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DIY ModPodge Chair Hack in Redbook

Its another Redbook DIY, folks. Its surprisingly easy (although don’t make our mistakes … read on). This one was inspired by the queen of DIY, Jenny Komenda from this post – and by inspired I pretty much mean REALLY INSPIRED, if you know what I mean. Thanks, Jenny (and congrats on your new baby).

Redbook DIY_Chair ModPodge Desk Midcentury Modern Eames Hack_ingredients

Items Needed:

Chair: Any solid piece chair will work, but after doing the DIY on this chair we realized that it would have been much easier to Modpodge the fabric to a chair that didn’t have SO many curves and lips. Maybe something a little simpler or without arms would have been a better choice. Trust me. This chair is adorable but it was way more of a challenge to get rid of the bubbles (and there were some that never went away) because of the curve.

Modpodge: There are all different kinds depending on if you want it to be shiny, satin, flat, or if you are using fabric with the modpodge vs. paper. Get the kind that works best for your specific chair. We used the general purpose Matte finish, which seemed to work well for us.

Foam Paint Brush: foam is always easier than a traditional paint brush for something like this, and buying a cheap one at the store means that you can toss it in the garbage when you finish the project rather than spending the time to clean it.

Fabric: our fabric was sourced from The Fabric Store which is a local fabric store here in LA. But we decided to go with something that didn’t have too big of a pattern and that was also a bit abstract, just in case we made mistakes. Our fabric was also very thin which made it very easy to get it to stick to the chair with the modpodge.

Razor: you will use this to trim away the excess fabric once the chair and fabric have adhered to one another.

Redbook DIY_Chair ModPodge Desk Midcentury Modern Eames Hack_modpodge

Step 1:

Take the legs off of your chair (if possible) and lay the chair upside down. Lay your fabric over the chair to make sure that you will have enough and that it is positioned correctly. Then begin to apply the modpodge to the chair. The more you use the easier it will be to adjust the fabric and get it to stick to the chair. You can’t really use too much with a project like this, but DO make sure that you work in small areas so that your modpodge doesn’t dry before you lay the fabric down on top of it. Once you have painted a small patch of modpodge lay the fabric over on top of it and press it down. Continue doing this until you have adhered the entire piece of fabric to the chair.

Step 2:

This is definitely an optional step but we decided to do it just to prolong the life of the chair. Once the fabric has adhered to the chair, apply an even coat of modpodge to the entire fabric area. It will not appear to go on clear but will dry that way so don’t get worried if it looks like you are ruining your new piece of fabric with modpodge. This last layer will help to seal the fabric to the chair and prevent it from getting dirt, moisture, or anything else on it. It also prevents the fabric from fraying and makes it very easy to clean up when you spill something on it.

Redbook DIY_Chair ModPodge Desk Midcentury Modern Eames Hack_trimming

Step 3:

Once your chair is all dry, carefully trim away all of the excess fabric around the edges. You can also go over the edges once again with a layer of modpodge if any of the fabric starts to peel up while you are trimming.

Step 4:

Reattach legs, sit on chair and stare at your awesome vintage pencil collection (Vintage, from Nickey Kehoe).

Redbook DIY_Chair ModPodge Desk Midcentury Modern Eames Hack

Resources: vintage desk from MidcenturyLA | vintage pencil collection from Nickey Kehoe | knock off Eiffel chairs from random source, but you can buy them here. 

All photos by David Tsay with Styling by Scott horne, art direction by Me.

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It turned out pretty awesome! I have a couple of Panton chairs laying around, it would be a nice way to transform them.

9 years ago

I loved this when I saw it in my Redbook. From the photos it looks like a grass weave material which would not be thin. Perhaps a play on the eyes from a great fabric selection.

9 years ago

This turned out so cute! There’s something so satisfying about using Modpodge. I used to be completely obsessed with it. I mean just look at that cute packaging!

Susie Q.
9 years ago

I expected you to talk more about the bubble issue. In the picture, the chair looks great, but it doesn’t seem physically possible for a flat surface to drape beautifully and perfectly over a curved surface. Did you make any cuts in the fabric to smooth it down, did you fold the fabric, etc? I’m trying to imagine fabric as thin as a silk scarf and picture gluing that down…yeah, even that would be difficult.
Also, issue #2–I am wondering how much this chair “gives” when you sit in it (it’s not fiberglass). You know how those cheap plastic lawn chairs bend a bit when you sit in them (I guess if you’re a small person they don’t). If you sat down in the chair repeatedly, would the plastic bend and bounce back, and would that, over time, cause the fabric to fall off?

9 years ago
Reply to  Susie Q.

It would be totally fine if it were a flat backed chair. The curves were fine in the photo but look a little janky in real life. I think the fabric was thin enough that it just kinda worked anyway, but i wouldn’t recommend doing it on a curve. As far as ‘give’ goes, I don’t think there is any give so all good there!

9 years ago

Interesting…but Little Green Notebook already published this project back in September of last year:

9 years ago
Reply to  Erin

Ah, I meant to credit. I pretty much got the idea from her – more for the screen tho …

9 years ago
Reply to  Erin

I was going to say the same thing.

9 years ago

Really cool! It seems like with this type of project, a bright bold print fabric would be best to hide any imperfections and/or bubbles. I could see a solid lighter fabric not coming out so well in the end. But this busy pattern is nice, it draws the eye into it and away from any “mistakes.” 🙂

9 years ago

I’m sorry but I think this looks horrible. It looks diy in a way diy shouldn’t.

9 years ago
Reply to  Sara

I agree. These DIY crafty projects are also available lots of other places on the web, and this blog is so much more sophisticated design-wise than they are. I would prefer more design content, less crafty content.

I think Mod Podge should be elevated to the status of Duct tape. Seriously. That chair turned out fabulous! Thanks for the tutorial. I saved some awful garage storage bookcases using Mod Podge and a hexagon shaped paper punch for my son’s room. It totally screams Emily Henderson. Need to think about Mod Podge for a fun chair for his room.

9 years ago

What a cute make over! I can imagine the pain of trying to get everything all smooth but in the end photo, the texture almost make it look like fiberglass =)

What I love though is the honest review of the project afterwards. It may not be perfect but the ideas are still great and I esp love the styling, too.

Jess Hartnett
9 years ago

Love this DIY! I like this big impact (without much effort) project better than the smaller ones you’ve done in the past (i.e. jewelry holders) or more involved ones (i.e. kitchen island). I will definitely be trying this soon!

9 years ago

Love that picture – great choice of fabric too. My only concern would be how it looks up close in real life. Modpodge is great but (as you obviously know) it can be very tough to get it to look clean and chic and not like “fabric glued to a chair”. We have used modpodge here and there, sometime with great results and sometimes with disappointing results due to being hard to work with at times.

9 years ago

1. When I first read the post title in my Google Now I thought it said mod podge HAIR hack. I am so glad you’re not using mod podge in your hair.

2. This is the best version of this chair I’ve ever seen. Always loved the lines of this chair but all white doesn’t work with my home aesthetic.

9 years ago

I wish Redbook paid you double and your column was on your thrifting and vintage shopping skills.

9 years ago

This would be a perfect computer chair for my home and a great way to bring in patterns. Thanks!

Kristy B
9 years ago

I hope Jenny was credited for this idea in the Redbook article. I know you gave her credit on the blog will be a crying shame if you didn’t give a shout out to her in the magazine….not good…Karma

9 years ago

Man I have to agree with some of the others. Love this idea, but loved it first when Jenny did it (and I’ve been a fan of you much longer- found her blog from your site). Hope you have her credit in the magazine. Ouch

9 years ago

If you don’t like it, why comment? Yes, Jenny did it first, so what!

Nina Bond
9 years ago

It turned out nicely. I mod podged wallpaper to my fridge and it looks awesome.

9 years ago

Ordinarily I like you, Emily, I really do, but this is just crappy all around. You ripped off another blogger, and poorly at that. Crafts are not your strong suit, just stop, please.

9 years ago
Reply to  Thami

Wow,If you read Jenny’s blog post on this, you will see that she got the idea from another blog (Design Sponge). No idea is original.

9 years ago
Reply to  Michelle

Agree 100%

9 years ago

Jenny got the idea elsewhere, but this is a much closer copy of Jenny’s than Jenny’s was of Design Sponge. There is nothing new under the sun, but this was just too close, IMO.

9 years ago

I really don’t get the big deal in regard to people who think this is a copy. This is a generic enough idea and she used a completely different chair and different fabric. How about only one blog period on the entire internet is allowed to have detailed instructions on upholstering a chair, because ‘someone already did that’? Or only one blog ever is allowed to cover wallpapering an accent wall? Half the interior design blogs on the internet wouldn’t exist if we banned posts unless they were 100% original.

Kristy B
9 years ago


9 years ago

It looks so good – definitely a project I’ll take on on the near future!! And thank you for the tips about the chair curves and ect – usually you don’t see bloggers mentioning these details.

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9 years ago

Love it!
I tried this with a couple of my old chairs. One chair I used mod podge and the other a diy decoupage paste (pinterest). The mod podge makes the fabric really hard and sturdy. I did a top coat of clear poly for the chair with the diy paste for added protection.

9 years ago

Beautiful! And, easy! I must try this. Thanks!