Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tufting Tutorial

Hi! Here is the fourth part in my reupholstering adventure! I tried my best to break down what I did into steps - not every reupholstery project will have these steps and some might have even more!

This part is the Tufting Tutorial!

Incase you missed the first few steps you can check them out here:
The steps all together are:

Before I even got started on this process I once again consulted many different blogs and websites to create a plan of action but none of them had the answers I needed. ALL of the turtorials I found online were either for a headboard or for the backs of a chair, both securing the tuft string with stables to the back of wood or particle board. BUT IM NOT USING WOOD!! Help!! I was tufting straight through the foam - which the cord would rip through with out any trouble.

The original upholstery used these little guys with washers on the back to secure:
Talk about an easy way to do it! Even though I found them online I was not willing to invest in purchasing the rather large press to make them and I even called probably half a dozen local shops and had no luck. Finally I spoke to a very helpful man and he suggested a few different options for me to try and even offered if I couldn't get it to work to come down to his shop and he would show me.
So here is my process on tufting :)

First take your foam and mark where you want the tufts to be - I just copied the placement off of the original foam so that they would be identical.

 Then I used a steak knife to cut out little circles where the markings were:

And pulled out the center piece to create holes in the foam

Next I used the thickest fusible interfacing that Joann's carried - it was about as thick as felt and really stiff and I carefully ironed it onto the back of the foam to create a solid backing. This is what helped anchor in my tufts. Even though the interfacing wasn't perfectly fused to the foam it held up enough until my tufts were secure.

Then I flipped it back over and laid the thick cotton batting over to create a bit more of a softer edge to the foam.
And just poked little holes through it with my fingers where the tufts would go.

The step is preparing the buttons! I used the button cover kit - I tried two different kinds but this one worked the best for me:

After they were done I attached the upholstery thread to them: I folded it in half twice so that my thread was four times stronger.

Now you are ready for the fun part! Let the tufting begin:
Lay the fabric over the foam, I cut the fabric big enough so that there was a generous amount laying over each side. 

Then with your finger start to find the cut outs where the tufts belong. I worked from left to right and before securing and pulling the tufts through I would use my hands to create the tufts in the next row. This allowed the fabric to be much easier to manipulate as the I was tufting- the folds laid how I wanted them too.

Thread your button through a 6" upholstery needle and push it through from to to bottom. Since I had the interfacing on the back it helped to create a strong anchor for my tufts but I used a button on the back just to distribute the tension more evenly:

I propped the foam up against the coffee table to that I had access to the front and back at the same time BUT I would highly recommend a helper to hold it for you and make it much easier! I pulled as hard as I could and secured the thread through the button and knotted it using a slip know so that it was not going to loosen. I probably knotted each tuft about 5 or 6 times on the back just to be safe.

Once you have the first one done just move on to the next - just be sure to make temporary tufts with your fingers to ensure the fabric will lay right.

It is a rather slow process but the result turned out amazing!

Its ready to be the backing to my loveseat!

Also just for reference here is the picture of the layers used:
 It starts with the interfacing, the foam, the batting, and finally the fabric!

Good luck!

If you have any questions about my process please just leave me a comment or shoot me an email - I am happy to help in any way I can :)


  1. I wanted to learn how to do this!! Thank you, thank you! You've done it again! Thank goodness you experience all of this before I take on my own project! :)

    1. Thank YOU! I hope you find it helpful when you do take on your own project <3

  2. Amazing! I love this and I"m lovin this blog!!!

  3. Cute blog! ANDDD.... This post is completely amazing! I want to attempt this project!!
    I am your newest follower.

    1. Thank you fro stopping by! You should totally attempt it and I hope this helps you when you do :)

  4. Wow you got talent girl! This is crazy & so cool!

  5. OH my gosh, you did an AMAZING job here. I'm always in awe when I come across people who have a natural inclination to make pretties. This is def. not my niche, though I sure wish it was!! Excellent work and a great share.

  6. Thanks for this. It's very helpful.

  7. Awesome tutorial! I would love to do a DIY tufted ottoman... One day! Pinning.

  8. Wow, this is amazing! You're a pro. Would love it if you linked up on my blog hop Also let me know if you'd like to follow each other!

  9. Tufting has always intimidated me, yours looks amazing! Stopping by to thank you for linking up with the GFC Collective this week, and thanks for following :) Now following you, too!
    Bre @ Peacoats and Plaid

  10. I'd like to invite you to join me at the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!

    I hope to see you there!
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  11. I love this tutorial - I've often wondered how to do this :)

    Sarah @ A Cat-Like Curiosity

  12. That was simply fascinating! Often wondered how it was done, suspected it was something like your tutorial, and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Thank you. Used to quilt, which has a similar layering process, but now find toys are easier for my arthritic hands to handle. All that threading and tying of knots would take me for ever, alas! Just dropped by as a fellow guest on this Blog Hop - glad I did: and invite you to pop in and visit sometime soon. You'd be most welcome, especially if you follow: as I'm about to do to you!

    All the best. Isobel

  13. Thanks for your tute... I now feel a bit more confident about trying it out! :)