DIY Jute Chair Seat: Give an Old Chair New Purpose
If you’ve got an old chair with a gross seat, or one with no seat at all, but you still love the chair – don’t worry! All is not lost. With about an hour of your time and a few simple materials, you can breathe new life into the chair and make it both functional and beautiful again.
This tutorial will allow you to completely customize your chair seat with woven jute webbing, which comes in a variety of widths and even color options, including the spacing of the webbing itself and nail trim options. Jute webbing is incredibly strong and durable, used for many upholstery projects. A jute-seat chair will work well with rustic, cottage, industrial, and even modern home décor styles. Let’s get started.
DIY Level: Beginner to Intermediate
- Wooden chair
- Jute webbing (Note: Amount needed will vary depending on the size of your chair and the width and spacing of your webbing.
- Example shows two chairs done with 2” jute webbing, 10 yds used.)
- Staple gun & staples (electric recommended)
- Nail head trim & rubber mallet (optional)
First, you’ll want to prepare your chair. If your chair of choice already has no seat, move on to Step 2. If your chair has a seat that you’ll be replacing with this project, remove the old seat now.
Measure your chair seat to determine where your webbing will go. Because I am keeping the spacing of webbing very tight in this first example, my chair’s measurements allowed me to start in the middle of the chair back.
Fold the edge of the webbing under 1/2″, then place three staples to hold it in place on the back of the chair.
Pull jute webbing taut (as tight as you can is best) toward the front of the seat. Pull the webbing over the lip of the chair frame about 1/2″, then cut the webbing 1/2″ longer than that to allow for folding the raw edge under.
Staple the webbing in place on the front of the chair frame with three staples. Working outward, repeat this process with other webbing strips.
TIP: Be sure to check regularly to make sure your spacing will be even across the entire seat. If your seat is angled at all, make allowances in your webbing alignment as you go, such as using slightly more space near the front of the seat than the back.
TIP: Don’t cut all of your webbing at the beginning; rather, measure and cut each piece as you go. This will ensure that each piece fits perfectly and you don’t come up short.
Continue to work outward from the first webbing strip, keeping the folded-under edges as even as possible.
Complete the parallel webbing strips on your chair seat. You may worry about their strength or ability to support a person’s actually sitting on the chair at this point. Don’t worry too much about this – if you’ve pulled each piece as tightly as you could, the weave of the perpendicular webbing strips will strengthen the entire chair seat.
Weave webbing over-under-over-under (etc.) your already attached webbing strips. Take care not to pull the stapled webbing too far upward or downward as you do this.
Fold under 1/2″ and staple three times on one side.
Pull the woven webbing strip taut to extend about 1/2” over the chair frame, then cut it off 1/2″ longer than that.
Fold this cut edge under, then place three staples to hold it securely.
Continue weaving and attaching jute webbing strips in this manner, alternating over-under weaves with under-over weaves. TIP: Every so often, push the middle woven sections toward the back of the chair to keep them straight across, as they have a tendency to curve otherwise.
Your stapled, webbed chair seat will look something like this when completed. If you’re after the raw, industrial vibe, you could even leave the chair just like this, with exposed staples and everything.
Of you could move on to the addition of nail head trim. Grab a bunch of nail heads and a rubber mallet, and work your way carefully around the edge of the chair.
Try to keep the nail heads evenly spaced all the way around the chair, whether they’re close together or spread out.
Vola! So pretty.
I love the texture of the jute webbing on a simple wooden chair.
And, woven together like this, it’s surprisingly strong. This will be used as one of my dining chairs, so it’ll get plenty of use.
Another option, if you like a little more emphasis on the woven aspect of the jute webbing, is to space out the webbing strips as you go. This provides a bit more of a rustic vibe to the chair.
Then simply adjust your nail head trim on each webbing strip – for these 2” webbing strips, I found four nail heads to cover the area perfectly.
Here are the two completed chairs, side by side. I like their sameness-with-differences.
Which method or look do you prefer? They’re both completely supportive and functional, although I feel like the tighter weave is slightly stronger. No surprise there, since there are two more strips to support the weight.