Upholstery at Eliot School

Learn the art and craft of fine upholstery, working with your own furniture. Practice stripping, spring tie-off, covering, cushions and the use of materials and tools including sewing machines. The class follows an open workshop format; instructors give individual guidance based on student needs. Students often stay for multiple semesters, enjoying the camaraderie of the shop and progressing to more ambitious projects over time.

Please note: Monday morning, Tuesday night and Thursday morning Upholstery classes take place in our basement classroom.

Read Apartment Therapy’s review of this class... and blogs by UrbanSherp, Second Coat Design, The Great Wide Open and Salvage Love. Salvage Love also posted a beautiful photo narrative showing Janine's work restoring a Mid-century Modern bench. Also great: Emily Mahlman's video of Paul DeVito, Jr. spitting tacks.

BEGINNERS PLEASE NOTE: You will be most satisfied if you start small with a dining room chair, footstool or ottoman. An armchair or wing-back chair will take more than one semester to complete. Even smaller pieces may take more than one semester.

INTERMEDIATE STUDENTS: You may prepare for class by stripping your furniture at home. Beginners may wish to strip with supervision of the instructor.

This very popular class fills up quickly. We process registrations on a first–come, first–served basis, and we try to post “FULL” notices as soon as our office staff catches up with registrations that come in outside of office hours. It’s a good idea to include a note in the Comments box of the on–line registration form letting us know which alternate sections you can accept as a second choice.

If classes are full, email to put yourself on a waiting list. New sections open each semester. Add yourself to our email list to receive notice when our new schedules go up on line.

You may also be interested in our Basic Upholstery Workshop, which will give you the skills you need for a head-start on any professional-level upholstering project.

In summer, we offer a Summer Upholstery Intensive – the same as our regular Upholstery class, but all in one week. Leave your work out in the shop and immerse yourself.

Course Number


Class Size


Age Range


Skill Level

All Levels





  • NO LARGE ITEMS (sofa, bed, love seat, chaise lounge)
  • ONLY ONE PIECE AT A TIME per student, as our storage space is limited
  • YOU MUST TAG YOUR FURNITURE with your name, phone number and semester
  • YOU MUST REMOVE YOUR FURNITURE at the end of the semester

Bring to the first class:

  • Your piece of furniture. You may store it here for the semester but you must remove it after that. Beginners will learn to strip furniture in the first class session.
  • Two dropcloths (old bedsheets work well): one to cover work surface, one to cover furniture in storage

Needed after the first class:

Tool Kit

Check with instructor in class before shopping.

  • Measuring tape
  • Good pair of scissors suitable for upholstery-weight fabric
  • Tack and Staple Remover (Tool #121)
  • Tack claw (Osborne # 202)
  • Magnetic hammer (Osborne #222)
  • 10" Upholstery shears (Osborne #684-10)
  • Ripping tool (Osborne #402)
  • Curved needles (Osborne #K-3)
  • Straight-point needles (Osborne # K-5)
  • Upholstery pins (Osborne #190)
  • 6-oz. Upholstery tacks
  • Marking chalk (Osborne #88)

Additional Supplies

The following will be discussed in class:

  • webbing
  • burlap
  • muslin
  • 1” or 4” foam
  • cushion foam
  • cotton batting
  • cambric
  • Italian Ruby twine – 1 lb. spool
  • spring-tying twine
  • spring nails
  • fabric: 5/32” welt

Find out where to buy supplies.

Instructor, Schedule, and Cost


Section 6: 8 classes - Monday & Wednesday, 6:30–9:30pm
6M: Jul 9–Aug 1, 2018
Instructors:Paul DeVitoJohn DeVito