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DIY Director Chair Replacement Canvas

These directors chairs were in need of a makeover. Spray stain was used for the wood and I made new DIY director chair replacement canvas.

Here we are again for another Thrift Store Challenge post.  These are some of my favorite posts and today’s project is a good one. 

I made some DIY director chair replacement canvas and gave the chairs a new, darker stain color.  

I found these at a local garage sale for $10 for the pair.  My son Brian is a film maker so I texted him to see if he would be interested in them.  Of course he was so I snatched them up.

Director chairs are something I have never tackled before and I didn’t think it could be very hard to make the new canvas covers.  So…I dove right in.

Thrift Store Challenge

The Rules:

  • Upcycle an item(s) from a thrift store, resale store, or garage sale into a new piece of decor.
  • There’s no monthly theme.
  • There’s no budget to stick to.

Meet the Hosts

Angela | Simply Beautiful By Angela – Gail | Purple Hues and Me – Pili | My Sweet Things – Beverly |Across the Blvd – Molly | Just a Little Creativity – Michelle | Michelle Jame Designs – Angie | Grandma Creates – Jenny | Cookies Coffee and Crafts – Amanda | Domestically Creative – Marie | DIY Adulation 

DIY Director Chair Replacement Canvas..and New Stain Color

As I mentioned earlier Jeff and I found these directors chairs at a garage sale.  We got them for $10 for the pair.  It was such a great deal.  Brian  said he would love them and I knew I could make them look fabulous!

Materials List

I have included some affiliate links for your convenience.  You can read my full disclosure here. 

This is how the chairs looked when I picked them up at the garage sale.

Light wood directors chair with blue canvas seat and back. The back says See Alaska

There are two of them just like this.  Aren’t they cute? They are a tall, bar stool height.  I cannot get in them without jumping.  LOL.  Good thing Brian is much taller than I am.

They needed a good cleaning so I removed the seat and back canvas and cleaned them with warm soapy water.

Since I knew I was going to stain them a darker color I sanded them too.  Then they were ready for their new look.

Staining The Wood

I was all pumped up to get this wood stained.  The Minwax stains are always my favorite and we has this Mission Oak color in the garage so I went for it.

Minwax stain to add a new color on the director chairs.

I started with a foam brush and I knew right away that wasn’t going to work.  The brush marks were awful and it looked terrible.

Horrible brush marks on the wood director chairs.

Menard’s carries the Minwax Polyshades just like the can above in a spray product.  I had never tried it but thought this was the perfect opportunity.

Minwax PolyShades in a spray!

The spray was amazing.  It had a few downfalls but I would use it again in a heart beat.  They needed a lot of coats and some parts looked a little lighter than others so I felt like I had to keep going over it to make it even.  It still looks that way but not as bad.  

Here is one that is almost done next to the one that hadn’t been started.  I think it looks so much better.

One stained director chair and one original light wood director chair.

I got to work on the second one and started the seats and backs.

Sewing the DIY Director Chair Replacement Canvas

This, to me is the fun part.  Brian and Tiffany started a film company together and they wanted their logo on the back.  He also mentioned black as the color.  I didn’t want the entire seat and back to be black so I headed to Hobby Lobby to find some cool fabrics. 

Duck cloth is a strong fabric and they had quite a few patterns to choose from.  Plus there was a black canvas that I could use.  I found one for Tiffany and one for Brian that blend well but aren’t matchy matchy and they both go with black.

Fabric from Hobby Lobby still on the bolts.

They loved the fabric choices so I was off to get started.

Making The Backs

I started by measuring the old canvas back piece and cutting my pieces including a 1/2 inch seam allowance. 

The old canvas pieces made great patterns for the new.  I had to make some differences because I was using two pieces of fabric.  

I started with the back piece.  The black piece needed to have the logo added to it before I could proceed.  I cut it out using gray vinyl from my Silhouette machine and used my Cricut Press to adhere it to the canvas.

After this part was done I created a “pocket” of sorts so it can slide onto the wood part of the chair.  It’s not really a pocket.  The original back piece didn’t have an extra piece.  It was wrapped around and the ends were tapered in.  

I started by drawing the shape on the black fabric.

After I cut them out I folded in the edges and stitched the long side edges down.  The top and bottom were not stitched to the back piece to allow the it to slide onto the wood part of the chair.

Then I was ready to add it to the front fabric. 

Cut pieces for the chair back with clips and ready to stitch.

The stitching started about 3 inches in on the bottom then went all the way around to about 3 inches in on the bottom of the opposite side.  I left an opening to be able to turn it right side out.

Seams on the back of the chair with a clipped corner before turning it right side out.

After it was turned and ironed, I added a top stitch all the way around.

top stitching on the edge of the seat back.

Making The Seats

I basically used the same process for the seats but I was able to turn the sides over to create a space for the dowels instead of adding separate pieces on the back.

The cut pieces were placed right sides together and stitched across the top and the bottom.  

The pieces were ironed then I top stitched the top and the bottom.

The short ends were folded to tuck in the raw edges then folded again to make a space for the dowel.

Here is the back.  I did go back over that seam with a double stitch to make it stronger.

When the seats were done I was ready to add the canvas pieces to the director’s chairs.

They fit nicely…but tight.  I think the fabric will stretch a little over time.  My seams at the ends are a little bulky and don’t quite fit all the way into the groove.  It sticks out a little bit but not enough to worry about.  

Jeff tried them out for strength.  I was a little nervous but they worked.  He even said they were pretty comfortable.

What do you think?  Do you love them?

Finished director chairs staged in the yard by the house.

I hope they like them.

I love the way they turned out and hope they hold up and remain strong enough.  

Thanks so much for stopping by!


And now for more thrifty goodness!

Check out what my fellow upcyclers created below!

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Tuesday 10th of September 2019

Hi Michelle! What grade of sandpaper do you recommend to use to prep the chair? Thanks!


Tuesday 10th of September 2019

Hi Kayla. I would start around 120 or a 150 then finish up with 200 or 220 just before you wipe it down and add your stain!


Saturday 24th of August 2019

Wow Michelle, those chairs and your sewing skills are impressive. Love the fabric you chose and how you added their logo on the back.


Monday 26th of August 2019

Thanks Pili! They weren't hard but a little challenging! I am glad I did them and that you like them.

Amanda Kolb

Friday 23rd of August 2019

These directors chairs turned out beautifully!


Monday 26th of August 2019

Thank you Amanda! I think they turned out nice too. I hope the kids like them.


Friday 23rd of August 2019

Who wouldn't love these director chairs, Michelle! They look amazing! I love the way you designed them - both fabrics and with the firm's logo on the back! You really did a fabulous remake!


Monday 26th of August 2019

Hi Gail! Thanks so much. I hope they will like them too. They really were a fun project.


Friday 23rd of August 2019

What great looking chairs. The stain is so pretty. Wow they are really tall chairs, i would have to jump in too. I'm sure they will love them, I do!


Monday 26th of August 2019

Thanks so much Jenny! I literally had to jump on and off. The good news is that the seats didn't rip when I sat down. LOL!

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