tutorial: DIY slipcovers

We aren’t in the market for new furniture while we are finishing up the house. Somehow we inherited two of these god awful, pink club chairs. They are extremely comfortable, just hideous.

Before: pink club chair shown without the cushion, for some reason




As long I have sat in them, I admired the shape and comfort. Upon further inspection as I wander down the path of interior design, I discovered that they were actually well-made, too. So the plan was to get them professionally reupholstered in some really cool fabric. Well, that’s at least 300 bones we don’t have at the moment to spend toward furniture, so the mother-of-all-invention intervened and I got crafty. Well, not really, this just took 20-minutes a chair and a staple gun and an old duvet cover. Here’s how.


  • ugly club chair
  • Duvet cover and shams (or 2 pieces of fabric 86×86″ and ~ 20×20″) – enough for 2 chairs
  • Staple gun
  • Fabric scissors

Ability level: easy

Time: 20 minutes

Separate the two pieces of fabric in the duvet cover by ripping down the seam. Fold the fabric in half and lay it down the center of the chair. This makes it easier to ensure even coverage. Leave enough fabric for the front of the chair to be just covered. Make sure there is enough fabric on the back to cover at least the top 1/3rd of the chair.


(If you have a pattern in the fabric, be cognizant of how it’s laying. Arrange it to your taste. This IKEA asymmetrical stripe was really fun to work with on 2 chairs because I was able to make them exactly opposite of each other.)

Leave just enough fabric on the front to cover the  front band.

Fold the half over and tuck the fabric in an inch or so into the seat. Make sure your pattern is where you like it.


I found that the trick is to find where the wood is on the chair and staple the fabric directly to it in sneaky locations. Under the seat cushion is a perfect spot. Staple fabric here so that you then have it secured so you can pull the rest of the fabric around the chair to staple it to the bottom of the chair. Super simple.


There wasn’t a frame at this spot to staple to, so I just tucked the fabric in a bit.


Now that the seat fabric is secure, pull and staple below the front band. Keep the staples out of sight.


Staple in hidden locations along the lines of the chair.

Follow the contours of your chair pressing around to feel for where the wood is. Once you find it and if it’s in a sneaky spot, staple the fabric to it. I gathered and stapled a bunch of fabric just at the bend in the arm. This pulled the fabric tight around the rounded arms. With the seat fabric secure from the previous step, I could really pull to get this snug.


Turn the chair on one side. Tug straight down from the elbow joint of the arm where you stapled.

Now go back to the front leg and pleat and staple as you go along the bottom to secure the fabric. This isn’t anything fancy, just kind of fold and pull the fabric as you go.

Now staple the corner of the fabric and hide the staple (staple underneath) mid way from arm to floor (find where the wood is) so that you can then pull it straight down and you have a neat and tidy vertical fold.

Tuck, hide staples, fold, and secure on bottom of chair

It’s not an exact science at all, rather a whole lot of feeling around the chair and playing with the fabric, then hiding staples.

Repeat the same process on the other arm.

Slideshow of stapling the sides:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Now flip the chair on it’s front. Smooth the fabric down the back and staple.


Continue to staple the back along the flat of the back of the chair. Pull the fabric out like a wing to cross over the back, one side, then the next side.



Trim excess fabric.


Use the pillow shams to cover the cushions and you are done!slipcover21

It’s really that simple. After I performed the above steps, I then went back and figured out where I could sneak in a staple in between the folds so that it smoothed against the silhouette of the chair


It’s not perfect, but it so beats the pink for now! After we get the house done we will have a pro reupholster these chairs. But for now, this sure beats a sloppy white canvas slipcover that’s made to fit 47 different styles of chairs! If you squint your eyes a bit they look like really awesome new chairs!




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