How to Waterproof Your Upholstered Dining Chairs

 If you've got kids and you've got upholstery within a meter of your dining table, chances are, you've got stained upholstery. I did a ton of research about the best way to go about incorporating kid- and water-proofed dining room upholstery. Because, let's be honest, kids (try as they might) are not easy on fabric where grape juice and peanut butter oils are concerned.
I had this great coral-print fabric on-hand that I wanted to use to lighten and brighten the original dark-brick-reddish chair upholstery. But there was no way it was going to stay clean without some sort of protective barrier.
There are loads of ideas out there. Buying oilcloth (or leather or vinyl or other water-resistant fabric) outright would work if you didn't already have fabric, but that didn't apply to me here. I was tempted to try my hand at soaking the fabric in boiled linseed oil, but the extreme flammability and the warnings about having the fabric be forever tacky swayed me away from that.
I read that you could use iron-on vinyl, and thought this would be my answer until I realized it only came in 17" widths. My dining chair seats were wider than that. But wait! sold the stuff in 24" widths!!! ( was the only place I could find that offers 24".) And it's cheap, too - like $6/yd or something. Problem solved.
I cut my fabric to fit the seats then followed the very easy instructions on my heat&bond iron-on vinyl. (Be careful to double- and triple-check the surface of your fabric before you stick the stuff on to make sure it's clear of lint and hair. Otherwise, you'll have lint and hair on there eternally.)
Ended up with a relatively flexible and waterproof piece of fabric. Yesssss.
I followed this basic tutorial on recovering the dining room seats.  
Start at the center of each edge and work toward the corners with the staples.
Do opposite edges.
So, when the two opposite sides of the seat were stapled (the front and the back, when the seat would be reinstalled onto the chair frame), I was ready to do corners. Starting in the center of one of the side edges, I stapled half and then, always pulling taut (because vinyl shows off wrinkles baaaaad), curved the staple line upward toward the corner. Like in the photo below.
Trimmed the excess.
Neatly folded and pinched the remaining corner fabric, doing my best to minimize the pleating.
Then stapled the fold down.
I did that for all four corners, and the seat cushion was ready to rock & roll.
I love how easy this is to do, how inexpensive, and how it lets you use whatever fabric you want, pretty much anywhere in your house, worry-free.
Here's the brightening effect of a fabric swap:
I'm a fan, I'm not going to lie. I love having this option for our dining room. Because I have four kids (the oldest is 9), and spills and fingerprints are part of our daily existence. It's not matte, to be honest, but it's not like covering the seat itself in separate clear vinyl. This is easily more subtle, less shiny, than that.
There are still some changes I want to make to this dining space before I call it good. But, for now, this quick waterproofing fix provides continuity and a little brightness.
Now, when I cry over spilt milk, it'll not be because the chair seats are ruined. It'll just be because I don't want to clean it up. Again.
(Just kidding. I don't actually cry over spilt milk. Usually.)

{shared: A Glimpse Inside, A Jennuine Life, DIY by Design, GingerSnap CraftsMy Girlish Whims, Sew Much Ado, Simply Designing, Sugar and Dots, The Happy Housie}
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  1. oh I love it! We have fabric chairs....before I had kids who sat at the table and used it for a napkin. I like the fabric, but don't know how to clean it - any advice?

  2. wow beautiful, it turns out to create Upholstered Dining Chairs beautiful is easy, thanks :)


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