Tufting is an upholstering technique that creates patterned clusters or tufts in leather or fabric on some furniture. It is a method that combines threading and the placement of buttons or knots to achieve the desired pattern. If you have an old, tufted accent chair, you might have considered furniture restoration. And if that is the plan, then below, please read the five crucial steps in the process worth knowing before you begin the reupholstering or handing your furniture over to an upholstering specialist.
Step 1: Remove the Fabric/Leather
It is the first step taken in the reupholstering process, but it will vary depending on how the existing tufting was done. For some chairs, the trim was glued onto the front of the arms. For such pieces, you will peel off the trim using a pair of pliers. You then will proceed to rip off the upholstering by removing the staple holding the leather or fabric in place on the underlying frame. Label each upholstery section as you work so that you do not get confused later in the process.
Step 2: Examine the Foam and Backing Board
The body of the tufting sits over a layer of foam that rests on top of a hard piece of material knowing as the backing board. You must assess the condition of these components to evaluate their integrity and confirm they can be reused. Replace whatever you find is too worn out to be used again. Upholstering experts will recommend upgrading the foam regardless of its current state.
Step 3: Cut and Sew the New Material
The old upholstery can be the template for the new material you will install. Spread it on a flat surface and the traces the edges using a fabric or leather marker. You then can cut the sections and sew them together in their respective positions.
Step 4: Place the Batting and Upholstery Material
Batting is the insulating material layered between the upholstery and the backing with consist of foam and hardboard. In this step, you should place the new leather or fabric along with the batting ensuring each is in its proper position on the chair. On the body of the furniture, you must push the batting and upholstery through the holes that are on the backing board to that you can create the tufted surface or pattern.
Step 5: Thread the Leather or Fabric
Lastly, you will thread the upholstery onto the body of the chair, ensuring that everything aligns in position. You will need an upholstery needle and the correct type of thread. You then begin by pushing the needle through the back of the chair into one of the holes in the backing. You then pull the need to pass the thread through the button you will use so that it is secured in place on the front face of the chair. If you do not want to use buttons or the chair did not have once, you can use the same process, making the first pass to create an upholstery knot. Repeat the process on each hole, making sure that the threading is secure enough to create a robust bond between all the components to achieve a firm tufting pattern.