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Seat cushions made easy

Chair with background dropped out
There's no need to take a back seat and leave upholstering of seat cushions to a pro. In just six simple steps and using materials readily available at fabric stores, you can quickly make comfortable, attractive cushions, and enjoy cost-savings to boot.

Six simple steps

NOTE: for the McLaughlin dining chair you'll need to cut your plywood and seat materials to the dimensions shown in the article in the May 2011, WOOD Magazine. The photos in this brief online article show a different dining chair. However, the techniques work the same for both; only the dimensions change.

Begin by cutting the plywood to size and routing the edges with a 18 " round-over bit. Sand all edges and faces smooth. Now follow these six easy steps for a custom seat.

Chair cushion

Cut the foam to shape

Adhere the oversize piece of foam to the seat with spray adhesive. Guided by the seat's edges, trim the excess foam with an electric carving knife or serrated bread knife. Be sure to keep the blade cutting vertically.

Chair being cut

Creating rounded edges

For the cushion to have rounded edges, remove the foam's square top edges. To do this, first mark cutlines 4" in and 1" down from the foam's top edges with a medium-point, felt-tipped marker and a straightedge.

Cut along the marked lines

Using the electric knife or serrated bread knife, cut along the marked lines. Keep the knife's blade simultaneously aligned with the lines marked on both the top and side to form bevels on the foam's top edges.

White cushing being cut at angle

Add the batting

Place a 24x24" piece of quilt batting on your workbench. Center the seat/foam on the batting. Now, pull the batting up over the foam, and fasten it to the seat with 38 " staples. Trim the excess batting at the corners.

White foam being stapled to chair board

Staple the cover in place

Center the cushion on the back side of the 24x24" cover. Secure the cover to the seat at the middle of each side with one 38 " staple. Working from centers to corners, pull the cover onto the seat, and finish stapling it.

seat cushion

Finishing touches

Pinch the fabric together in the corners, and trim the excess about 3/4" above the seat. Keeping the remaining fabric taut, fold it, smooth out any wrinkles, and staple it (photo below). Again, trim away any excess fabric.

Cutting fabric off corner of chair

Stapling corner of fabric on chair

Chair with background dropped out
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