How to reupholster booths

Written by emmalise mac
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How to reupholster booths
Booth or bench seat cushions require little expertise to reupholster. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Reupholstering furniture requires a significant amount of training, sewing skill and patience. Booth or bench seats, however, usually involve only upholstered boards that serve as cushions. You can reupholster these with little or no experience. Occasionally, a tailored cover is used to upholster the seat portion of the bench. Fortunately, you can use a few simple tricks to create an acceptable cover for a fraction of the cost involved in hiring a professional.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Wire pliers with pointed tips
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Claw hammer
  • Burlap fabric
  • Fibre carpet or upholstery padding felt
  • 3-inch thick upholstery foam
  • Spray adhesive
  • Cotton batting
  • Staple gun
  • Heavy-duty staples
  • Vinyl material
  • Utility knife
  • Permanent marker
  • Upholstery nails (optional)

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  1. 1

    Remove the existing cover and padding from the booth back rest and seat --- you may need to first carefully remove bolts or screws holding the padded seat or backboard to the bench. Use pliers and a flathead screwdriver to remove staples, and use a flathead screwdriver and claw hammer to pry up and remove upholstery nails. Label each piece of foam or cover fabric with its original location, written in marker, to remind you later.

  2. 2

    Cover the top of the seat only with a layer of burlap, stapled into place around the edges --- if your booth seat has springs. Alternately staple the burlap to opposite sides of the seat top as you stretch the burlap into place. Cover the burlap with a layer of fibre carpet or upholstery padding felt using the same stapling technique.

  3. 3

    Cover the booth backboard --- and the seat board, if applicable --- with a layer of fibre carpet or upholstery padding felt. Cut the padding approximately six inches wider and longer than the board, centre the board on top of the felt, fold the edges over onto the back of the board and staple the felt into place. Use the same alternate stapling techniques as before to stretch the felt into place.

  4. 4

    Cut upholstery foam to the dimensions of the backboard --- and the seat board, if applicable. If you have a completely upholstered spring seat, cut a piece of upholstery foam to the length of the seat plus six inches, and cut it long enough to completely wrap around the seat from front to back --- add an extra six inches to this length for good measure. For a completely upholstered spring seat, cut an additional, narrow strip of foam eight inches wide and as long as the seat. Also, cut two additional pieces of foam slightly larger than the ends of the finished bench; use the original cover fabric for reference, or overestimate.

  5. 5

    Staple the additional, narrow strip of foam into place --- if you have a completely upholstered spring seat --- along the top front edge of the seat so that it covers the edge and forms a "bullnose." (See Reference 1 for illustrations of this technique).

  6. 6

    Working on one piece at a time, liberally spray the top surface of the felt with spray adhesive. Place the cut foam into place, and press it into place firmly. For completely upholstered spring seats, also spray the front and back of the frame. Wrap the foam around the front and back of the spring seat, and staple it into place along the bottom edges --- the foam will extend three inches past each end of the bench. Apply foam to the ends of the seat --- trim the precut pieces of foam so they fit as closely as possible into the space created by the foam overhanging the top of the bench. Spray the ends of the bench with adhesive before pressing these custom-cut end pieces into place.

  7. 7

    Cover the seat back and bottom with a layer of cotton batting. Stretch the batting into place to cover the entire seat back or bottom, folding and stretching the batting as needed to create a tight, smooth look --- avoid making folds in the batting on the top of the seat. Staple the batting into place as you work, again alternately placing staples into opposite sides of the underside of the piece to secure the batting.

  8. 8

    Cover upholstered seat and backboards with vinyl material using the same wrapping and stapling technique you used for the cotton batting. If possible, precut the vinyl using the old cover as a pattern --- cut the new cover six inches larger on all sides to allow room for trimming. Trim any excess vinyl or batting from the back of the seat boards before securing them into place on the bench.

  9. 9

    Cut a piece of vinyl material wide enough and long enough to wrap over the bench in each direction --- plus an extra 12 inches of overlap on each end. Wrap the vinyl over the bench, and secure it into place along the underside of the back of the bench. Stretch the vinyl over the front of the bench and staple it into place on the underside at the centre front of the bench. Work your way from the centre to each end as you stretch the vinyl, and staple it into place along the front of the bench.

  10. 10

    Experiment with the remaining vinyl to create a series of folds to take up the remaining fabric on the ends of spring seats. For example, you may choose to use one large fold to take up the vinyl on the square back edge of the bench and a fan-like series of folds to take up fabric along the rounded front edge of the bench. After you have found a folding pattern appropriate for your specific seat, staple the folded vinyl into place along the bottom of the frame. If necessary, use upholstery nails to follow the lines of the folds and hold them into place on the ends of the bench. Trim any excess fabric from the bottom of the seat before securing it into place.

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