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Upcycle Dining Room Chairs – Stain resistant seats

I love mismatched chalk painted, applique covered dining room chairs. Upcycle dining room chairs to add personality to your dining room. You may remember I made some for our dining room a couple of years ago. Unfortunately with young children and messy eating the seats have become stained, despite the stain resistant spray I applied. This time I am using a wax –  I first saw this technique at Radiant Home . The plan is the waxed seats will prevent staining, a great idea when you have young children. Plus a handy handle means you can hang spare seats on the wall when not in use.

upcycle dining room chairs

Upcycle dining room chairs

  • Dining room chair
  • Sugar soap
  • Chalk Paint
  • Furniture wax
  • Handle and screws
  • Upholstery fabric scraps (look in charity shops)
  • Greenland wax or similar for rewaxing clothes


Start by preparing your chair, remove the seat for reupholstering. The chair may have hidden grease stains so thoroughly wash down with sugar soap to remove ingrained dirt. If necessary sand the chair (for example peeling varnish).

Paint the chair with chalk paint. I suggest following the grain of the wood with your paint brush. Allow to dry and then apply a second coat. Watch out for drips, chalk paint dries quickly!

Once dry apply wax to the chair. Rub in with a lint free cloth into the wood. The wax prevents any grease stains being absorbed by the chalk paint.

Using a brawdl mark on the back of the chair the position of the screws for the handle. Drill small holes. Screw handle to the chair.

Wash and dry your upholstery fabrics, if they are preloved they will benefit from a freshen up, if they are new they may shrink in the wash.
Cut out 4” square of fabric using a Big Shot sizzix machine or a quilter’s ruler, rotary cutter and cutting mat. You will need approximately 25 squares, dependent upon the size of the seat of the chair.

Lay out the different fabrics into a pleasing random design. Place right sides together and stitch two squares together, add another until you have a chain of five squares. Repeat for a further 5 lines. Press with an iron. Place the right long sides together and stitch to create one large square of fabric.

Lay your fabric on a flat surface, wrong side facing you. Place the seat cover on top, with the stitch lines parallel to the seat. Starting from the center of the sides staple gun the fabric taught over the seat cushion.

Apply the Greenland wax to the seat cover. Patiently rub over the fabric, I suggest following the grain of the fabric.

Iron the wax coating, ensuring you thoroughly clean the iron afterwards. Alternatively use a hairdryer to heat the wax, you will see it melt and absorb into the fabric.

Top tips:

Use natural strong cotton fabrics for your seats, you don’t want a man-made fibre falling apart in three months time!

When sourcing chairs for recovering carefully check them to ensure they are strong, with no splits in the joints (ahem, may have bought a chair with several none repairable splits!).

Upcycle a dining room chair - use wax to prevent stains


The handle brings this project on trend…

Upcycled Dining Room Chair, waxed stain resistant seats

What do you use for stain resistance? I am curious to see how the waxed seats will hold up over time.

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Monday 15th of May 2017

I really like the idea of having stain-resistant seat cushions! I think I'd likely go the easier route of oilcloth until children are older, but I certainly don't like sitting on plastic.

What is the wax made of? If it's parrafin, one can buy "Gulf Wax" in the grocery store or online. It has four 1/2" thick 2.5 x 5" or so wax blocks. I wrap one of the four tightly one in a white paper towel and make a non-stick lubricating block for ironing my clothing - a very old trick. Makes the iron glide very easily. I mention it because they are semi-opaque white and would not yellow the fabric as much as a yellow wax. I'm not sure how easily it could be rubbed in though. Just thinking.

I checked and Gulf Wax is still made. Apparently it is used (in part) for candle making. Not sure it would work for this project. I'll have to try a test piece.


Thursday 18th of May 2017

Ah I had not thought of a whiter wax, sadly it doesn't appear that Gulf Wax is available in the UK -maybe in a boat shop

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