Oilcloth Chairs

Now that the constant boy projects have come to an end, I can focus on some neglected areas of our home. And namely, the HOME itself. We moved in 6 months ago and really went full-force that first month with the home improvements. But since then, there are many unfinished projects to tidy-up.

When the new counter tops went in, we extended the kitchen island to create a bar for the kids. It then took me 2 months to find the right bar stools. And another 2 months to actually make the covers for them. That’s just how it goes sometimes, right? 6 months later, we’re fully functional! And the kids love it.

The stools were my Christmas present and came from good old IKEA (info on the stools HERE). IKEA sells slipcovers for these stools but with kids, I wanted something waterproof and easy to wipe up. So I decided to make my own covers out of oilcloth.
I used one of the IKEA slipcovers as the pattern and appx 1 yard of fabric for each stool. There’s no pattern for me to share with you here, other than showing you an IKEA slipcover.

If you’re making your own chair cover:
* inspect what’s already on there
* measure your cushions
* allow a little extra for your seams
* figure out a way that works with your chair, bar stool, bench, seat cushion, whatever!
* research tutorials or extra info online (do a google search for “recovering a chair cushion” or whatever fits your project)
* no real guidelines here. It’s one of those “figure it out and make it work” kind of projects. Tim Gunn will be proud of you.

My plan was to make my own pattern from their cover and then return that original to the store. But I quickly realized that the pattern was more complicated than I pictured. So I simply cut up their cover and used that instead. My time is worth more than $20, right? And with something like this, it needs to fit like a glove.
Just some basic construction about the slip cover…
Each side has a flap that comes down like this:
With a strip of Velcro sewn to the bottom:
There is velcro attached to the underside of the chair too, so just push it up the fabric and it stays:
The fabric wraps around the corners of the legs. I actually hemmed the oilcloth here but with the next chair I left the edge raw, since the fabric will never fray and no one will notice:
There you go!
Okay, on to your other questions…..

What is Oilcloth?
Oilcloth is a vinyl that is bonded and supported with a woven cotton mesh. It’s water-resistant, a bit stiff, and the surface can be wiped clean. It has roots in the fishing and sailing industry. But these days it makes very cute tote bags, lunch sacks, table cloths, baby bibs, home decor projects, and more! It’s hard to find in normal fabric stores. Specialty boutiques and online shops are best.

Sewing with Oilcloth:

I’ve never worked with Oilcloth before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But….it was kind of fun. It was stiff to maneuver around. But it was nice that it holds it’s shape and there’s no fraying on the edges so I didn’t even finish off some of the edges (the part that wraps around the legs.). First assessment: I’m kind of in love. Can’t wait to tackle more projects with it.

Other options, similar to Oilcloth:
If you can’t find an Oilcloth print that you like, you might try using a cotton fabric and then pairing it with clear vinyl on top or a self-adhesive vinyl.
Or you can also find some cool laminated cottons, such as these by Amy Butler. You’ll pay twice as much for the laminates, however.

Caring for Oilcloth (from Oil Cloth Addict):
Oilcloth is waterproof and stain resistant. Fading may occur under direct sunlight for extended periods of time since the Oilcloth does not contain a UV inhibitor.

You can wipe Oilcloth clean using a warm, soapy sponge then dry it off with a soft cloth or sponge. Machine washing is not suggested.

Oilcloth left folded will retain creases but they are easily removed. Creases can be removed from your folded oilcloth by laying it flat in a warm place. The oilcloth will become soft as it becomes warm. Use you hands to smooth out any creases. Once your oilcloth product is smooth keep it rolled or hung up.

Where to Purchase Oilcloth
It’s hard to find Oilcloth in normal fabric stores. Specialty boutiques and online shops are best.
* If you live in LosAngeles, try Michael Levine
* If you live in Austin, TX, try The Common Thread

Or try these ONLINE stores for the best selection:
* hartsfabric.com
* mendels.com
* oil cloth addict (etsy shop)
I’ve purchased from Oil Cloth Addict twice now and will definitely use her again in the future.
Her prices are reasonable, the shipping is quick, and she sends a couple samples of other cloths with your purchase. Brilliant! Look at the little collection I’ve gathered. That faux wood is kitchy cool:
Here’s a sample of what you’ll find at Mendels.com:
And from Oil Cloth Addict, here’s their Spring Swatch Sheet, as seen on the Oil Cloth Addict Blog (along with some fun ideas about what to make with Oilcloth).
Orange is one of my favorite colors (next to yellow) and so I immediately went for the “Orange Lace“. But when it arrived Casey and I both wondered if it was too bright. I was hoping it would be more of a tangerine shade like my orange Rollie Pollie.
So Casey said, “go with the blue“. I liked it too, so I ordered it. But you know when your gut is telling you something different? When just feel like you should go with the original plan? Well, late last night when Casey was sleeping, I went with my instinct. The chairs became orange.

But I still have the blue. Maybe I should make two sets? What do you think….Did my gut treat me right?


With velcro on the bottom, it’s easy to pull them off. Hey, I could have one for every day of the week! Okay. That’s a bit much. I’m just happy we have a place for our kids to sit, eat popcorn, joke around, and share their sibling love.
Three cheers for Oilcloth, Orange, and Doing It Yourself! I really love the bright orange pop it adds to the room.

  1. 1) joD

    I love your result! I have to do this for my IKEA chairs. So cute and so much more functional than the white (stained!) slipcovers that are currently on the chairs. Can you give an estimate of how many yards you used per cover on your chairs?

  2. 2) Kelly

    Hi Dana,
    Loving your blog and all your ideas! I wish i had 1000 hours in a day to do them all.
    Question about the oilcloth… How do you think it would be for a couch? Do you think it would feel much like stiff leather or am i way off? If suitable, would it be cost effective or waay expensive?

  3. Oh my gosh! This is incredible. I’ve recovered my dining room chairs twice and I’m done… I’ve been looking for fabric like this for a while, and I am so glad I saw your post. It’s the perfect solution, and the fabric is amazing! I love the orange…but the blue is cool too…with slipcovers, you can change it up anytime you want!

  4. Wow these are amazing! Such a brilliant idea to use oilcloth, I never really heard of it before! I must say I agree with your decision to go with the orange! I love the colour it’s so bright and cheerful!

  5. Found you via Centsational Girl and can I just say, thank you!! I, too, LOVE the look of upholstered bars stools but with 3 boys, those would have looked good for a total of 3 minutes. I saw that Sarah Richardson did this with oil cloth and now with your direction this is on my next sewing project list!

  6. 7) jenny

    do you have a before picture of the chairs, I have the fake pleather covered chairs for my kitchen table and they were awesome until my kitten decided to slice and dice the fabric and leave holes galore on them………..this idea would be perfecto for me! Are they comfy????

  7. This is fabulous. Thank you for the links where to buy the oilcloth. I bought 4 chairs on Craigslist last year that have the leather ripped off the seat and I have been hesitating to make covers until I figured out what I want. You provided that for me. Can you tell me though how much fabric you bought for the 2 chairs?

    • Never mind! Saw the 1 yd per stool finally. Thank you!

  8. 11) Nicole


    I just love the slipcovers! I have the same stools, and I bought an oilcloth about a year ago, but I am not really good at making patterns…

    Does anyone happen to have one (a digital one)?

    I would be forever grateful!!!


  9. Your chairs are gorgeous, I love the orange! I’ve got this linked to my oilcloth post as well today, for inspiration!

  10. 13) ashley

    generally I chose blue. My husband’s favorite color is orange. I really love your chairs and your color choice! It’s fantastic with your grey cabinets!

  11. I am obsessed with the idea of oilcloth, but haven’t come up with a real reason to purchase some. As soon as we have kids, though; ON IT.

  12. 15) Jessica H.

    I wish someone sold these covers on etsy!!

  13. I LOVE the orange! I’m totally inspired.

  14. 18) anonymous

    I love the idea and the look, but is oilcloth sticky to sit on like vinyl? The concept is great and no matter what I do to my kitchen chairs they end up stained, so this would be a great remedy for that, however, I hate it when I am in shorts and my skin sticks to chairs. In your experience does this happen with the oilcloth?

    • 19) amy b.

      Did anyone respond to your question? I’m wondering the same thing.

  15. 20) Monica C.

    I LOVE the orange. So fresh and cheerful. But I would make a blue set too because I get bored easily and would want to be able to switch them out. I love all colors so I am very indecisive….fun to go back and forth. Have lived in my current house 10 years and have painted every single room at least 3-5 times…..

  16. 21) Aussie Bec

    I have hesitated using oil cloth as not sure what needle to use on my sewing machine. Any tips?

  17. 23) Lori Butler

    I love your chairs. I want to make oil cloth cushions for my wooded. Chairs. Wondering do your legs stick to this

  18. 24) Wendy Doherty

    Please help! I’m making the same slip covers for my daughter and I’m having a devil of a time sewing the front and back top piece. How did you get the two to come together at the top with so much excess material for the back piece??? These need to be done by Thanksgiving. Thanks .

  19. 25) Stacie Miller

    I’ve done this with my dining chairs except I used a vinyl adhesive on top and it only lasted a few months and then the seams started splitting where they were ironed together. So I would recommend finding an oilcloth you like and paying the extra for it upfront! Great tutorial, chairs look fantastic and super cute kiddos 🙂

  20. 26) Lauren

    I’ve seen these stools at Ikea they come in a couple different heights. I was wondering how tall your counter is and how tall the seat height is from the floor? The stools look like they might be the taller bar stools (instead of the counter height). Do you find the them to be comfortable for the adults as well as for the kids?

  21. Hi there to all, how is the whole thing, I think every one is getting more from this website,
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  22. 28) Audrey

    How are these stools holding up? On a hunt for stools and these are an option…

  23. 29) Elizabeth

    Hi–I’ve had your fabulous project bookmarked for a while and am finally ready to make a banquette cushion cover with the same oilcloth (but in blue). I was just wondering how your stools have held up–are the oilcloth covers in need of replacement yet? Some blogs caution that you have to replace once every year or two, and that is not in my future 🙂
    Thanks for your help!

  24. 30) Ali

    Would you consider making four for me?

  25. 33) Kelly

    Love the colour. This was really a lovely idea. We have leather chairs and when you wear shorts you have to peel yourself off them. Is oil cloth like that?
    Thank you

  26. 34) Assistente Virtual

    Wow! Great ideas!

  27. 35) Adrian Wigham

    The orange is superb

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