Has your husband ever asked you for holiday gifting ideas? “The kids are asking for gift ideas. Is there anything you’d really love? Can you help me out here?”
Would this be one of your answers? “You know what I’d really love? I’d really love a non-kinking air hose.” It’s certainly not what anyone would expect to hear but that, and a few other specific items over the years have made for some very happy occasions.
Below is a list of some other upholstery-oriented gift ideas. Feel free to add your favorites to this list, then send this link to your loved ones. The list is organized from less expensive items (under $5) to more expensive items ($350). Information on really spectacular gifts, like sewing machines, can be found on Kim’s blog, here and here.
Ideas For Holiday Gifting
Magnetic parts bowl
These are such a simple concept, but such an important tool in my workshop! I use the smaller 4” bowl to hold pins, and the 6” bowl to hold my upholstery pins and sewing machine feet. I keep a larger tray for the small parts I take off of furniture that I don’t want to lose while I’m tearing down. The bowls are magnetic, so nothing falls out. These magnetic parts bowls are the bomb! Every upholstery studio can benefit from a couple of these.
This makes a great upholstery gift so when you accidentally bump it off the table your pins don’t all go flying everywhere.
Extra long, glass head pins
A pin is a pin, right? Nope and not even! These are1 7/8″” long, heavy-duty, glass head pins, and they’re perfect for the heavier fabrics we use with upholstery. (They don’t bend easily.) Dressmaker pins just can’t cut it. The glass heads also allow me to press fabric, if needed, as in the case of window treatments, pillows, and slipcovers, and they won’t melt under heat. They’re sharper, and finer gauge than the T-head pins you can get at Joann. Get you some!
C.S. Osborne upholstery skewers
These C.S.Osborne upholstery skewers are 3” long, and really make a difference when working on decks or pinning through layers of cotton and dacron. They also come in 4” and 3.5” lengths, but I prefer the 3” long skewers. Get yourself a 6” magnetic parts bowl to hold these skewers, too!
Cut-resistant gloves and a box of band-aids
Seriously, this is a great, tongue-in-cheek, inexpensive gag gift/stocking stuffer that comes in handy! (See what I did there?) Anyone who spends any time around tack strips, curve-ease, scissors, needles, regulators, and staple lifters cuts themselves from time to time. I wear cut-resistant gloves to tear down, and every time I use curve-ease or tack strip. (I keep several boxes of band-aids and a styptic pencil in my workroom.)
When you’re looking for cut-resistant gloves look for the ANSI number. The ANSI number tells you just how cut-resistant the gloves are. I like A3 or A4 cut resistance which preserves some dexterity and gives me the ability to pick up and use a cell phone without taking off my gloves. These gloves from Home Depot fit the bill for me.
The C.S. Osbourne 120 ½ staple lifter. You can find this tool at many upholstery suppliers as well as Amazon. I have a couple of these because I love them, and I’m always misplacing them!
C.S. Osborne has a catalog of all their tools which is handy to have.
I lived without this one for a long time, abusing my hands when tucking the fabric into those tight spots, but once I discovered this tucking tool there was no going back. This tucker gets into tight spaces where my fingers just won’t go. The extra strong blade with that little angle at the end plus the edges are rounded so it’s not likely to tear through your fabric and your fingers won’t hurt. Get your loved one a tucker!
Tool bag/ tool bucket organizer/ tool utility cart
Though I now have a designated upholstery work space, when I was still upholstering in my living room I needed to be able to pack my tools away at the end of every day, and at the end of every project. A zippered tool bag was where I kept my tools. I still travel with this zippered tool bag. Some upholsterers prefer a tool bucket organizer, which is great for holding more items than my tool bag.
Now that I have a designated workroom, I store my tools on a pegboard, or in drawers, however, while actively working on a project I use this Ikea utility cart on wheels as a tool caddy to keep my tools organized and handy while I work. This one has three shelves, and because it’s steel my pin bowls stick to it. (See upholstery pins, skewers, and parts bowls above.) This means no spilling, ease of movement, and being able to see all my tools. It’s a winner for me.
Upholstery = schmutz (aka. dirt or similar unpleasant material) Clearly, I don’t always upholster in my pearls, looking fresh and ready for a lunch date, lol! I tend to finish a work day looking like I crawled from a dustbin covered with fibers, fluff, thread, glue, and schmutz; so, I like to upholster wearing an apron to keep my tools handy… if I remember to put them back in the pockets. Here is a heavy-duty, waxed canvas apron to reduce the schmutz factor.
Heavy-duty, waxed canvas aprons are inexpensive, water resistant, and feature lots of pockets. The wax allows hot glue or adhesive overspray to peel off. (A nice feature!) I like a longer apron to provide a little extra protection for my clothes.
The heavy canvas aprons can be quite warm in hot weather. If you work outside, or during a warmer season, you may want to switch to a chef’s apron. Etsy has quite a few that can be personalized, featuring lots of pockets. I even have one in my swag shop that you may like.
High heat hot glue gun and clear glue sticks
Though I use a generic high-heat hot glue gun from my local hardware store, you can use any brand full-size hot glue gun. It needs to be a high-heat glue gun, though. The clear sticks are what you want for upholstery and you’ll go through a lot of them. Shop around to find the best deal. Many brands of glue guns also make cordless versions that are oh, so nice, especially if you’re attaching a whole lot of double cord or gimp! This is a great holiday gifting idea.