How to Make an Upholstered Seat for a Wicker Chair

I ran across this set of wicker chairs at a garage sale. They came with a table which has since left our small home. It became less sturdy over the years and did not work any longer for our family. This summer I found a new table that is very stable and I want to make the chairs fit with the table I now have. Originally these chairs were very faded from being used to sitting in a sunroom. They had no protection and so I painted them a dark brown, but now I wanted them a lighter shade of another color.

So out came the spray paint in a beautiful sea glass color that I had previously painted a wicker chair in my living room. It turned out amazing and I decided to match my dining chairs with that beautiful piece. Our family loves to sit around our table when we entertain to savor the meal and have long conversations before slowly making our way to more comfortable chairs. So it is imperative for our dining chairs to be comfortable.

Originally these chairs came with some cheap loose cushions that were faded and ugly. I thought I could find some new cushions to fit them online or in local stores but I was s-o-o-o-o-o wrong. I had to re-think my plan for softer chairs. A friend of ours helped me with a plan he came up with but it was too complicated for me and probably for most of my readers so…I came up with this plan and will show it to you as I actually did the work. Also I was nervous about drilling through the wicker, thinking it might weaken the seats and nervous about drilling into the bamboo rattan also.

First I needed a piece of fiber board in a square about the size of the chair. I measured the seat and came up with front, back and side measurements and had the lumber mart cut the boards to squares matching the largest measurements (front and sides), I would later finish the cuts to make a custom fit.

I had this fabric sitting in a corner for a while and thought it would be perfect for the chairs. I fell in love with this fabric months ago and it’s been sitting around waiting for the perfect chair, curtain etc. It’s time has come! I am rediscovering yellow and orange in my home. I decided this would make the cushions look cheerful and add a light-hearted feeling in my small eat-in kitchen. The fabric also would match the mustard color on my new buffet, which was a huge plus in my book.

Now Joann’s Fabrics sells this foam in a roll and with a 50% off coupon that they offer every so often it becomes relatively cheap.

But I wanted a memory foam too and found this at Walmart that makes it equally cheap—or close to it—and possibly more comfortable so I went with this instead.

My plan for this was to cover the fiberboard seat with this fabric, but first I had to make a newspaper pattern for each seat as they are a little different from each other. I used a sharpie to trace the pattern onto my square board. I then cut the squares down from the measurements I had given the lumber mart so I had minimal cuts to make. Other than cutting the angled sides down, I only had to do the rounding of the front corners and in the back. Which doesn’t take long with a good jig saw which you can get for a small cost ($20), I would not spend more if you are not going to use it for a lot of projects. If this is the only one you will be using it for, borrow one from a friend or a family member and you are set to go!

Here’s what you will need:

a staple gun and staples


chair padding

memory foam (optional)


batting (also optional)

fiberboard or plywood cut to fit seat

After I cut the seats and found that they matched the chair seat well, I started to cover the seats with the foam and fabric. I like to use some batting over the foam to allow for any bumps to be hidden from view and for a more comfortable seating experience.

This technique I will be showing you is totally my own, I have never seen this anywhere online or in any book, it is my own hack and I thought this would be a genius way—yes I said ‘genius’, lol—for me to show you how easy it is to keep your seat on your chair, yes even as you scoot into the table. It allows me to do this without drilling through the wicker OR the rattan which I’ve heard is easily cracked which could make the chair unusable. This made the project so much easier and still is a stable way to keep the cushion onto the chair without risk of it falling off when someone moves in the chair or gets up from their seat.

If you share this, please link it back here so they can see exactly how to do this for themselves. It is utterly and undeniably easy for anyone with any skill level and that’s what is so great about it. You don’t need any special tools other than a staple gun (for the cushion), no drills, no clamps or even a screwdriver!

In case you’ve never done a simple chair seat re-cover watch this:

Once you’ve cut the foam and fabric, and batting if you use that, lay them face down on a flat surface. Layer them so the tops are turned down.

Lay your seat over top down-side-up and begin stapling in the middle of each side, pulling the fabric taut so that it lays flat without wrinkles when you are through.

When all the sides have the staple in the middle proceed to staple toward the corners, stopping just before the corner.

Pleat the corners like this with a staple in the middle before folding the sides over.

In the back I pleat the corners, in the front I knife pleated for a more attractive squared corner. Just looks more professional.

So once you get the fabric and foam stapled to the seat all you really need to do is ‘plop’ the seat into the chair. I’ve found that the weight of the seat itself will hold it in place without even stapling it onto the wicker chair. How simple is that?

And it is so-o-o-o-o comfortable with the memory foam. I love it!

And voila! You’ve got one handsome looking chair. The nice thing about just allowing the seat to sit in the chair unattached is the clean-up is simply easier, you can carry the seat to the sink to wet it down for a quick and neat clean up. You won’t need to carry the chair to the sink. Also I need to add my glaze to the wicker yet and add my sealer, which will happen when I have the time later. For now I can add all my beautiful cushions and enjoy sitting at the table once again without needing to wait to finish out the chairs.

I hope this made it worth joining us here at Butterflies on Our Porch. Blessings to you and yours.

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