How to recover a rocking chair cushion

Written by jennifer loucks
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How to recover a rocking chair cushion
Recover a rocking chair cushion to extend the life of the chair. (rocking chair and flag image by Jeffrey Zalesny from

Revitalise an old or antique rocking chair by recovering the worn-out cushion seat cover. Choose a medium-weight decorator fabric, as this type of fabric is easier to fold smoothly around the seat edges than a heavyweight or thick fabric. The process of recovering a rocking chair cushion does not require sewing skills or the use of a sewing machine. Recovering a chair cushion is low in cost and requires only a few supplies available at craft or fabric stores.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Screwdriver or power drill
  • Decorator fabric
  • Chalk fabric marker
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Polyester batting or foam pad

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Flip the chair over and remove the screws around the seat pad. Lift the pad off the chair and place the screws in a safe place so you can reattach the pad later.

  2. 2

    Lay the new chair-covering fabric on a clean surface so the wrong side is facing up. Remove the staples holding the fabric on the backside of the chair pad. Place the removed fabric on top of the new fabric and use a chalk fabric marker to draw the outline.

  3. 3

    Inspect the seat padding under the fabric to verify whether it is in good condition. Cut a section of 1-inch-thick polyester batting or foam pad to fit the chair seat if the padding requires replacement.

  4. 4

    Set the cut piece of fabric on a flat surface with the wrong side facing up. Set the new chair padding on top, if needed. Set the seat piece on top of the layers so the top of the seat is facing down.

  5. 5

    Grasp the extra fabric on the front edge of the chair seat and pull it to the backside. Secure the fabric with a staple set into the centre of the edge. Repeat on the back edge of the seat and secure one staple in the centre.

  6. 6

    Turn the seat over so the right side is facing you. Adjust the fabric so the pattern is lying smooth and not pulling toward one direction.

  7. 7

    Secure the fabric on one of the side edges by pulling it to the backside while verifying on the right side that it remains smooth. Place a staple in the centre of that edge and repeat the process for the opposite side. Each of the four sides will now have one staple holding the fabric.

  8. 8

    Flip the chair seat over so the bottom is facing up. Secure the fabric around each edge starting in the front by pulling the fabric taut and securing it in place with several staples spaced a half-inch apart. Repeat this process for each edge, making sure to stop 1 inch from the corners.

  9. 9

    Finish the corners by pulling the fabric tightly on one side and securing it in place with a staple. Fold the excess fabric from the other side of the corner to the backside and secure it in place with a staple. Repeat this process for each corner.

  10. 10

    Remove excess fabric from the backside of the chair pad by cutting it within 1 inch of the staples. Place the chair pad back on the rocking chair frame and screw it back in place.

Tips and warnings

  • Use the chair pad to make a fabric outline if the removed fabric is in poor condition or does not exist. Set the chair pad on top of the fabric so the top is facing down and draw a marking on the fabric to outline the seat pad size and shape. Add 3 inches around the chair pad marking and cut out the fabric piece.

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