How to Reupholster Metal Folding Chairs

Item # X-HT-300551

It’s easy to give an old metal folding chair new life! In this no-sew tutorial, we'll show you how to replace the foam and fabric to create new chair cushions. This project only requires a few tools and supplies, so it’s a beginner-friendly DIY!

finished chair in front of the RV

Our chair doesn’t have a wooden backer board to staple the fabric into. Instead, this style of chair uses a metal backer that sandwiches the upholstery material to the seat and back of the chair. Since staples aren’t an option we secured our foam and fabric to the metal plates using a high-strength spray adhesive.

We lined our seat and backrest with Sew Foam even though we aren’t sewing anything for this project. The 1/2-inch thickness is comfortable and supportive, but it’s too thick to wrap around the edges of the seat and backrest plates. Trimming the foam to the edge of the plate before proceeding with the fabric will make for a cleaner appearance.

Morbern® Allsport is an excellent choice for this kind of upholstery project. The vinyl has a unique 360°, four-way stretch capability that allows it to contour around any shape without distorting the fabric. You can pull the fabric tightly around the chair plates to work out any wrinkles that may occur as you glue it. Morbern Allsport has a lot of great features that make it perfect for an outdoor seating application. It is highly abrasion resistant, so it will hold up to continued use, folding and storage. The vinyl stands up extremely well in cold weather and is waterproof. Morbern is about as worry-free as upholstery vinyl can get!

Be sure to check out the other projects in our 1987 Airstream Argosy Renovation Series! We're renovating this trailer from top to bottom, inside and out. Whether you need a total RV overhaul or you're just looking for a small refresh, you won't want to miss any of the how-to videos in our RV renovation series.

Follow along with our video tutorial to upgrade your folding chairs:

Video Chapters:

  • Disassembling Folding Chair — 0:59 min.
  • Adding Foam to Back Support — 3:03 min.
  • Upholstering Back Support — 5:37 min.
  • Adding Foam & Upholstering Seat — 12:26 min.
  • Materials & Tools List — 20:24 min.

Materials List:

  • Fabric Backed 1/2" Sew Foam 58" (5 yards) (#121507)
  • Headliner Adhesive 13 oz. (#123288)
  • Morbern® Allsport 360° 4‑Way Stretch Electric Blue 54" Vinyl Fabric (#104175)

Tools List:

  • Tack & Staple Remover (#104319)
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  • Ginger® 8" Scissors Right Handed (#19104)
  • Screwdriver, Rag, Duck Tape, Hammer