A few years ago, I gave my mom a roll of 54″ wide polyester batting for Christmas. For
reasons of practicality and frugality, she only ever purchased the 27″, and I knew it was an indulgence she’d enjoy.
Another year, I found a button press under the tree. My mom happened across one on Ebay and snatched it up – buying second hand means you get a great deal, and lots of extra goodies thrown in (like dies and button parts.) The press lived in my garage for a few years, and now it lives in my shop.
Speaking of my shop, since moving in , I’ve received lots of gifts. Lindsay brought in a giant bottle of GooGone and 10,000 assorted bandaids. Amy donated a cushion stapler and a drop leaf table for our Keurig (which in turn was a gift from Nikki, hooray!) Steve gave us a shop vac, Dean gave us some wood clamps, and Gabe gave us a doorstop.
And no matter what holiday advertisers might tell you, I think every one of these gifts is way more exciting than a diamond pendant.
Personally, I love practical gifts. If you’re a determined Maker, perhaps you do, too. There are so many goodies that can make upholstery easier and more fun – I get lots of questions about tools and products we use at The Funky Little Chair – they can be hard to find if you don’t know where to look. Someday, I’ll get a whole resource guide together, but in the meantime, merry Christmas!
These are a few of my favorite things . . .
C.S. Osborne Staple Lifter
One of the very few tools I keep in stock to sell. Because seriously, if you’re going to reupholster ANYTHING you should have a good staple lifter. We still have too many people using the wrong tools to tear back – it’s inefficient, AND IT’S DANGEROUS
(okay, it’s dangerous anyway, but appropriate tools help)
Porter Cable Pneumatic Staple Gun
This particular staple gun is a solid upholstery choice that doesn’t break the bank – with shipping you can usually snag it for under a hundred bucks. It’s light, easy to use, comes assembled, and shoots all the right staples for upholstery (many pneumatic guns use heavier hardware staples. You want to reupholster the furniture, not blow it to bits.)
For super duper bonus points, pair this gift with an appropriate air compressor, hose, and a box of BEA staples (3/8″ are most versatile).
I’ve never met anyone who regretted buying a good staple gun – it’s like Christmas every day.
Every. Single. Day.
Upholstery is a lot more fun when you’re working at the right height and furniture isn’t falling on your head. There are other solutions out there, but we use very simple, low sawhorses that have a low tray on top to keep furniture legs secure. People ask me where to buy them and the answer is . . . I don’t know?
Because we make them.
The secret is a FULTON SAWHORSE BRACKET – it comes with clear instructions to create a simple sawhorse with a 2×4 or 2×6 top laid flat. You’ll need the lumber and a miter saw. From there, you have to use your own common sense to add a low tray (I like mine upholstered to protect the furniture)
If you’re working in a dual purpose space, like your garage or living room, it’s nice that these sawhorses break down easily for transport or storage.
And note that each package comes with a pair of brackets – for a pair of sawhorse, you need to order two packages!!!!
A C.S. Osborne 60″ Welt Ruler
If you want this one, you’re going to need a wholesale account – I got mine at Fabric Supply in Minneapolis, and it is a deeeeeeeeeelight! It’s just the right width for marking out single welt cord strips. How did I ever live without it? It’s truly a mystery.
There are ever-so-many small delightful gifts for the upholstery shop (like GooGone and BandAids!!) Here are some great choices for under $20 . . . .
C.S.Osborne & Co. Upholstery Regulator
This little tool is designed for regulating cotton and hair through the burlap in traditional upholstery – but it is a handy little bugger in all sorts of situations. I have one very close by (or in my mouth) anytime we’re using hot glue – it’s super slick for tucking in little threads or drips. One of our most popular sellers in the shop 🙂
C. S. Osborne Curved Needles
Hand stitching is considered a premium technique – it’s tedious and tends to yield beautiful results – it also requires very little in the way of equipment, which is super nice if you’re not ready to invest in a billion different tools and supplies. Curved needles come in handy again and again and again – for repairs, finishing touches, or closing entire edges.
I tend to prefer a larger size, but different strokes for different folks – luckily you can get a whole variety pack for under $13, and since they’re C.S. Osborne, you know they’re gonna be good.
Disappearing ink pen
These are a new toy to me – a quilter brought them to class last year. I usually struggle between products that I can see clearly and products I can get rid of, like chalk vs. pencil. To have a clear line that will go away has significantly increased my quality of life. If you aren’t using them yet, you’re going to LOVE them.
Because love your eyeballs – they deserve it.
Education in any field is great – and lots of people already have enough “stuff”
If you know a Maker, they might enjoy a class under the tree . . .
We think in-person, hands-on, is a great way to explore upholstery. Most of our workshops are open format – pick a project you’re excited about, a new skill that scares you, or something you want to understand better. . . And join us for a class!
Here are a few options for 2018:
- WEEKEND WARRIORS: Our most popular format, a quick 12 hours that’s great for new folks or small projects.
- ADVANCED OPEN WEEKEND: Our new 3 day format (we’re trial running just 2 this year!) More hours means more options – dig in on something challenging, something new, something brave!
- THE FUNKY LITTLE CHAIR AT CUSTOM WORKROOM TECH: Can’t make it to St. Paul? Join me in Tryon, North Carolina this March.
And here’s the best part – buy any class on Black Friday or Small Business Saturday and we’ll throw in a free gift!
At checkout, simply type TOOL or BOOK to receive your choice of:
- A C.S. Osborne Staple Lifter (My #1 favorite thing!)
- Singer: Upholstery Basics, Plus signed by the author Steve Cone
(class must be purchased and paid for on 11/24-11/25/17, limit one per customer. Shipping is available for a fee, class may be purchased for self or as a gift, and gift certificates are available)
Oh oh oh! I have so many more favorite things, but let’s keep this post brief . . . Are any of my favorite things also your favorite things? What do you consider indispensable or just plain delightful at the upholstery shop? How do you feel about practical gifts for Christmas???
I’d love to know what you’re hoping to find under the tree – Personally, my foam saw could probably use a new blade . . .
3 thoughts on “These are a few of my favorite things . . .”
What is your location. Where is the nearest airport. I am from Indiana. Do you supply tools iat your workshop? I have taken a few weekend workshops and am interested in your weekend for someone a little more advanced. I have a small settee and would like to recover it at your next workshop. How much do you charge for your advanced three day workshop?
Elaine Powers, Winamac, IN
Hello Elaine! We’d love to see you in one of our advanced weekends 🙂 🙂 The cost is $390, and we do provide tools and basic supplies (generally everything except foam and fabric) We’re in St. Paul, off highway 280 and University Avenue – the closest airport is MSP, probably 15-20 minutes away? Although my sister lives in Carmel, and to be honest, we usually road trip it, because airfare between here and there seems to run high??! Feel free to email me a photo of your settee at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want some thoughts on how to make the most of your hours here! Best, Cynthia
I kept scrolling down to see if there was anything that wasn’t also my favourite !! Lol
My other favourite is a cording foot for my walking foot sewing machine. For a long time I didn’t know about them, and then about 18months ago my eyes were opened! Really gives great results.
I hope you receive what you wish under your Christmas tree.