I often get asked this question: “Can I really learn to do Upholstery?”
Well lets chat about just that. The simple answer is YES! Of course you can learn anything you put your mind to. Most professionals started from the same point you are currently at. Many others start because it was a family business or a skill handed down, but they still had to learn the skills. Often we doubt ourselves and this is usually an inherited or taught behavior. Don’t listen to that little voice because YOU CAN DO THIS!
I was recently asked to write an article for Drapery and Design Magazine on the topic of “Add an Income Stream with Upholstery” for the soft home furnishings industry. This industry is made up of many custom window coverings workrooms that create beautiful window treatments along with slipcovers and bedding. They too were asking the same question as you, “Can I really do this?” In this article, I discussed the tools that are used every day in an upholstery shop and how minimal the cost of getting started really is. Most of the tools have not changed over the years and some you may have already. The first must-have tool with the biggest price tag is the pneumatic staple gun and air compressor. These still are not that costly and for less than $300 you can get both and be ready to go. Here is a link to the staple gun and other tools I use and you can purchase them right on Amazon (this is an affiliate link).
I am also a member of the Window Coverings Association of America where I have served on the national board as well as the local chapter board and was recently asked to do a webinar for the WCAA Virtual Chapter discussing the many examples of “light upholstery” items that a drapery workroom can offer their clientele. There are many examples of light upholstery pieces that you can start out with and gradually build up the courage and skill set to tackle much more involved ones if that is what you want to do. For example, dining room chairs, parson’s chairs, wooden armchairs (similar to the Queen Anne Armchair we have on our membership site), ottomans and so many other pieces are very attainable to the beginner upholsterer.
Having been raised as an only child my mother always encouraged me to try things and through her teachings, I developed a “can do” attitude. Just ask my husband and he will warn you NOT to tell me I “CAN’T” do something. I don’t think that word has ever been in my vocabulary and really makes me want to prove that person wrong, I guess you could also call me stubborn and I don’t give up very easily for sure. So I hope that I can entice you to try your hand at upholstery. I wouldn’t suggest starting with a piece that is really special to you but to find a flea market, tag sale, or side the road ugly duckling treasure that you can turn into that beautiful swan!
I can’t wait to see what you do so please share your project with me on our Facebook page! As my husband once said, “there is no fear in trying because you can always do it over if it doesn’t turn out the way you want the first time.” The only thing I caution you on is that will probably be asked by family and friends to do their pieces once they see your new talent.