Upholstery Class #2 – Stapling Muslin to Frame

17 Feb

Hello there! It’s been quite a while since my last post. Busy with the holidays and my Mexico 2011 Vacation, which I plan to post pictures of soon. Now that things have quieted down a bit, I’m going to be finishing up the instructions for Upholstering an Ottoman and trying to create new posts more often.

The next thing we are going to do after knotting and tying the Italian Binding to the coils, is attaching the Muslin to the open spaces on the ottoman frame. Our frame is made of a square with pine and plywood. The sides that connect the top to the bottom are made of plywood and the top and bottom portions are pine. Look at the following picture:


1. Not all sides of the ottoman frame are equal. The front and back opening is a different size then the left and right opening. Cut a piece of muslin a little larger than the opening of the front and back opening and the left and right opening.

2. Staple the muslin to the frame by stapling the approximate edge of the muslin, to the edge of the opening, in the top center. Then do this again on the bottom opening, in the center. Then on the left side and the right side, in the center. *When stapling to plywood, the staples must be on an angle since the plywood is not as strong and the staples are harder to pull on an angle.

3. Stretch out the corners and staple across to the center staple. Do this to all sides.

4. If the bottom or top, left or right, have any extra muslin, pull over existing muslin and staple again, this time with fewer staples. Once the muslin is stapled back, you can cut off an extra muslin so that there is no leftover sides hanging.




Now you should have all (4) sides of stapled muslin to the openings of the frame. (Ignore the 4th pictures’ burlap – that’s the next step!) 

– Paco Productions LTD




Upholstery Class #1 – Knotting Coils Together for Correct Movement

5 Dec

The next task we will be doing is knotting the second string of Italian Binding from the frame to the coils, and to the frame again. This is because we want the coils to move as one unit when weight is placed on the ottoman. In order to make this happen, we tie and knot
the coils together. We will be knotting the string around the coils using the longer string. This time it will be done in a different manner: Back – Back Top Spring, Back – Front Top Spring, Front – Back Top Spring, and Front – Front Top Spring.

Instead of tying the string to the coil, we will be creating knots. In addition, we don’t want to be pulling the string too taunt as we did before, we just want to secure the coils in place. This is because we don’t want to change the height placement of the coil springs. Since we
are making a dome shape for the top of the ottoman, the center coil needs to be slightly higher than the coils on the sides. The height measurements for this specific ottoman need to be: Side coils – 3 ½” and the Middle Coil – Just under 4”.

With the (2) tacks hammered in place above and below each coil spring on the frame (see last post)…

1. With the right hand holding the spring and coil in place, pull the string over top coil spring and then under top coil spring( 1rst wrap) with your left hand. Move your fingers/hand to the end of the string and place string over, or on top of the first wrap/knot that you just made, then pull string through the middle, to the right.

2. With both right fingers still holding the right string and coil, lift the bottom, right thumb that is holding string to coil and pull the string with the left-hand, for tension. Then pull knot through tightly and quickly.

3. The next knot will be tied in the same method, but this time we will be knotting around the existing knot/string already in place from the previous post. In the last post, we tied the strings together from Back – Back Second to Top Spring, Back – Front Top Spring, to Front – Back Top Spring, to Front – Front Second to Top Spring. The knot we made in step #1 was on the top coil spring, so there was no knot there, but this second knot already has a knot there. (Back-Front Top Spring) Re-do steps # 1 and #2, but when pulling the string over and then under coil, go over the existing knot. And when placing the string over, on top of the first wrap/knot that you just made, pull the string through the middle and in-between the newly wrapped string and the existing string that was already tied there.

4. You will then perform step #3 again to the Front – Back Top
Spring and perform step # 1 and #2 again to the Front – Front Top Spring.

5.Then, like Step #7 in the previous post, we will take the end of
the string and wrap it around the additional bottom left tack  (remember the
additional tack that was left there?  – This string is what is was for!); Wrap under the bottom of the tack and over the top, making sure the Italian Binding is tightly under the tack beginning. Hammer in the tack so the Italian Binding is tightly under the tack.

All the strings should now be wrapped and hammered underneath the tacks. Cut off the extra strings hanging from the tacks. You should cut the strings and leave about 41/2” of string leftover. Wrap the leftover strings around one of the sewed Italian Binding, underneath the webbing 2-3 times, and then make a knot. Do this for all three leftover strings. We are now done with Class #1 and tying/knotting the strings to the frame.  Yay!


Epson Salt Candles

3 Nov

Greetings! I’m in the process of perfecting the next Upholstery post, but in the meantime I wanted to share a great DIY decoration idea for the holidays; Epson Salt Candles from Crafts by Amanda. They are so pretty and only require the following things:

empty jars
epsom salts
blue and green food coloring
paper plates
3 bowls
Mod Podge
Clear gloss sealer

Click on her site for the instructions and other cool Holiday decorations. http://craftsbyamanda.com/2010/12/epsom-salt-luminaries-some-winter.html. Will post next Upholstery step soon!

– Paco Productions LTD

Upholstery Class #1 – Tying Coil Springs to Frame

25 Oct

Like the previous post, this one is going to be a little tricky for me to explain as well. It involves a lot of tying with Italian Binding, which becomes difficult to explain. I have some pictures but not of me actually performing the tying/wrapping in the moment, just the befores and afters.
1. With the frame facing this way, take your tacking hammer and tacks, and hammer in two tacks on the frame above and below each coil spring, place on angle outwards and leave approximately 1 cm in space between each tack.

This Picture shows Tack Placement on the left and right side of picture.

2. Using Italian Binding, make one end longer than the other, make a loop, and then pull top of loop down towards you, to create “rabbit ears”.

This Picture shows Rabbit Ears

3. Put both loops around the tacks on the top of the frame and hammer tacks down, on angle, so binding is tight.

4. What we will do next is tie the Italian Binding from the top tacks, to the back coil, to the front coil, to the bottom tacks. Before you tie the binding to the coils, you must know the rules. (They will be explained later, but for now, review the following list):

• Right-sided string on right-sided tack rolls to the left
• Left-side string on left-sided tack rolls to the right
• Coil tying placement goes like this: Back 2nd to top Spring, Back Top Spring, Front Top Spring, Front 2nd to top Spring
• There are three rows of coils, the left, the middle, and the right.

5.    Using the shorter string from the two strings, and using either the left coil row or right coil row, pull the end of the string from under top spiral and pull over the 2nd to top Spring. If you are using the right string (because that is the shorter string), you are to “roll” or “wrap” the string to the left. If you are using the left string (because that is the shorter string), you are to “roll” or “wrap” the string to the right. Remember to pull the string taunt with the right hand, while you are rolling with your left hand.

6.    Repeat the same action to the Back Top Spring, then to the Front Top Spring, and then to the Front 2nd to top Spring.

7.    Take the end of the string and wrap it around the bottom tack; if you used the right string, wrap it around the right tack. If you used the left string, wrap it around the left tack. Wrap it as follows: Wrap under the bottom of the tack and over the top. Hammer in the tack, making sure the Italian Binding is tightly under the tack. Hammer in another tack, to the left or to the right of the tack you just wrapped, depending on which string you used – left or right-  and wrap the string under and then over the tack, creating Rabbit Ears similar to the beginning. Hammer in the tack so the Italian Binding is tightly under the tack. You may ask yourself, “Why are we hammering in an additional tack if one is already there?”. Well the answer is that the additional tack that is already there will be used for the other string.

The Picture shows the proper string wrapping on the bottom tacks

8.    Steps 2 – 7 should be performed on the other coil row. Meaning, if you tied the coil spring on the right coil row, then do these steps on the left coil row.

9.    Leave the other string (the longer string) alone. We will be tying this string to the coils as well but in a different fashion. In addition, leave the middle coil alone as well, as this will be tied differently as well.

In my next post, we will be tying and knotting the other string to the coils and be finished with the coils, yeah!

– Paco Productions LTD

Upholstery Class #1 – Inserting and Tying in Coils

20 Oct


I’ve been putting off this post for awhile because I don’t know the best way to tackle it. The next steps are very detailed and I will need to provide another diagram again along with my instructions. I hope my instructions are easy to understand. If not, send me a message and I’ll try to explain more thoroughly. Here goes…

We left off, in the last post, completing the webbing of the frame. Once all the webbing is completed, you should have about an 1/2″ in webbing leftover on each webbing strip. Fold each leftover webbing over, onto the frame and staple 5-6 staples to hold in place. Use the tacking hammer to hammer in the staples a little more for security.

Now begins the coil installation. Flip ottoman frame over so the webbed part of the frame is on the top. Using (5) coil springs with 3 spirals each, take a look at each spring. There will be  a ‘knot’ at one end of the spiral. The coil must be install with the knot on top, not on the bottom. When placing the coil springs into place, the knots cannot be a 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 9 o’clock, or 12 o’clock. The bottom spiral of the coil needs to be the same distance from each side of the frame. For example, if the frame is square like the ottoman and you are installing (5) coil springs ((1) in the center and (4) on each corner of the frame), the bottom right coil’s bottom spiral needs to be the same distance from the right- righthand side of the frame and the bottom-righthand side of the frame.  The coils cannot touch the brackets in each corner. (See following diagram attached)

Location of Springs

After reviewing the diagram link above, you can see the location of the springs. To accurately install them, do the following:

1. With your first spring and a back magic marker, place the spring in the front, righthand corner making sure the placement is correct as per the information above. Trace the bottom spiral with the magic marker on the webbing. Also, mark the line where the bottom spiral ends as well. Do this with all (5) coils. The 2nd spring is located on the back, righthand corner. The 3rd spring is located in the back, lefthand corner and the 4th spring is located on the front, lefthand corner. The 5th coil is placed in the center with the knot facing coil #3. ( I forgot to add #5’s knot to the diagram, oops!)

2. Now that the coil placement has been planned and outlined, we can finally sew them in permanently! (Yeah!!!) But before we do that, we need to plan out and outline where our stitch will be placed and sewn into! (No!!!boooo….) The bottom spiral of each coil is the the part of the coil that gets stitched into the webbing. It gets stitched to the webbing at 3 locations. Since the 3rd stitch needs to be closest to the next coil spring, you need to work backwards with marking the placement of the stitch. (See following diagram attached)

How to Determine Stitch Placement

3. Starting with #1 Coil, make a mark of each stitch with a permanent marker. Do the same for #2 Coil, #3 Coil, #4 Coil, and #5 Coil. (See following diagram attached)

Final Stitch Placement

4. Now we can finally sew the coils in permanently! Using your curved hand sewing needle, thread the needle with Upholstery Thread. Cut thread from spool, knot one end, and make sure that one end is longer than the other. Start with the shorter string and the #1 Coil, stitch the 1st stitch, then the second, then the third. Then move to the #2 Coil. This is why the 3rd stitch from the #1 Coil needs to be near the 1st stitch from the #2 Coil. Keep going until your at the 3rd stitch on the #5 Coil.

5. Flip ottoman over. Starting with the first stitch, pull each thread tight to take slack out. Do this with each stitch until you’re at the end of the, pull tight. Take the end of the thread and stitching needle and pull under closest seam three times. This will create a knot. (See following diagram attached)



Cut off the leftover string, leaving approximately 3 inches, similar to picture on the right. You are now complete with  coil installation. Whew! Up next…Tying the coils to the frame!

– Paco Productions LTD

Upholstery Class #1 – Stapling the Webbing

11 Oct

Hello! How was your long weekend? Mine was great, I got a lot of work done with my chair and it’s almost finished and ready to post, just have a few odds and ends left! Following up in regards to my previous Upholstery blogs, we are now ready to get into the thick of things.

1. With the ottoman frame in front of you, mark the center of the bottom – front and back – wood piece, with a pencil or permanent marker. Use your ruler! For example, if the wood frame length is 15″, make a mark at 7.5″.

2. Cut a small piece of the webbing strip.  Put the small piece of webbing strip on the center mark, in the center, and make a mark at either side of the small webbing strip.

3. Using the small piece of webbing strip, make (2) additional webbing strip markings to the left and to the right of of either side of the center webbing strip marking. Make sure that there is equal spacing between the webbing strip marking and the empty space to the left and to the right of it. (See picture diagram if confused!) There should be now (3) markings for webbing strips with equal spacing in between each webbing strip.

4. Once markings are in place, pull your webbing end furthest from the roll and staple to frame on angle in between the markings you made. Staple 10 to 12 times. Leave about a 1/2″ of webbing at end before stapling.

5. Turn ottoman around and pull the webbing through the frame to the other side. Using your gooseneck webbing stretcher, place it on a 45 degree angle against the bottom wood piece. Lay webbing over top of gooseneck webbing stretcher and pull stretcher down with left hand. Right hand should be free for when you’re ready to staple.***Make sure while pulling stretcher down, you put pressure and hold frame down with left-shoulder as well. Webbing should be in place, super tight, it should not look/feel as loose as a hammock.

6. While putting pressure on frame and pulling webbing down with gooseneck stretcher, and when you feel that the webbing is at its tightest, staple 10 – 12 staples into the frame on angle with the right hand. Leave about a 1/2″ of webbing at end and cut.

7. Do #4-6 for the other (2) markings.

8. Using the same measuring method and instructions from #1, perform the same exact task on the opposite sides of the bottom frame (left and right wood pieces). However, this time only make (2) markings.

9. Pull webbing end and staple to frame on angle between markings, leaving about a 1/2″ of webbing before the staples. Staple 10 – 12 times. (This is the same instruction as #4)

10. Turn the ottoman around and pull the webbing through by WEAVING the webbing inbetween the opposite, existing webbing already in place.

11. Do #5 and 6. Then do the exact same thing for the second marking.

12. Cut off webbing from roll, leaving about 1/2″ of webbing at end. At this point, webbing process should be complete.

Ottoman Diagram #1 – Click on this link to view the diagram of instructions

Upholstery Class 1 – Determining Spring Action

9 Oct

An important part of re-upholstering an old chair or bench is to determine the type of coils used in the construction of the piece. Most of the time, you want to re-upholster the piece with the same type of upholstery coils that were originally used. There are three types of spring coils used in upholstery. You can determine the type of coils used in a piece by feeling the bottom of the frame. If you feel the coils on the bottom, then Coil Springs were used. If you do not feel coils on the bottom, then either Zig Zag Coils or Elastic Webbing was used, since they are attached to the top of the frame. The following are the types and their characteristics:

1) Coil Springs

 – Lasts approximately 15 years, the longest of all types of springs

– Works with jute webbing, gets attached to bottom of frame

– Will need to strip entire piece of furniture to frame, in order to reupholster

– Usually webbing starts to stretch out on the bottom and hangs out, springs are then pulled, stretched, and wear down



2) Zig Zag Coils

– Lasts approximately 7 years

– Zig Zag Coils are attached to top of frame, can usually feel from top of seat

– Zig Zag Coils are attached to frame using a EK Clip, usually the clip pulls from the frame

– Zig Zag Coils and EK Clips are usually used in cheap furniture frames, such as plywood and doesn’t hold very well


3) Elastic Webbing

– Last approximately 3 – 5 years

– Attached to top of frame, can usually feel from top of seat

– Found in cheap European/ rip-off furniture and furniture found in Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, Williams and Sonoma, etc.


As you can see, if you want to make and upholster a piece of furniture from scratch, you want to use Coils Springs. If you find a piece of furniture with Coil Springs, it’s probably built well and the better option to reupholster.  Of course, if you find a piece with Zig Zag Coils, you want to reupholster the piece using new Zig Zag Coils.