Introduction: How to Fix a Couch With Torn Upholstery

About: Crafting with a healthy dose of trash hoarding disorder. Love to make things from old, used and unwanted stuff. We crafters euphemistically call this upcycling.

We have 4 dogs and 2 cats in our house and they tend to be pretty hard on the furniture. Our couch as you can see was in pretty bad shape and we were close to getting rid of it. So I decided to try and fix it figuring I couldn't make it any worse. We bought the couch several years ago and from the moment we brought it in the house I questioned why I had thought it was a good choice. The color wasn't good for the room and I had chosen the couch in part because of the fabric. I thought it would be easier to clean than other options due to all the pet hair we have in our house. Needless to say, the couch just collected the pet hair and was difficult to clean off. So, once it reached this dismal state, I started to hatch a plan on how to fix it.


  • Denim Patches
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Curved Upholstery Needle
  • Mod Podge
  • Small Paint Brush
  • Hi-Gloss House Paint
  • Standard Paint Brush
  • Sand Paper or Sanding Sponge80 grit and 150 grit
  • Micro Fiber Cloths
  • Cleaning Solution
  • Work Gloves

Step 1: Damaged Couch

There were three torn places that were stitched back together using the upholstery needle and thread. The fabric was actually chewed up in places so the stitches were added primarily to stabilize the fabric before applying the patches.

Step 2: Cut Denim Patches

To make the patches I used some different sized circle shapes and some old jeans. The circles are traced and then the patch is cut out approximately 1/2 inch outside the traced line. Then the outside edge is clipped with the scissors into the traced line at approximately 3/4 intervals all the way around the circle.

Step 3: Baste and Glue Patches

Once the tabs were cut I used some contrasting thread and a sewing needle to sew down each of the tabs with a large basting stitch, folding them toward the back of the fabric on the circle line that was drawn. The contrasting color of thread is used so that it can be removed easily once the patch is sewn in place. After the tabs are all basted down the patch is ready to be applied to the couch. Since these patches were quite large I also used some Mod Podge to help secure the patches to the couch.

Step 4: Sew Patches

To attach the patches I used a curved upholstery needle and thread to sew around the edges of the patches.

Step 5: Add Decorative Patches

Once the three holes were patched I added some additional patches to balance out the look of the couch.

Step 6: Deep Clean Couch

To clean the couch, first I vacuumed off the surface and then clean it with a microfiber cloth and some cleaning solution.

Step 7: Paint and Sand

I have heard a lot of people recommend using chalk paint to paint upholstery but I had some hi-gloss house paint leftover from another project so I decided to give it a try. For the first coat, I used a spray bottle of water to dilute the paint for the easier spreading of paint. Once the paint was dry I used a sanding sponge to smooth out the scratchy finish before applying the next coat. In total, I applied 4 coats of paint and the finished fabric now has a leather or vinyl look and feel.

Step 8: The Finished Couch

I really like the way it turned out, and it is much easier to clean now too.

If you would like to check out more inspiration on upcycling ideas please visit Upcycle Design Lab

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