do you have any suggestions?  I am thinking of something light and airy to keep in with the “romantic” look.  It is also approaching Christmas in the middle of summer, so I need to keep that in mind as well.

I am really stumped and would love some input.  What are your ideas?


3 Responses to “DIY – How to Reupholster a Wicker Chair”

  1. Kathryn Says:

    I think hese chairs look amazing with a make over. Would love a few around my dining table for that shabby chic look!Tend to agree with the cushions possibly a soft floral or stripes in muted tones would keep the theme going…. with a bowl of roses on the table and plate of scones with jam & cream…..just a suggestion

  2. drapery fabric by the Yard Says:

    drapery fabric by the Yard

    DIY – How to Reupholster a Wicker Chair | AmericKim’s Home

  3. Sadahatama Oba Mage Says:

    Sadahatama Oba Mage

    DIY – How to Reupholster a Wicker Chair | AmericKim’s Home

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