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Easy Upholstery Project

Learn easy upholstery from Studio 5 Contributor Jennifer Heslop.

Step 1: Determining type and amount of fabric to buy

Simply measure all the surfaces of the item to be covered. I have found it helpful to roughly sketch the parts of the chair etc. on a piece of paper and label the measurements of each section. This allows you to figure out the most efficient way to lay the pattern pieces onto the purchased fabric. Most decorator fabrics are 54″ wide, so you should be able to lay many pieces alongside each other. The chair shown in today’s segment took 1.5 yards, with plenty to spare. Remember to add a little extra to your measurements to allow plenty of fabric to work with. When selecting the fabric, remember that heavier fabrics are better at hiding imperfections. Stripes and plaids will be harder to work with than solids or floral patterns.

Step2: Removing the old fabric

Before removing the old fabric, it is a good idea to take pictures of all angles and views of the piece of furniture. This way you will have the photos to refer to when reupholstering the item. Remove the fabric by loosening staples, tacks, etc., rather than quickly ripping it off. You will use the old fabric pieces as the pattern for your new fabric.

Step 3: Cutting the new fabric

Use the old fabric as pattern pieces by simply laying the pieces onto the new fabric and tracing around them. Remember to add about 2″ to all sides when cutting the fabric. This allows plenty of fabric to work with.

Step 4: Upholstering

Simply pick an area to begin and start to attach the fabric to the furniture. I have found that it is easiest to use a glue gun to tack the fabric down first and then go back and attach the fabric with either a staple gun or upholstery tacks. Work slowly, stretching and working the fabric around legs, etc. Refer back to your pictures if you need a reminder on how to work the fabric around a certain area.

Step 5: Finishing off

Once the fabric is tacked down in place, trim off any excess. You will now need to add some trim to cover the staples or tacks and finish off your piece. Trim can be simply glued on with hot glue

Studio 5 Contributor Jennifer Heslop loves turning trash into treasure. She is handy with a hammer, and has a knack for saving a dime by doing it yourself! If you have questions for Jenn, e-mail her at

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