DIY: Mock Tufting

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Introduction: DIY: Mock Tufting

About: Furniture, fabric, architecture, building, painting. I specialize in upholstery design, restyling, repurposing and writing all about upholstery. I teach loads of upholstery classes all week long and also te...

This is an easy answer to an annoying problem: back cushions that get all slouchy and are scrunched down after someone gets up. It also gives plain cushions an updated, restyled look

Step 1: Measure and Mark

The things you'll need to transform your cushions:
twine
chalk
ruler
long, straight upholstery needle
scissors

Step 2: Measure and Mark

First of all, fluff and distribute stuffing evenly within the cushion to be tufted. Next, measure and mark where you want your tufts to be on your cushion.

Step 3: Thread Needle

Thread a pieice of 18" twine through the long needle.

Step 4: Twine Tufting Technique

Holding one end of the twine, push needle through cushion at marked location and out through other side. Re-thread needle with the twine end from the front side of the cushion.

Step 5: The Key

The key to NOT having your fabric pull too much is to re-thread the needle and push it through at a distance of approximately 1/2" at a diagonal from where you first insert was made.

Step 6: Pull

Pull twine firmly, but not too tightly. You can see that the weave is pulled a little too tightly here. It needs to be loosened a little bit. Tie it off and cut excess twine off.

Step 7: Before

This is the before shot of the cushions. They weren't bad but the tufting added some nice detail and the cushion innards stay put.

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    29 Comments

    Hi, thank you for your tutorial. Where did you get your tufting supplies?

    1 reply

    Well, I would, but somehow I managed to delete my comment, so I don't recall just what it was now.... If I remember, I'll post it!

    This looks great. And you just solved my problem.

    I wonder can this be done to a sectional?...though the pillows are attached . I just hate sectionals.

    Love it! What a totally inexpensive way to update a boring couch. The tutorial is perfect!

    my only beef is, lack of pictures. I learn best with pictures or drawings.

    ca i do this to a leather couch? back and arms? they're both removable.

    That sounds like a really good idea, especially with the way kid throw pillows everywhere. Thanks for commenting. Check out my other stuff at Curbly and I'll be a regular on Apartment Therapy-Chicago in a couple of weeks. :) ModHomeEcTeacher (shelly)

    After cutting the twine, the ends of it stick outm right??? How 'bout, before cutting but after tying, you take the needle with one end of the twine inserted and push it back through one of the sewing holes, run it under the cover, through the stuffing for a couple of inches. Bring it back up through the fabric at this point and then cut it. If you pull it a little taut while cutting, the twine will pull back into the fabric/stuffing and you won't see the ends. Do the same thing with the other loose end. Makes the pillow neatly reversible.

    1 reply

    If I need to flip these over, I'll push the threads back in. As I told Build O Matic, I'm almost ready to reupholster so I like trying easy makeovers. :)

    Great idea! The only thing I would worry about is the string cutting through the fabric and just wrecking the cushions for good... That's why they usually put large fabric covered buttons on the front when they do this commercially. Buttons distribute the stress over a larger surface and prevent ripping.

    1 reply

    I understand. I just decided I didn't want buttons on these. I have a commercial button covering machine.:) The loveseat is just about due to be reupholstered.

    Great... It makes it look more expensive..... Can I borrow this ideal for when I make my really tall head board???

    This would be a great solution for my old couch. My only concern would be that it would become a problem to wash the cushion covers. Seems simple enough to cut off and redo if necessary though. My cushions are trapezoid shaped, so the box pattern might not look right, I'll have to look into staggered tufting.

    1 reply

    You could easily re-do these with more lengths of twine. Trapezoid, as in the outsides angle to accomodate the arms of the couch? Even so, a symmetrical tufting would look fine. It's personal taste. Good Luck!