Easy NO-SEW Vintage Chair Re-Upholstery (tutorial)

Easy NO-SEW Chair Re-Upholstery


We are remodeling and staging our previous home for sale, in the hopes that literal “sweat equity” will get it sold quickly, once we put it on the market. The staging part is the process I’m enjoying and will share some of my ideas here.

I found a woman who is Certified in Home Staging and Design. Tracy Evans was willing to do a consultation by mail to help me with some stumbling blocks. Her advice eased our anxiety about some of our choices and was SO reasonably priced—-we’re watching every penny and this was definitely well-worth it!

So—on to one of my first projects!

Chair Re-Upholstery With A Glue Gun

By “with a glue gun” I mean “with ONLY a glue gun” and scissors!

I’ve re-upholstered chairs this way before and they turned out lovely. And they were perfectly fine to use—-though I might not use this method on heavily used furniture.

The Chair:

I found a great vintage chair at an estate sale (the “before” picture) and I bought 1 1/2 yards of printed burlap at the fabric store. I also bought a can of semi-gloss black spray paint. Before working on upholstery, I sprayed the rattan and wood arms and sides of the chair. I didn’t mask anything off, as it would all be covered by new fabric. I also spray painted the lower front section of the chair. Yes, I spray painted the fabric. It’s OK. Really.




Glue Gun Upholstery

(NOTE: Be sure to use high-temp hot glue, not the easy-on-your-fingers low-temp stuff. It’s not strong enough to hold the fabric)

With my fabric spread across the back of the chair, I pressed the fabric down into the sides tightly. Pressing the fabric in made a crease I could use as a marker, but you can also stick a pencil down in the crease to mark the fabric. I cut a rectangle as marked,  ADDING a couple of inches on each side, top and bottom.

I started by gluing the upper edge of my fabric to the back side of the chair, making sure I had the piece centered. (The back will be covered with another piece of fabric (black) and where the edges meet, I will glue black upholstery trim.)



I pressed the fabric deeply into the sides, alternating sides, as I worked my way down to be sure I had the fabric smooth and straight. Then I went back and, working a section at a time, pulled the fabric out, spread open the area where the chair meets the cushion and laid in a stripe of hot glue, then quickly replaced the fabric, pressing it in deeply.

A butter knife or other smooth, rounded object can be used to press in the fabric if your fingers are tender. I’ve got tough “old lady in the kitchen” fingers so I generally just use my hands.





Since the back cushion is visible through the sides, I double-checked as I went to make sure I was tucking my fabric in deep enough.

It’s amazing how well the hot glue holds!





Getting the fabric around the wooden edges was a little trickier, as I couldn’t leave any raw edges. I carefully pushed the fabric down in where I could,



then snipped a bit at a time til I could fold under the edge where it met the wood. I applied the glue to the chair, then carefully folded my fabric under and pressed it into the glued edge.


I got excited with my progress and neglected to take many photos of the seat cushion upholstery, but here’s what I did:

First I cut a strip that went all the way around the side of the cushion, with about 4″ extra on each side, and a couple of inches to fold under on one end. Starting at the back, I glued this strip along the edges to the seat cushion, gluing just under the piping and again above the piping on the seat edges. When I got back around to my starting point, I carefully folded under the end and glued it in place.

For the top of the seat, I rough-cut a square to more-than-cover the seat. Starting at the center front, I began folding under a couple of inches and gluing it to the seat. I made fine lines of glue, very close to where my folded edge would be so as to hold the edge close. I worked a bit on one side and the the other so I wouldn’t pull the fabric too far to one side as I worked. I also trimmed the excess fabric as I went so I only folded under a couple of inches—that way it wouldn’t be too bulky.

NO SEW vintage chair

Being as how this is quick and (relatively) easy, I did not cover the bottom of the seat cushion. The side edges are glued down well under the edge—no one will ever know (well, except for you, of course!)

FINISHING: I covered the back of the chair with some black fabric. I added a burlap ribbon trim around the upper seam on the seat as well as across the upper back edge and down the sides. A little trim hides a multitude of sins!


I used this technique on 2 wing-back chairs some years ago. I used bright red trim and I thought the chairs were really cute. (I used a staple gun on these chairs, but the glue gun worked fine for my current project.)

1-Timber Ridge House016

Discover More of My Work In Altered Couture!

This website has been devoted (mostly) to my quilted works. However, there are so many more ways I love to create with fabric!

The latest issue of Altered Couture has 2 articles  I wrote about altering ready-to-wear garments with vintage barkcloth.



Sewing with vintage textiles is something I’ve been doing for years and find very satisfying, creatively speaking. Finding beautiful or funky materials from the past isn’t too hard—but what to do with them is a challenge, and one that I enjoy!

Stampington Press publishes numerous magazines for all types of creative artists with inspiration galore. Many articles provide instructions for techniques shown in the spectacular photography. My articles in this issue of Altered Couture both include descriptions of how I created these garments.

If you’d like to purchase this magazine or others from Stampington, you may order directly, subscribe or find them at a retail location near you.

Keep watching……I’ve got more articles in this and other Stampington magazines coming soon!