Thursday, March 5, 2009

How-to: Get More Out of Upholstery Samples

I love recycling/upcycling upholstery samples but I hate wasting the edges because of the inch or more strips of paper glued to them! Well, it really all depends on the type of glue used. Usually the samples are glued with a non-water-soluble glue, but sometimes you get lucky and the glue is either old or water-soluble. It doesn't hurt to test a piece since you could possible gain inches more on those precious samples!

You can try:

Dampening the paper edge - If it is water-soluble glue, or the glue is old and crumbly, the paper will slide right off. Test on your least favor sample. Use a wet sponge to saturate the paper, but not to the point of dripping wet. Let it sit for a minute or so and then see if the paper will slide or peel off easily. If it does you've got it easy! Dampen and slide/peel away all the paper. Wipe off excess glue left on the fabric with clean sponge. Let it dry flat on newspaper or something you would mind getting color on. Upholstery fabric is usually not color fast.

Steam iron - Use a steam iron on the highest setting you feel safe with. Be careful! I'm not responsible for you getting steam burns or burning the fabric. If you have those handy dandy heat resistant gloves or finger covers now is the time to use them. Place some paper towel, brown paper or an old rag between your upholstery sample and the ironing board. A lot of steam can make the dyes run and stain your ironing board. Steam the paper, in effect melting the glue, and quickly and carefully peel away the paper. I suggest working in small sections because you want to try and get all of the paper off in one go. If little bits are left they will be very hard to get off later. Little bits of paper will have to be scrubbed or picked off, you don't want to gum up your iron, but this could damage the fabric so be patient (not so easy for me!).

Soak & scrub - I have not tried this but I know others have used this method on the tougher glues. Again use your least favorite sample so you're not up set if the color runs or there is any sort of damage to the fabric. Soak the piece of fabric in a bit of cold water in the sink. I've seen that a couple drops of dish soap or detergent will help the process. Then scrub in small circles using an old toothbrush or something similar.

I personally would only use the "soak & scrub" as a last resort since you don't know how the fabric will react and if it's a delicate fabric like a velvet or chenille it could be shredded by the scrubbing. The least amount of distress to the fabric the better! Unless of course that's the look you're going for ;)


Blog Widget by LinkWithin