How to Reupholster Rocking Chairs

Updated April 17, 2017

Rocking chairs never go out of style, but sometimes they wear out. You might have an heirloom or just a favourite old rocker with upholstery that's become torn, stained, faded, or has just fallen apart over the years. But you don't need to hire a professional who reupholsters rocking chairs. With the right supplies and tools, you can give your rocker a new life by reupholstering it yourself.

Locate the screws that hold the chair together. Use a cordless drill and a bit that fits the chairs screws to remove all of the screws. Take the chair apart, setting the screws in a safe place so they do not get lost.

Remove all of the upholstery from the back and seat of the rocking chair. Take out the tacks or staples using a small pair of pliers.

Measure the widths and lengths of the chair's seat and back so you know how much upholstery fabric you will need for each piece. Add 1 inch to the length and width measurements for each piece to ensure you will have enough fabric to fold the edge under for a neat edge seam.

Lay the new upholstery fabric facedown on your work surface. Use a tape measure, straight edge and fabric marking pen to measure and mark the new coverings for the back and seat of the rocker. Make the lines dark and easily visible, as they will be your guidelines for cutting the fabric to size.

Use sharp scissors to cut the fabric to size. Dull scissors will not cut efficiently through the thick upholstery fabric, and will leave you with frayed, uneven edges.

Position the back of the chair in front of you. Lay the fabric down on top of it, pattern side up, facing you. Line up the fabric so that the edges are all ½ inch over the edge of the area to be upholstered.

Fold the edges of the fabric under ½ inch along the back side. Use upholstery tacks or staples to secure the back edge. Fold the front edge of the fabric under ½ inch, pull tight and secure using tacks or staples. Do the same for the sides. Move on to the seat of the rocking chair. Fold the back edge of the fabric under ½ inch and secure using tacks or staples. Fold the front edge under ½ inch, pull tight, and secure. Do the sides the same way.

Use the cordless drill to put the screws back into the rocking chair and reassemble it. Make sure the screws are secure, but do not over-tighten, as that can strip the screws.


Take your time, and measure carefully.


Use care and caution when using sharp scissors or a drill.

Things You'll Need

  • Cordless drill
  • Bit that fits chairs screws
  • Upholstery fabric, 1 to 2 yards
  • Tape measure
  • Straight edge
  • Fabric marking pen
  • Sharp scissors
  • Upholstery tacks
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About the Author

Sincerity Anna has been working online as a content writer since 2004. She specializes in how to articles on parenting, home repair, crafts, sewing, and design. Sincerity Anna has published nearly 400 articles on She has also published many articles on She attended the Institute of Children's Literature.