Upholstery is a great way to refurbish a beloved old piece of furniture, giving it not just a new look but an opportunity to start a creative project from scratch. One of the most popular types of furniture to upholster is the bench. With the right techniques and supplies, a skilled craftsman can turn a dull, colourless bench into a beautiful and fashionable addition to the home. This article gets into the specifics of how to upholster a bench and covers the entire process, step by step.
How to Upholster a Bench
Upholstering a bench can seem like an intimidating task, but with the right information and tools, it can be a fun and rewarding process. In this section, we will provide all the necessary steps for upholstering a bench, from understanding the basics of upholstering to laying out the fabric and securing it with a staple gun. With our comprehensive guide, you can make sure that your finished project looks stylish and professional. So get your materials and follow along – let’s get started upholstering a bench!
Understanding the Basics of Upholstering a Bench
Upholstery is a great way to give new life to a furniture piece like a bench. Before starting your project, it is important to understand the basics of upholstery.
The first step is to decide on the type and style of fabric you will use. The fabric you choose needs to be durable and hard wearing because your bench will be used frequently. The fabric should also have a pleasant feel on the skin and match the décor of the room the bench will be placed.
You’ll also need to be familiar with the types of upholstery supplies that are available. From batting to stuffing to tools like staples, tacks and glue, you’ll need to decide which will work best for your upholstery project.
Finally, you should have a basic understanding of the process of cutting and stretching the fabric used to reupholster a bench. This includes measuring, cutting and applying the fabric to the bench to make sure it is perfectly in place.
Knowing the basics of upholstering a bench is the first step to restoring a piece of furniture. With the right supplies, skills, and patience you can make a stylish, comfortable piece for your home.
Gather the Tools and Materials Needed for Upholstery
The first step to upholstering a bench, is to gather all necessary tools and materials. This step ensures that you have everything that you need to successfully complete the project. Generally, the tools you will need include:
- Staple gun
- Tape measure
- Razor or box cutter
- Safety glasses
The materials you will need are:
- Upholstery foam
- Upholstery batting (this can be cotton or polyester fibers)
- Upholstery fabric
- Upholstery fabric glue
- Upholstery thread
- Gimp pins or corder nails
- Upholstery nails
- Matching needle
These tools and materials are meant to ensure that your upholstery project is successful and looks great when you are done. Knowing which types of materials to use for specific areas—such as foam for the frame and batting for the seat—will make the process much easier. Additionally, it is important to select fabrics that work with the style of bench. An upholstery fabric with a modern and abstract pattern will not be as versatile as a fabric that is more neutral or basic.
Once you have all of the necessary materials, you can begin the project. Taking the time to understand the different types of materials and tools can save you time in completing the upholstery project.
Preparation of the Bench for Upholstering
Before beginning the upholstery of the bench, it is essential that the bench is prepared properly to ensure that the finished project exemplifies quality workmanship. It is important to inspect the bench thoroughly to determine if repairs are needed. Any screws should be tightened, as well as any joints that may have become loose. Also, any sharp edges or irregularities must be sanded down for safety as well as aesthetic purposes. After this has been taken care of, it is necessary that the bench is properly cleaned. Insecticides, if necessary, should be used to treat the surface, but any dust must be vacuumed off.
Next, the bench should be prepped for upholstery by padding it with foam. The foam should first be cut to the desired size, making sure it isn’t too large for the bench. Then, a layer of burlap fabric must be laid across the foam, acting as an adhesive to secure the foam to the bench. To make sure everything is properly secured, it is highly recommended that an upholstery hammer is used to smooth the foam and burlap down. Once this is done, the bench is now ready to be upholstered.
Layering the Upholstery Fabrics
Once you have gathered all the materials needed for upholstering the bench, the next step is to start layering the upholstery fabrics. It is important to use the correct fabric with proper thickness and weight to ensure a beautiful and durable result. The fabric should be well-fitted so that it fits snugly over the bench and is properly protected.
The fabrics used for upholstering a bench should typically include three different layers:
- A decorative top layer of fabric that is usually used for aesthetics and has a light to medium weight if the project will be exposed to frequent use.
- A layer of quilt batting, which is a dense, soft material that adds additional padding and comfort when sitting on the bench.
- A layer of heavy muslin or canvas that goes directly onto the wood. This layer serves as a stabilizer and adds extra durability.
When layering the fabrics, it is important to ensure that the batting and muslin materials are cut about 3-4 inches wider than the top layer fabric. This will ensure that all the fabric is properly secured and prevent bulging when the fabric is stapled.
Once you have selected the fabrics, placed them in the correct order, and cut them to the appropriate size, you can begin to upholster the bench. This can be done either with a staple gun or a special tool called an upholstering machine.
Identifying the Best Technique to Upholster the Bench
One of the most important steps in upholstering a bench is selecting the best technique to do the job. The best technique for any upholstery job depends on the type of fabric being used, the design of the bench, and the end result desired.
The most common technique for upholstering a bench is using a batting layer and a top layer, whether it be a piece of pre-made trim or a large piece of fabric that is cut for the job. Different types of fabrics require different techniques. For example, thicker fabrics such as canvas or velvet may require a traditional foam padding sandwiched between the batting and fabric layers to provide additional cushioning.
Another technique that might be used is called ‘box tufting’. This involves stitching a few horizontal and vertical lines across the upholstery fabric, to give the bench a more finished look. This method is best used on heavier fabrics such as leather or linen.
The ‘skirt’ or ‘gimp banding’ technique is one that can also be used to upholster a bench. This involves using a gimp or other decorative trim around the sides and ends of the bench. The trim is then secured with staples or nails, and covered with a piece of fabric. This method can be used with heavier fabrics such as wool or velvet.
Lastly, the ‘French piping’ technique is one of the most difficult methods to use. This involves sewing long strips of bias-cut fabric around the perimeter of the upholstered portion of the bench. This method is best used on thicker, heavier fabrics, or when detailed design or color blocking is desired.
When selecting the best technique to upholster the bench, one must take into account the type of fabric being used, the size of the bench, and the end result desired. By selecting the right technique, one can ensure that the upholstery job is completed to the highest standard and to bring out the best in the fabric used.
Securing the Upholstery Fabric with Staple Gun
Securing the Upholstery Fabric with Staple Gun
Once you have prepared the bench, the backing cushion, and the fabric to upholster in place, the next step is to attach the fabric to the cushion with a staple gun. Here are the materials you will need to complete this step:
- Staple gun
- Upholstery staples
Start by laying the fabric over the cushion and smoothing the fabric onto the cushion. Secure the edges of the fabric first by stapling it with the staple gun. Use upholstery staples that match the size of the staple gun and that provide an appropriate amount of tension. Start by stapling the center of each side and then work towards the corners. It is important to pull the fabric as tightly as possible in order to avoid any wrinkles or loose fabric.
After the edges of the fabric have been secured, move to the corners. Use multiple staples, placed together, and use a hammer to press them into the cushion for extra stability. It is important to ensure that all staples are in the same direction and are placed close together to provide additional strength.
Once all the staples are attached, use a soft brush to brush the fabric to remove any loose threads or fabric that may be sticking out. This is an important step to ensure that the bench upholstery is neat and finished looking.
Finishing Touches on the Bench Upholstery Project
Once you have successfully secured the upholstery fabric with a staple gun, you are ready to make some finishing touches. Prior to this step, it is important to ensure that the fabric is taut against the frame of the bench. After you have completed this step, it is time to add any additional panels if desired. If you plan to add padding, foam can be used between the upholstery fabric and the frame of the bench to provide extra cushioning. The foam should be cut to the same size as the upholstery layer for a neat finish.
It is also important to focus on the trim pieces to make the bench look complete. Trim is a great way to dress up the edges and corners of the bench to create a professional-looking piece of furniture. The trim pieces should be cut to size and hot glued along with the upholstery fabric to the frame before using staples to secure the trim pieces. Avoid stretching any of the fabric and trim to preserve the quality of the material.
If adding tassels, fringe, or any other type of decorative piece, use a strong glue that is specifically designed for upholstering projects. The last step is to perform a final check of the bench. Check that all staples are properly secured and that the trim pieces and fabric are properly attached. Check for any areas that may have shifted and make adjustments if necessary. Once all the steps have been completed, the bench is ready to use and be a part of your home decor.