How to replace deckchair fabric
Replacing deck chair fabric is something we are often asked about. Even the best quality deckchair fabric will age more quickly than a solid beech frame, so replacing the covers is a common requirement. The good news is, it’s not difficult. That bargain, vintage deck chair frame you picked up at a second hand shop can have a new lease of life as long as you follow a few simple steps.
Before starting please read through these instructions in full. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch.
- First of all, you need to cut the deck chair fabric to the right length. If you have an existing sling, then that’s what to use as a template. If not, then you need to place the deck chair frame on a flat surface and get your tape measure out. The fabric should stretch from the inner edge of the inner bar, which is the bottom of the deckchair, to the inner edge of the middle bar, which is the top of the deckchair. The fabric should wrap around the bars and be doubled over by 1cm to add strength to where the fabric is nailed to the frame. The attached fabric should not be too taught otherwise the seat is too shallow. For Hen and Hammock deckchairs, 1.3 metre of fabric is ideal.
- When you cut the fabric be sure to cut it square. To do this mark the required length on both edges and score a line between the marks to indicate the cutting line. This can be done with tailor’s chalk or with the point of your scissors. Use only sharp, long bladed scissors to cut the fabric.
- Once the fabric is cut to length, place it on your bench or table and then place the flat deckchair frame on top. The grooves on the back legs must be facing down.
- Start at the bottom of the frame, which is the end with 2 bars. Ensure the fabric is in the centre of the frame with the same size gap at either side, then fold over around 1cm of fabric, so that the nails are going into double the thickness of fabric. If the fabric is slightly too wide for this end of the frame the edges of the fabric can be tucked in. This will not affect the performance of the deckchair.
- Once the fabric is folded over and centred on the frame, tap in a nail or stud into the middle of the fabric. Check again that the fabric is centred on the frame and then tap in the remaining studs. We typically use 13 studs at each end, but the pattern of the fabric may look neater with a couple more or less. The minimum we would suggest is nine studs.
- Its time now to tackle the top of the deckchair. The top is trickier as you want to attach the fabric to the inner edge of the middle bar which means the inner frame is in the way. To keep this inner frame out of your way you will need a broom handle or similar which you can prop under the inner frame. This should keep the inner frame at head height so you can get to the middle bar.
- At this point you will feel like you have excess fabric. You don’t, however, as there needs to be enough fabric for when the frame is lying flat. As long as you measured correctly initially you’ll be fine.
- Nail the fabric to the inner edge of the middle bar much like at the other end. There will be a larger gap either side of the fabric at this end of the deckchair so you need to make sure it is centred before starting to nail. If at any point you make a mistake, the nails or studs can be prized out using pincer pliers or a nail removing tool.
- The best nails to use for replacing deckchair covers are upholstery nails or studs. These should have a head of around 1cm diameter and a pin of around 1cm length. Stainless steel studs are best, but zinc plated will do the job adequately.
- All deck chair covers and deckchair fabric will last longer if kept indoors when not in use.