Upholstering 2 Chairs For My Living Room #13: Form and Pad the inside back.

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by MarkTheFiddler posted 02-09-2014 01:46 AM 1169 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 12: The Inside Arms Part 13 of Upholstering 2 Chairs For My Living Room series Part 14: 5 minute time lapse »


A lot of the techniques for shaping this inside back have already been discussed at length in the inside arm Blog. I’m going to skim over a few details until I get to something different.

I’ve got some loose synthetic burlap on the back of the chair.

It’s happens to be the only ‘material’ I kept. I removed the staple holding the top half.

I cut myself some 2”ish inch wide by 2” inch thick foam strips.

I just stapled them securely to the top to give a true curved shape.

On the back side, under the curve, I added a hunk of foam that was a about 1.5 X 2. I only stapled it to the upper board.

Now I pulled that burlap up and around the top. It doesn’t reach all the way but it does reach one of the boards. I’ll just staple the burlap to that one.

Now I’ll staple it to the sides of the inside back.

I’ve got a little excess so I’ll just give it a snip.

Remember my burlap on reached to a board on the back, starting from that board, I’ll finish the wrap.

Here is our shaped back.

Now let’s get some padding on the chair. I measured all the way around the formed back without padding and got 35 inches.

The I threw a piece of scrap foam over the curve, re-measured and got 46 inches.

Neither measurement is correct, The piece of foam I bought is 82 inches long by 30 Hmmmm. Half of 82 is 41.
That is really close to splitting the difference. Ok – Let’s go with it! Typically – You add 2/3 the difference to the shorter measurement.

Uh oh, we need a width. Measure the widest part. I’ve got 27 and the foam is 30 wide. Good enough!

Ok now – we don’t need scientific or even woodworking accuracy for this. Just measure and mark with a pencil or score it with a scratch awl if you like.

I just used my scissors to cut it.

Alrighty then, I threw the foam on the chair and overlapped the width by about a quarter inch. I curved it around the back and added several staples. I went up pretty high on the wood and I only caught about 3/4 inch of foam. at the very edge.

Try to get yours to look like this.

You can staple the rest if you like what you see.

Staple the foam straight up the side now.

You can now compress the foam and add a second set of staples. Watch what happens as I compress the top one section at a time.

That little bubble you see toward the edge is quite thin and will be upholstered out.
The foam was too wide so I cut off all but 1/4 inch of the excess on the other side.

I snipped the foam right were the back meets the top of the arms.

I snipped a couple of small rectangles out of the corners where the arm and back meet the seat. The snips will decrease bulk in those corners. Even with the snips the foam is still about an inch wider than the measurement from arm to arm.

I tucked the foam into the sides and just left it hanging at the bottom center.

That’s all I did.

I SHOULD have added a layer of Dacron to the top of that. That meant I would not have enough to finish the chairs and I would own almost a full roll that I have no plans on using in the near future. But still I SHOULD have nonetheless.

We’ll get busy upholstering that back in the next blog. The staples will fly!!!

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

5 comments so far

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2297 days

#1 posted 02-09-2014 02:17 AM

Flying Staples …can’t wait.

Work Safely and have Fun. – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2958 days

#2 posted 02-09-2014 04:02 AM

Where do you buy the foam you use?

Your blog made me feel I can refurbish a couple of chair seats…

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2213 days

#3 posted 02-09-2014 05:43 AM


Oh yeah – flying staples. I used to own a few Senco automatics. They would fire off up to 8 a second. They weren’t really good for that kind of use. They were really cool for having staple gun fights with my brother. Um – not incredibly safe, I know. My sister decided to join in with an 18 gauge crown nailer. Fortunately, she didn’t know about the safety.

LAN, the foam can be bought from any upholstery supply store. Get ready to pay A Lot for good foam. I mean figure out what you think is expensive and double it. I paid 34.50 for the 2 inch foam. Barely enough to do 2 chair backs.

You can definitely upholster some seats. I’m glad my blog is removing some of the mystery.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2958 days

#4 posted 02-09-2014 09:28 PM

That is expensive!

Thanks for the info!

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2213 days

#5 posted 02-09-2014 10:05 PM

It is Lan. When I was in the business – YEARS ago. I paid 1/3 the price. I got sticker shock when I priced seat foam. My five piece sectional was $168 for just the foam. BUT – I use the good stuff. Decent foam can be had for about 1/3 less.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics