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Join us for Virtual Open Hours every Wednesday from 5 – 7 pm! Our Staff, Board Members, and Volunteers will be available to answer any membership questions and help you find tools or make a reservation. You do not need to be present for these sessions to reserve tools, however, we do recommend new members introduce themselves.

How to Reupholster and Paint a Chair




  • Seat foam
  • Upholstery batting
  • Upholstery fabric

Sanding and Painting

  • (1-2) 220 grit sandpaper sheet
  • Tack cloth
  • Primer
  • Interior paint
  • Polycrylic finish (optional)
  • Cardboard or drop cloth



Sanding and painting

  • Small paint brush


Curbside Service Hours Staffing

During TTL’s operating hours volunteers are responsible for checking tools in and out, signing up new members, putting away tools, and explaining the Library’s mission and procedures to the public.

Tool Repair and Maintenance

Tasks include assessing the condition and safety of donated hand and power tools, as well as basic tool repair, cleaning, and maintenance.

Event Staffing

You’ll promote our organization, mission, and services at local events such as farmers’ markets and maker fairs, . Duties vary, but include speaking with the public about TTL, setting up and breaking down a table and display, signing up new members, handling cash and card payments, and teaching/moderating small activities or workshops.

Workshop Leader

A major part of TTL’s mission is providing not only tools, but the training to use them safely and effectively. If you have a skill you’d like to share, please let us know, and we’d love to make arrangements with you to teach!

Committee Member

Serving on a committee provides members with leadership training, networking opportunities, and experience in working on a variety of non-profit administrative tasks. Committees typically meet monthly, and require some work outside of those meetings.


Have an idea about how you could help out? Just let us know!

Instructions for Reupholstery

1. Remove the seat cushion from the chair. Cushions are often screwed on, so use your philips head screwdriver to unscrew the screws, and the cushion will come off.

2. Remove old fabric, batting and cushion by removing staples from the back of the seat. This can be done by first loosening the staples with the flathead screwdriver, then pulling them out with the needle nose plier.

3. Cut out the new foam. Lay your seat on the foam, and use a sharpie to outline around it. Then, cut foam with a serrated bread knife.

4. Cut the batting. Lay batting down on a table, then put foam and seat on top of it. Fold the batting over the seat, and trim it down to about 3 inches of excess material.

5. Staple and trim the batting. Place one staple in the middle of each side. Then, staple each side working outwards, leaving about 2 inches next to each corner. Staple the corners by first pulling the fabric directly down from the corner and stapling. Then, staple on either side of the middle staple. Then, trim the batting to about ½ inch from the line of staples.

6. Mark and cut the fabric. Use the old seat cushion cover as a template. Lay the old seat cushion on top of the new fabric, and draw a line 2 inches around the old cover. Cut out the new cover.

7. Staple on the new cover. Place the seat (with foam and batting stapled on) facedown on the new fabric. Pulling the material taut, staple the middle of the fabric on all four sides. Then, staple outwards from the middle, leaving 2 inches without staples on each corner. As you staple, make sure you’re pulling the material taut, and check your work as you go to see if the chair is getting lumpy from stapling material at unequal tightness levels ( I made the mistake of not doing this well). Then, staple the corners in the same way you stapled the batting.

8. Reattach the seat. (If you are sanding and painting your chair, save this step till after you have done that). Screw the screws back into the places you took them from. This is easiest when you partially tighten screws initially, then fully tighten them once all are partially screwed in.

Instructions for Sanding and Painting

1. Create your set up. Lay down cardboard or a drop cloth under your chair. Painting outside is best. Wear clothes you don’t care about (I made this mistake).

2. Sand. Using a 220 grit sheet of sandpaper, lightly sand all over your chair. The purpose of this sanding is not to sand off paint, but rather to rough up the surface so that the primer and paint has something to adhere to.

3. Clean. Use a tack cloth to wipe off all of the dust and paint from sanding. Do not use a paper towel or fabric, as these materials will not pick up all the tiny particles, and may even add things to the surface that will show up under paint.

4. Prime. Whether you prime, and how many coats you use, will depend on the color and condition of your chair. I chose to do two coats of primer because I was painting a light color over a black chair that had significant scratching and chipping. Paint primer on in thin layers, and ensure that you give the primer adequate time to dry (at least 1 hour, but check the container).

5. Paint. One sample size of interior paint was sufficient to paint three layers of paint on the chair. Apply paint in thin, even layers. Check as you go for drips and uneven sections. Work in sections to ensure that for each layer of paint, you paint every part of the chair. Let the paint dry for at least a few hours between each coat, and ensure that if it is outside it is safe from rain or very cold weather.

6. Reattach chair cushion. Once the paint is fully dry, screw the screws back into the places you took them from. This is easiest when you partially tighten screws initially, then fully tighten them once all are partially screwed in.

7. Enjoy your chair!

Written by Kai Bahls