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Can I Learn Upholstery Myself?

Perhaps you’ve wanted to reupholster that front room chair, or just fancy making some aesthetic changes without replacing an entire suite of furniture.

The idea of creating your own piece of furniture, or recreating it as is more likely the case, is one of those ‘love to do projects for many of us.

image - Can I Learn Upholstery Myself?
Can I Learn Upholstery Myself?

But is it That Easy?

Upholstery can mean creating new furniture or updating old pieces. The subject covers furniture to all other sorts of upholstery, such as more specialized boat and car interiors.

YouTube is a great resource for upholstery videos. Watch as many as you can – it will definitely help especially if you’ve never even done so much as an evening class in upholstery.

It perhaps goes without saying that you should start small. Find a simple stool or chair at a bric-a-brac store because making the wrong cuts in your new material or damaging the chair you want to reuse will be costly.

For example, putting the fabric back in the wrong order will be extremely frustrating.

A chair will often introduce you to a lot of basic techniques, such as:

  • How to measure and cut your fabric
  • Center and attach the fabric
  • Add cord or other embellishments such as decorative tacks
  • Close off the outside back correctly

And when you start out be sure to pick a piece that has a solid frame, or if not, do you have the skill to fix it as well.

A damaged frame might be perfectly repairable but can add extra requirements to your project.

Don’t overdo your first project, or concede that you might need some professional help if it’s a piece you really love.

Top Tip: Take Pictures… Lots of Them

From the moment you start the project use a camera to record everything you do. Everything.

From the tear down to the rebuild using a camera will help you identify what it looked like, what should go where, and how it goes back.

It will help you see if you’ve made any mistakes and hopefully learn from them.

Taking pictures is also great if you’re doing it as a hobby and hoping to sell any reupholstered furniture on the side.

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Evening Classes

Yes, learning it properly will cost some money. But you don’t need to go all out and get a degree in upholstery.

Many local businesses will offer evening classes, and it only takes one piece or so to get the confidence to tackle more ambitious projects.

Armed with the basics you might feel you can take on an entire suite, rather than struggle with a smaller piece and be put off forever.

It will also allow you to try your new hobby before shelling out on the costs of upholstery supplies and tools.

For a beginner, these can add up to an expensive cost, only to find out you’re perhaps not suited to it after all.

It will give you access to the professional tools you need and save you time hunting around to find out what you need to do the job properly before you’ve even started.

Yes, it sounds like a broken record, but having the right tools really will make your upholstery life a huge amount easier.

You may end up not enjoying yourself solely based on not having the right tools to hand.

An evening class will also give you the dedicated space you need to create your project.

But you’ll also be exposed to like-minded people and a tutor who can help you look at a new way of approaching your particular project.

Final Thoughts

How you approach it depends on your needs. You only know what you think to find out, and maybe surprised how much easier, quicker, or better another way is.

There is absolutely no reason why you can’t learn to upholster in a self-taught manner, but you might also find you learn quicker with some expert tips from like-minded people.

It’s an individual choice and depends on how far you want to take your upholstery hobby and skills.

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