How to change a rush chair seat to fabric!

I hope this post will be useful.  Often I come across chairs that are in good condition but the seat is rush and I had always thought they were difficult to change so I pass them up.  Not any more!

I bought a few chairs with rush seating with the intention of figuring out how to change them and showing everybody the process.

So first of all- what is a rush seat?  This is:


It is a woven chair seat usually from naturals materials.  The style is more rustic or country and it is very durable.  This was woven on to a seat frame which is then inserted into the chair.  Traditionally, rush seating was woven on to the frame of the chair- something like this:

rush chair weaving

Just in case you are interested…..

Because the material was woven on to a frame I was able to simply cut it off.  Luckily the frame was in good condition so I was able to re use it.

The first step was to add webbing to the frame to support everything.

I pulled the webbing tight, which reminds me that I need to find a webbing stretcher!!) then stapled it down and weaving everything while doing it.

Then on top of the webbing I added a layer of coconut husks.  I am not sure if I written about this before?  In Europe it is possible to buy by the metre coconut husks that have been flattened and formed- this is created specifically for upholster purposes and usually replaces where horse hair would have been used.


Next, I added a layer of foam and then a layer of batting:


The next step is, of course, to staple the fabric down and then on the under side I covered up the guts 😉 :

This is the final result!


Here is the before of the seat in case anybody is curious!


Much better!  Now I am not going to pass up a rush seat again.



3 thoughts on “How to change a rush chair seat to fabric!

  1. Barbara

    Your chair looks lovely! I recently did a similar project. In lieu of the webbing and the husks, I had a piece of plywood cut to the size of the frame you wrapped with webbing. I then added foam, wrapped it with Dacron, covered the whole thing with met upholstery fabric and done!

  2. Nancy Meer

    Thank you for the instructions. Why do you need to add the coconut husks? Can you complete the project without horsehair or coconut husks? Thank you!

    1. Hi! there are a few ways to this but basically I wanted the added stability. It is possible to use wood then foam on top, batting and fabric- webbing- then the coconut husks and horsehair….basically, whatever is comfortable. If this is a project for you- you don’t have to worry so much about following protocol but if it is a project for sale- I try and make it as sturdy as possible. 🙂

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