How to Strip A Chair

Stripping furniture is, unfortunately, an inevitable part of any reupholstery project. It’s hard on your hands, wrists and arms. It can be dusty, and will certainly be messy. But, you can get it over with as quickly and as easily as possible with the following tips.

For those who will be joining my Upholstery Workshops, these workshop days are very full, so we won’t want to waste any time. Please have your project stripped before the day of the workshop. :)


You will need:

Work gloves
Safety glasses
A staple puller or flathead screwdriver


Beginning at the bottom of your piece, rip the dust cover off. It should tear off pretty easily.


Using your pliers, rip the fabric off the base of the piece. You don’t have to be careful, or pull out every staple. Rip it off using your whole arm, NOT your wrist. Try to use a strong, sideways ripping motion to get the fabric off in one or two pulls.


Any long staples that have pulled out must be immediately removed, or they will cut you.


Any bulky staples should be removed, but if they are not going to interfere with your job, leave them. You may hammer them down if they stick up slightly.


You may need your staple puller or screwdriver to pry up any metal tack strip.


You will remove all the fabric that is visible, but leave the spring covering in place. It’s best to leave all the padding on the chair.


This is a fully stripped chair, ready to bring to the workshop. (Although, your chair will be smaller and simpler).


Q: Do I have to remove each staple/tack?
A: No. Remove any that will cut you, or that will interfere with the finished job.

Q: What if I tear the fabric?
A: It’s ok to tear the fabric. If there is a sewn seam with a distinct shape, try to keep that piece intact, but otherwise we will NOT be using the fabric as patterns.

Q: Do I save all the old padding?
A: Save the padding if you’d like to re-use it. If you’d prefer to purchase new foam, you can discard the old padding at your home. 

Q: Is it helpful to cut my fabric ahead of time?
A: No! Please cut your fabric at the workshop. Thanks.

If I have missed any info, or you have additional questions, please feel free to contact me before the workshop.


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