When it comes to making stuff, I’m pretty adventurous. My mother’s mantra when I was little was, “You can do hard things,” and I totally took that to heart. I learned to cook, knit, sew, and redo furniture before I learned to drive. The one thing I have managed to avoid for fear of utter failure? Upholstery.
I justify my terror with two excuses:
- cost of materials
- fear of power tools
So when Liz from HGTV’s Design Happens mentioned that Spruce Upholstery‘s Amanda Brown would be swinging by the offices a couple months ago while on tour for her new book, I decided it was finally time to face my fear. Mainly because I didn’t expect us to do any “real” upholstery projects, and I sort of wanted to fan-girl out over one of my favorite Design*Sponge contributors. However, when I got there and saw the safety goggles, I knew I would be confronting my fears head on. So here’s how it went down.
Amanda and her team brought a selection of rad fabrics for us to pick from as well as the the wooden base and foam for each of us to make a bench. After gluing down a thick piece of foam with spray adhesive, we used upholstery batting to smooth out the square edges. To attach the batting, and then the fabric, we used a pneumatic stapler. Not only am I not scared of projects involving safety goggles anymore, I also have a favorite power tool.
After we covered the foam with fabric, we learned how to do the 3 things that I think made each of our benches look super professional.
- We added cord around the base.
- We tufted the cushion with fabric covered buttons.
- Then, we added a dust cover.
Each step in itself was not terribly intimidating; it was just a matter of being patient with the process.
The great thing about having Amanda right there in the room was that we could watch her do a step and then do it ourselves. Which brings me to the cool thing about her new book: there’s also an accompanying DVD. I am totally a watch-then-do sort of learner — at least when it comes to learning the basics. If that’s you and you’re interested in upholstery, watch a few clips here on Spruce’s site.
So, the takeaway? We all had a really great time learning a skill that had previously terrified the majority of us. It’s empowering to try things you’re scared of, and it’s fun when you do it with friends. Amanda’s book, Spruce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design is out now.
By the way, here’s what the bench looks like in our reading room at home. I think my next project will be recovering the dining room chairs.
What about you? Have you ever upholstered any of your own pieces? Is it something you want to try?