Before: Yard Sale Chairs

This is what the chairs looked like before, when Joanne found them at the yard sale. Look for chairs that have good structure but just need to be recovered.

Joanne Palmisano is the author of Salvage Secrets (W.W. Norton, September 2011). Visit her blog, also called Salvage Secrets.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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 separate pieces — the inner piece folds over the outer piece.

Step 3

Attach Pieces

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.

Step 4

Seams and Edges

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.

Step 5

Wrap the Skirt

We did the chair's skirt last to cover the bottom edges of all the other pieces. You can do the skirt as one long piece wrapped all the way around or do separate pieces on each side of the chair.

Step 6

Cover Cushions and Add Nail Trim

When all the pieces are in place and are glued down, use the hammer to insert the upholstery nail heads through the fabric and into the chair's framing.

Pro Tip

All chairs vary — on some you can feel the framing in the arms, others the on the back and some around the edges.

Step 7

Final Stitching

The chair will need to be stitched together at the many of the seams to hold fabric in place. The adhesive is more of a temporary solution to get the pieces in their exact spots. The stitching will give it a rustic chic look.