How to Reupholster a Channel Back Chair (Channeled Foam Method)

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SKU: X-HT-200643



The chairs in the front entryway here at Sailrite were starting to show their age. Their fabric was dingy and pilled, so we decided that it was time to give them fresh fabric. Our entry chairs have a solid oak frame and a simple channeled back, nothing too elaborate. Chairs like this with minimal upholstery are great beginning upholstery projects. Today, we’re going to share with you how we reupholstered our simple, channel-backed chair.

To start your reupholstery project, the first thing you want to do is to carefully disassemble your chair. As you begin pulling staples and removing fabric, take lots of pictures of how the chair was put together. This will be valuable to reference as you reassemble.

The way chairs are built and upholstered can vary greatly, but if you have a chair that is similar to ours, the same techniques should work for you too. One thing that makes our chair sort of unique is the way the channeling was created in the seat back. Instead of making separate pockets of foam, the back is simply sewn into pleats and those pleats are pushed into a groove that was created in the top of the foam. We chose to use the existing foam for our chair (it wasn’t in bad shape) but you could replicate this design with a fresh piece of foam as well.

Don’t be afraid to get a creative with your upholstery! Choose a bold color or pattern for an occasional chair, use a fun texture, or mix up the patterns like we did. For our chair we used a combination of 4 coordinating Sunbrella® Upholstery Fabrics to create a fun look for our entry.

In this video, you’ll learn how to reupholster a chair from start to finish including how to disassemble the chair, make your own piping, create a channeled chair back, and how to upholster a seat with boxing.

  • Removing Old Fabric -- 0:31 min.
  • Making Piping -- 3:19 min.
  • Patterning & Stapling Back -- 5:10 min.
  • Creating Channeled Back Rest -- 10:48 min.
  • Installing Back Rest -- 13:34 min.
  • Patterning & Sewing Seat -- 21:01 min.
  • Stapling Seat to Backer Board -- 28:01 min.
  • Installing Seat -- 31:57 min.
  • Materials List -- 33:00 min.
  • Home Décor Fabric (we used Sunbrella® Upholstery Fabrics)
  • Cotton Braided Piping #104888
  • Nylon Upholstery Thread
  • Polyester Fiberfill #104467 or Batting #100158
  • Cushion Underlining #103934
  • Staples
  • Tack & Staple Remover #104319
  • Tape Measure #102986
  • Sailrite® Short Nose Upholstery Staple Gun #121410
  • Sailrite® Edge Hotknife #103800
  • Tucking Tool #766100
  • Screwdriver
  • Socket
  • Pliers
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood finish
  • Scissors
  • Yardstick
  • Pencil
  • Sewing machine
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