How to Decoupage Furniture With Fabric for an “Upholstered” Look!

Last Updated on May 11, 2022

Learn how to decoupage furniture with fabric with this detailed tutorial! It allows you to get the look of upholstery without the expense!

Decoupage furniture

Hello lovely readers!  Have you ever wondered how you can add some interest to furniture without painting it? I mean, paint is GREAT (I love it), but sometimes you want to do something other than paint furniture. Well, this tutorial my friends, will teach you how to decoupage furniture! This is one of my FAVORITE projects EVER.  You can essentially “upholster” a wooden chair with fabric and Mod Podge!

If you have followed my blog for a while, you know that a while back I transformed an unused room in our house into a home office/craft room. I was searching for a desk chair and wound up falling in love with a very expensive upholstered chair with a stunning fabric. It was WAY out of my budget at $445.

I so so wanted it for my desk chair.  Unfortunately, it cost $445 (which was closer to my budget for my entire room).  SO, I had to get creative to achieve the look I wanted with a much smaller price tag.

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How to Decoupage Furniture Tutorial

If you'd like free printable instructions for this project, just fill out the form below :)

Materials Needed to Decoupage Furniture

Armed with my fabric and my chair, I created THIS beautiful chair!

Did you know you can decoupage furniture to get an "upholstered" look on a tiny budget? Come check out how to "upholster" a chair with Mod Podge and fabric!

Now, let me tell exactly you how I did it :) You can also watch the video below (it will play after a short ad) for a really good overview!

Steps to Decoupage Furniture:

1) If you want to spray paint the legs of your chair, do it before assembling it.

2) Next, lay your fabric on a flat surface.  Place the seat of your chair on top of the fabric and trace the perimeter of the wood–be sure to trace about 1 inch beyond the wood surface, so that your fabric piece winds up being a bit larger than the seat itself.  Using the lines you have traced as your guide, cut your fabric out.

AWESOME! Learn how to "upholster" a chair with fabric and Mod Podge. Full tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body!

3) Next, coat the surface of your seat with Mod Podge.  Then lay your fabric on top and smooth out any wrinkles/bubbles.  Once your fabric is in place, coat the top of the fabric with Mod Podge as well.  Allow it to dry overnight.

AWESOME! Learn how to "upholster" a chair with fabric and Mod Podge. Full tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body!

4) By the next morning, your fabric should feel nice and stiff, particularly around the edges of the wood.  If it does, you are ready to trim off your excess fabric with a sharp craft or utlity knife.  Use the edge of your chair as the guide and cut off your fabric as close to the edge of the wood as possible.

5) You may wind up with some stray threads of fabric.  Trim them off as necessary and then coat the entire perimeter of your seat with Mod Podge.  This should flatten any stray threads that cannot be trimmed AND prevent further fraying.

AWESOME! Learn how to "upholster" a chair with fabric and Mod Podge. Full tutorial by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body!

6) Repeat steps 2 through 5 for the remaining wood pieces of your chair.

That's it!  For around $60, I have a totally custom chair at a FRACTION of the cost of my inspiration chair.  I love, love, love it!  Now that I have used the chair for a good, long while, I occasionally have to trim stray threads and have applied additional Mod Podge on one of the corners where the fabric started to loosen a bit.  The spray-painted legs do need to be touched up, but that's my fault for rushing the spray painting the first time around (I only applied one coat). The bottom line is that with that little bit of maintenance, my decoupage chair is holding up wonderfully and I sit in it a lot!

Did you know you can decoupage furniture to get an "upholstered" look on a tiny budget? Come check out how to "upholster" a chair with Mod Podge and fabric!
Did you know you can decoupage furniture to get an "upholstered" look on a tiny budget? Come check out how to "upholster" a chair with Mod Podge and fabric!

If you want to decoupage furniture for yourself, be sure to pin it for later :)

Other posts you may enjoy:

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  1. Hi could i do this with a cushioned leather seat? As in use modge podge the same way you did with the fabric but with a leather seat?

    1. Hi Annie! I wouldn’t recommend this on leather. Because a leather seat is flexible, I’m afraid the Mod Podge “seal” would break as soon as someone sits on it. It can really only be used on a stable surface that doesn’t bend/flex when sat on. I hope that helps!

  2. I’m updating you on a project I emailed you about last year – the painted kitchen backsplash! I loved it, and also did concrete skimmed countertops. And it sold my house for me! Which was the whole purpose in doing it after all!

    And now this is my next project. I found an IKEA chair on the curb that some poor person had spray painted a hideous combination of yellow and blue geometric lines. I rescued it and have been trying to figure out how to help it and now I know! Thanks for the great idea! And I’m obsessed with your fabric choice too!

    1. Thanks Christine! I LOVE that you tried the backsplash and countertops. Well done! Good luck on your chair. Sounds like you are a natural DIY’er!

  3. I have a coffee table that I wanted to refinish do you think I could do this what would you use as a top coat . This would look great! I just love your chair!

      1. Tasha I have 8 adult school chairs like the one you did but they have rivet buttons on the seat and backs holing them to the frames. Any suggestions about working around them?

        1. You would have to either go over it, use a craft knife to cut out the rivets and expose them, or take the chair apart. Good luck!

          1. Thanks, cant take the chair apart factory rivets. Hopefully the fabric won’t wrinke when I get to the rivets. May need two people to handle this project. Thank you. May just make pads and back covers to change out seasonally.

  4. Hi Tasha, did you cover the back and the bottom of the chair? I love your office, well done.

  5. I am so excited right now you have no idea. The fabric you used is my dream fabric. I saw it at Hobby Lobby months ago and for 32 dollars a yard. College student budget does not work well with crazy expensive fabric. The site you linked it to is for a fraction. So in love with this chair. Thanks so much!

  6. Omg! I covered my dining chairs in the same fabric (same design, different colors). I wish I could upload a pic here. I bought mine st JoAnn’s.

    1. Wow! that’s great Gunjan. I think we have the same taste. It would be great if you could upload the picture of your chair.

  7. Love the project! What type of fabric would you recommend using…… thick, thin, double sided, upholstery?

  8. I love this idea! The fabric is so bright and cheerful!
    And, (I know its a typo but please don’t fix it, it’s too cute!) I love that you found a “mental” chair! LOL

  9. How is the chair still holding up? Also, can they be wiped down? I’m considering this for dining chairs.

    1. It’s holding up great, Rachael! I have had to add some Mod Podge to the edges a couple of times, but I think that’s because I used regular Mod Podge. If I had it to do over again, I would use the Mod Podge specifically for fabric–I bet that is a bit stronger and holds the edges down even better!

  10. Hi! Thanks so much for your brilliant idea! I have 4 metal folding chairs that I’ve been wanting to spray paint a pretty color for a while. Adding fabric would make them so much prettier. Do you think this would work on a metal chair? What about if I added a THICK layer of batting too?

    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Danielle! I do think it would work directly on metal, but probably not with an added layer of batting. The mod podge needs to adhere the fabric directly to a hard, stable surface. Good luck!

  11. love this idea. Just picked up 10 of these chairs for $20! My new dining chairs for the cottage. Going fabric shopping right now! Next step: how to make Modpodge at home.

  12. I do a lot of fabric decoupage on stools, furniture, and trays. Also bird houses. I almost always get bubbles that are very difficult to smooth out. Did you have a problem with that? Also, I found that, after two coats of mod Podge, I can sand the surface smooth and then I can put polyurethane over it, sand again, and have a very smooth finish!

  13. If you want that beautiful fabric to pop you need to coat your chair with some sort of lacquer…you can use a spray lacquer which i do for smaller projects….put about four coats on and lightly sand between the first two or three coats as the lacquer brings up the nap….ive done lots of deco furniture!

  14. I absolutely love this and what a great idea to mod podge the fabric onto the chair. I am also obsessed with this fabric as well. I purchased a couple yards of it and I plan to recover 2 chairs in my dining room. Love what you’ve done!

  15. This is cool :) I’d like to know how it holds up with use because Mod Podge is a low quality adhesive. Maybe try matte medium or another poly instead?

    Also, I’m sorry to say this, but your website is commercialized to the point of being so obnoxious. Any image I try to look at has a pop up that covers the bottom half pretty much the whole time. I get that you want to make some money, but geeeez! I think I’ll avoid in the future. It really detracts from the content and the DIY experience.

  16. Hi Tasha!

    Love the chair, but WHERE did you get that rug??

    –Fellow designer trapped in a lawyer’s body

  17. Hi there! Love what you’ve done to repurpose this chair, such a great idea. I was just wondering if you think I could do the same sort of thing with a chair like this:

    I have a couple and the design that is on them clashes with my decor but I would like to use them so this would be a quick fix if you think it will adhere to the vinyl.

    Thank you!

    1. Hmmm, Lynzee. I don’t think it would work on these chairs since there is some flexibility in the surface of them. But, I bet you could easily re-upholster them. Just google it and I get a ton of good tutorials will pop up. Good luck!

  18. Get out! Again you have outdone your crafty self with another awesome project. Love the fabric!

    I’d love for you to share this project at my Show Me Saturday linky party this weekend. My readers would love this!

    Happy New Year!
    ~ Ashley