Guide to Upholstery
Want to try upholstery but not sure how? Here’s a simple project to start with.
Follow Sarah Heeringa’s easy-to-master upholstery craft
Step 1: Look out for a stool that has good bones and is sturdy in shape. Think about how you are going to use it. For a mini step stool you’ll want to choose a practical, hardwearing fabric for covering and a firm padding.
For a lounge footstool you might choose a lighter or fluffier fabric and a softer padding.
Step 2: Use sharp scissors to snip away the top layer of the original fabric. Only remove as much as you have to, as you may find some of the original padding underneath is fine to re-use (as in this case).
Step 3: You can remove or lighten old wood stain using sugar soap and elbow grease. Lay out newspaper or a drop cloth and wear gloves before coating all wooden surfaces with sugar soap. Leave this to soak in for at least 10 minutes before scrubbing the stained surfaces smooth using warm water and wire wool. Repeat as necessary. Wipe the wood clean with a rag. Allow to fully dry.
Step 4: Cut a piece of new padding to size. Sponge rubber can be used for this. Or for a firmer effect, use several layers of soft fabric, such as a woollen blanket.
Step 5: Measure the top of the stool. Cut a new piece of fabric to cover the padding, making sure you allow enough fabric on each side to turn it over by 2cm on each side. Iron the fabric fold flat on each of the four sides.
Step 6: Lay the stool on its side. Place the folded edge of the fabric over the padding and secure in place using furniture tacks. (Push tacks into place with your thumb, then tap down using a small hammer.) Turn the stool over and repeat on the opposite side.
Step 7: Shape each corner by folding one edge of the fabric in and then the other. Tack the first fold in place using a regular flat-head tack, before covering it with the second fabric fold. Secure the corner fold using a furniture tack. Add any remaining tacks and tap into place.
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Above: You may find, as you strip back the piece of furniture, that some of the padding is in good condition and can be reused. Right: You can use old woollen blankets to restuff your stool.