Drab to Fab Folding Chairs

WhipperBerry Creative Team // Today I'm super excited to introduce you to another member of the WhipperBerry Creative Team… Jenn from My Fabulous Life. She is one talented lady with an amazing list of talents…
jenn from my fabuless life

Hi!  I'm Jenn and I blog about DIY, furniture refinishing, and other random creative endeavors over at My Fabuless Life.  I'm beyond thrilled and flattered that Heather has asked me to be a part of her team.  Today I'm sharing a little folding chair makeover story.

It's probably no surprise that I love to host parties and gatherings at my house and volunteer my abode for events whenever possible–my husband totally loves it.  So this past year, when the parentals asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I told them, without skipping a beat, FOLDING CHAIRS! Buuuttt….I feel like nothing puts a damper on my party quite like adding some drab, ugly folding chairs to a perfectly planned table setting.  You can imagine the parents' joy when they granted my Christmas wish and I immediately said, "Oh, I'm so excited! I can't wait to paint these are recover them." Queue collective, "Aww, no, don't do that…they're perfectly good and new…wait until they're at least beat up a little…."

I had a little guilt about going against the wishes of the gift-givers, but seriously, these girls were not going to be invited to my parties in this outfit.

So here's how to give them a makeover:

I originally set out to do some vintage florals, but plaids have stolen my heart in a big way lately–for some reason whenever I say this, I hear Tim Gunn in my head talking about menswear.  Anyway, I was at Walmart, of all places one day, and found the blue and pink plaid (on the right) in their remnant bin for like $2.00 and knew EXACTLY what I was going to do with the chairs.  The gold, polka dot burlap was not in the original plan, but when you find GOLD, POLKA DOT BURLAP (at Joann's), you USE IT!  I may need meetings for this burlap addiction because it is quickly appearing all over my house and I can not get enough.

You'll need:
Spray paint (about one can for each chair)
Fabric (less than 1/2 yard for each chair)
Staple gun (can be purchased for about $10 just about anywhere that sells basic tools)
(4) 1" screws for each chair

Start by removing the pads from the chair.  On my chairs, the ones on the back just came off by unscrewing three little screws.



The seat cushion was attached with some type of plastic screws so I just clipped the ends off with wire cutters (just something will cut through thick plastic).  DON'T TRY TO PULL THEM OUT.  They have a flat head that's attached to the wood under the padding and you'll just rip a hole through the seat–learned that one the hard way.


Then spray paint the chairs.  I used Valspar Brushed Rose and Mellow Spring from Lowe's.  While the paint is drying, you can upholster your cushions.

Just lay the cushion on the fabric, cut a piece of fabric big enough to pull around it, and staple it down right over the top of the existing fabric.  Make sure to keep it pulled tight, and if you're using a fabric with a pattern, keep flipping the cushion over as you go to make sure you're keeping the pattern straight.


Trim the excess fabric and reattach the cushions.  To attach the seat cushions, just drill a new screw up through where the the old plastic screw used to be.

And there you have it!  Pretty, party-ready chairs! And when they're this easy, you can change the fabric for every party if you want!

You can find more Fabulessness at My Fabuless Life, here are a few more fun finds…
My Fabuless Life
Sweet Relish


  1. says

    That Polka Dot burlap is amazing!  I want to go home, throw out all of my half broken dining room chairs and just replace them all with wonderful, pretty folding chairs!! 

  2. says

    Love this idea – I've got some ugly folding chairs in my garage that need a pretty makeover!!  Thanks!!

  3. says

    I desperately want to do this to the folding chairs I take to craft shows– they are a boring tawny beige color and could use a little pizzaz! Thank you for the easy tutorial– and for the tip about the plastic screws. I totally would have boffed that part :)

  4. Janine says

    I can hardly wait to try this on the ugly folding chairs I have out in the garage.  Love the polka dots!

  5. says

    What a GREAT idea!  I need some folding chairs, but they are so expensive to buy new (and not very pretty at all!) and usually even less pretty to buy used on craigslist or at a yard sale.  I will have to keep an eye out for some used ones, now that I know I can easily make them look great!  Thanks for sharing!

  6. Samantha says

    So pretty! I am need a couple of folding chairs for the craft shows I do, and I would love to copy your polka dot makeover. What brand/color spray paint was it that you used?

  7. says

    These chairs are BEYOND cute!  I don't think I could ever hide them away … would have these out all the time!   I love all of them, but the burlap and gold polka dot is UHHH-mazing.  Thanks for sharing this tutorial … going on my "craft bucket list" now! :) nikki

  8. Kim says

    How long were the screws you used?  I'm pretty sure I have the exact chairs you do and want ot re-cover them.  But I don't want to use too long of screws and poke a hole in the cover- or the serson who sits on them!!

    • Gwen Rader says

      I have the same question! Please a reply if you have done this- I cut the plastic screws off- wondering if I need to put flat heads on inside of cushions- which would require unwrapping original cushion….

  9. Sybel says

    I'm trying this now with my folding chairs and here are some tips:

    1) Prime the SOBs.  My chairs are black and I'm spray painting them a light yellow.  I've gone through a whole can of paint and still the coverage is great.  I think if I primed them more, I would have used less paint. 

    2) I think you should budget a whole can of paint for a chair.  Remember, you don't have to paint the surfaces that will be covered by the cushions.  You also don't have to paint underneath the chair if you want to save some paint and time.

    3) Depending on the weight of your fabric, you may need to get longer screws.  I used some nice heavy Dwell upholstery fabric and I definitely need longer screws.

  10. Susie says

    Could you please correct the name of the website into the first link so Jenn can get her well deserved credit?

  11. says

    I have been hoping to do this exact same makeover with chairs in the same style but in a drab grey colour. I got as far as taking off the back cushion but was worried about the plastic screws on the seat cushion. Thanks for making the mistake for me! Now I know what to do to get them off. I wanted to cover mine in oil cloth to make them easy to wipe clean. So excited now!
    Great post. LOVE thegoldpolka dot burlap the most :-D

  12. Shruti says

    These look awesome! Can't wait to try this on my old folding chairs. Any crafters have tips for making diy upholstered cushions onto folding chairs that are plain metal? (i.e. that don't already have a cushion?) too thrifty to get rid of them :)


  13. Erica says

    Is the burlap itchy? The few times I’ve used it on things, I’ve itched and it doesn’t stay well together either so I’m interested in knowing if when people sit on it if it breaks pieces off and sticks to people’s bottoms?

  14. Carrie Smith says

    I LOVE this and just started on my chairs. I have a question: What kind of screws did you use to reattach the seat cushions to the chair? The holes in the wood are bigger than the holes in the metal seat and the screws I bought have nothing to grab on to in the cushion.

  15. Marsha says

    Now that it is a couple years out from when you did this project can you fill me in on how well the paint held up especially with the folding up and storing of the chairs. Thank you

  16. Kay says

    Thank you for this post! I had the same chairs but wanted to change them. I followed the instructions to a T and the results were great!

  17. Michelle says

    Thank you for this great idea. My chairs, unfortunately, have old, worn cushions as well. How do I replace those? I am a DIY-Newbie.

  18. Jane says

    I have several old vintage folding chairs I want to redo like this. The seat is attached with screws, however, there are no screws on the seat backs. Should I try prying this off?


  1. […] Believe it or not, this is one of three beautiful folding chair transformations.  The gold and polka dots got me though, and I had to share this one.  I definitely wouldn’t mind having a few of these around when we have extra guests at home.  My Fabuless Life knows how to do folding chairs right! […]

  2. […] beige folding chair…oh my. Why have blah extra seating when you can have bold? This tutorial HERE shows us how to take a folding chair to another level of style. I just love the mixture of fabrics […]

  3. […] Des pois sur des chaises, des rideaux un tapis de souris, un plateau et un cadre : DIY Burlap Polka Dot Tray (via Ucreate) // (via DIY Fabric Mat | Pink Lace Wings) // Confetti Drapes tutorial (via Remodelaholic ) // DIY SUEDE AND GOLD LEAF POLKA DOT MOUSEPAD (via DIY Suede and Gold Leaf Mousepad | Lovely Indeed) // (via Drab to Fab Folding Chairs – Whipperberry) […]

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