This is not a project for the faint of heart, it did take much longer than I anticipated. It was worth it to me, I wouldn't have been able to find a couch in my fabric of choice for such a good deal.
First off, your supplies. I know there are real reupholstering tools out there but I made do with what I had. I know I saw quite a few reupholstery tools at Hancock fabric and many can be ordered online. I'm sure they make the task much easier.
- Flat head screwdriver or staple remover
- Rubber mallet or hammer (rubber mallet is best)
- Pneumatic staple gun or electric gun-I found the hand held staple guns didn't shoot into the wood frame deep enough and my hands would get too sore
- Batting material (depending on the condition of your couch)
- Fabric of choice- I ordered mine online for the amazing price of $3.95 yd!
- Upholstery grade fabric is thicker than regular fabric and is more durable. It is also more expensive and can be more difficult to work with because of its thickness. If you're looking for a solid beige color similar to a Restoration Hardware look, I recommend buying the canvas drop cloth material from Lowe's. It's cheap, durable and if you wash it once before putting it on, it is also soft. I chose to use a plaid on my couch. I knew it would be more difficult because I would have to line up the pattern everywhere. A solid is much easier.
- When it comes to figuring out the amount of fabric needed to buy, I used this chart. It's wise to buy a little extra in case you mess something up. If you have extras you can always use it for curtains or pillows. I ordered 21 yds. I had enough for my couch, loveseat, and cushions, and even had some left over.
- Trim or cording- I took a long spool of string and ran it along every edge of my sofa and loveseat and then measured it to determine how much cording or trim I'd need. If you're planning on making cording then measures around your cushions as well.
- Paint- if you don't like the original color of your wood frame
- Metal tacking strip
Believe it or not reupholstering does not involve a lot of sewing. The only sewing is in the cushions or any piping you might want to use. I am a horrible sewer and knew I would have to either pay someone to sew my cushion covers or find a family member willing to help me out. I watched a lot of videos on sewing cushions though, and if you can sew a zipper in you can probably handle it. I, however, cannot. It is also recommended that you have a serger to prevent fraying of your cushions. My awesome sister-in-law did an amazing job on my cushion covers for me!
Take a lot of pictures as you disassemble your couch. This way if you're stumped you can go back and see how something was put together. Before doing anything, I took a sharpie and wrote right on the fabric what part it was. You can use a sticky note if writing on the fabric scares you. Example: R outside arm.
Flip your couch over and start from the bottom. You'll first take off the black weed-matting-like material by removing EVERY staple. This is where I used the flat head screwdriver to pry up my staples. This is the most time consuming part, not a lot of brains needed, but quite a bit of brawn. After you remove the underside of your couch you'll see a million more staples to remove. I started with the bottom, back, outside arms and worked my way into the inside.
When all the staples are removed and you've taken off all sections of fabric, you can assess the condition of your couch. I used some quilters batting to place over the stuffing of my couch. I used it to make a smoother looking surface before applying the new fabric. I stapled this into place and cut off any excess.
Now is a great time to paint your frame if you'll be changing the color. There's no material to worry about getting paint on. I didn't want the original wood color, I wanted my room to be a little brighter and cooler and I didn't want the dark wood weighing down the room. I used my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White to paint the wood. It requires no sanding or priming, is easy peasy, and fast. I dark waxed it for an aged appearance.
Now it's time to cut out the pieces of your new material. This is when labeling the old pieces comes in handy. Use the old pieces as a pattern to cut out all of your new pieces. I suggest to cut an extra inch around your old pattern- it gives you some room to play with. I highly suggest labeling the new pieces as well, especially if you're cutting out material for a loveseat at the same time. It can get very confusing.
When putting your fabric back on, you work the opposite of the way you took it off. You work from the front to the back. I started with the lower front piece, the arms, then the front back, the outside arms, and then the back, and finally the bottom. When putting the material on, pull it as tight as you can to avoid sagging. I wish I could tell you more about putting it on, but the best thing to do is observe as you're taking taking it off. When stapling a large piece of material like the front and back portions, start stapling from the center and work your way to the outside. I found this tip in a Youtube video and it helped a ton with sagging and such.
When you go to take off the back of your couch you might run across metal tacking strips. Be gentle when taking these off; I was able to reuse mine. If you bend yours, you can purchase more. I watched a lot of videos and took pictures of the tacking process. Your rubber mallet or hammer will come in handy during this part.
What about the ugly staples showing every inch all over your couch? You have a few options. You can make cording to match with your leftover material or you can buy some trim and hot glue it on. The cording involved sewing so guess what I chose? Yep, I bought some white trim at my local Hancock Fabric and hot glued it on. Don't be afraid to use hot glue, it holds extremely well, much better than fabric glue.
I am really excited about how my couches turned out. I really wanted the long, one cushion look, but didn't want to spend money purchasing a new cushion. Know that you can order new cushions online quite easily. My living room is one step closer to being finished. I'm going for an English Antique Equestrian look. Can't tell yet? I'm not offended, it'll get there :)
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