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Furniture Rehab and Repair

How to Make Arm Chair Slipcovers for Less Than $30 (page 1 of 2)

This easy and budget-friendly upholstery project uses canvas drop cloths to give an old set of chairs a new cottage-chic look.

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Covered chairs

Courtesy of Susan Teare

We copied the look of these rustic-chic chairs from popular retailers who sell the same style of chair for several hundred dollars. We found our old chairs at a yard sale for $25 each then spent less than $30 in materials to cover each one.

Tools and Materials

- pinking scissors
- strong large needle
- hammer
- 2 to 3 canvas drop cloths (8-or 10-ounce tight-weave unbleached cotton) 6' x 9' or larger -- depending on the size of the chair.
- button thread in the same color of canvas cloth
- 2 cans adhesive spray (we used Elmer's multi-purpose)
- upholstery nail heads (found at hardware store)

This is what they looked like before, at the yard sale:

Cut and Lay Out Each Section

Cut the drop cloth into big pieces to cover each large section of the chair. We tucked and folded at the seams to get a finished look. In some areas we just glued down the fabric to the chair, but in other spots we had to hand stitch some of the pieces together.

Cover the Arms

We used the finished edges of the canvas in the most visible spots -- along the arms and back. The arms are two seperate pieces -- the inner piece folds over the outer piece.

If necessary, cut each piece down further to the approximate size -- make sure you cut extra to allow for curves and padding. Slowly place each piece down with the adhesive spray, pressing along the way to take out folds or wrinkles. The spray is forgiving, so if you need to pull it back up you can, and then place it back down.

Cut one piece at a time and make sure the edges are finished edges. Tuck in or folded over to give each seam a finished edge.

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