You can give any bench, chair or bed headboard a custom-upholstered look by using foam and covering it with fabric. Cushion foam is available at most fabric stores and comes in a selection of depths from 1 to 8 inches. You'll need to cut the foam to the dimensions of your project. Cutting foam for cushions is easy to do, but it may require a special tool, especially if the foam is thick.
Determine Your Foam Needs
Determine the amount of foam you'll need by measuring the object to be covered. Measure the length and width of your project using a tape measure. If you will be covering dining room chairs, for example, you'll need to quadruple or multiply your measurements by more, depending on the number of chairs you have, to ensure that adequate foam will be purchased.
Depending on your project, you'll have to select among the various thicknesses of foam. For dining room chairs, use foam that is no more than 2 inches in depth. If covering a stylish bench, you might opt for greater foam thickness to give the bench visual personality. If covering a bed's headboard, use a foam thickness that will give you the desired finished look.
Buy Foam and Batting
At your fabric store, foam will be either on a roll or in precut sheets for the thicker foam pieces. Armed with your measurements, buy the amount of foam required for your project. While at the fabric store, also pick up batting to cover the foam insert. Batting softens the hard corners and provides additional padding for the covered surface. Ask your fabric store specialist for help, if needed.
If your project is a small one, such as covering chair seats, make a paper template to trace the size needed right on the foam with a marker. The traced lines will be covered by both the batting and fabric later. If your project is too large for a paper template, use a yardstick or tape measure to transfer your measurements to the foam.
Foam is very easy to cut; however, cutting is more difficult the thicker the foam becomes. If your foam is rather thin, you might be able to use a large scissor. If the scissor becomes unwieldy, try a single-edge razor blade. You may have to make several passes to make a complete cut through the foam.
Even better than either a scissor or razor blade is an X-acto knife. This pencil-like tool uses a special v-shaped blade and is especially for cutting projects. An X-acto knife can help you make a clean cut. You can purchase an X-acto knife at any craft store, office supply store or where art supplies are sold.