Camping/ DIY/ no sew

How to Reupholster Camper Cushions: A No-Sew Method

How to Reupholster Camper Cushions: A No-Sew Method

An easy NO-SEW way to Reupholster Camper Cushions!  All you need is fabric, hardboard and staples.  You can get this project completed in one day!

When we purchased our new-to-us 2004 Forest River Rockwood Pop Up Camper, we knew right away that we wanted to give it a fresh new look.  The bones of the camper were in excellent shape, all it needed was a coat of fresh paint, some new flooring and nice new cushion coverings.  All fairly simple tasks that we were able to finish casually over a couple of weeks time, and for just a few hundred dollars!

One of the biggest undertakings, aside from painting, was reupholstering the cushions.  This project presented as a challenge to me because I do not sew.  So I had to figure out some way to replace the old patterned cushion fabric, without having to hire someone to do it, and it had to be a no sew project.  Thank goodness for staples!

How to Reupholster Camper Cushions: A No-Sew Method

An Easy No Sew Upholstery Project for your Camper

We decided to reupholster the cushions by reusing the existing foam centres.  We basically just wrapped them half way with new fabric, securing it with staples on to a thin hardboard.  This was a perfect solution for us, and it only took me less than a day to complete them all.  I’m super happy with how they turned out, and don’t regret this project one bit.  These new coverings have given our little camper new life!  Here’s a quick look at how things looked before.  Great shape, just needed some brightening up!

What you need to Reupholster Camper Cushions:

The cushions we had for this camper were in really good shape.  We just didn’t like the pattern on the upholstery so we decided to change the fabric and give our camper a much needed makeover.  Thankfully we were able to use the existing foam inserts so we didn’t need to buy those.  Here are the supplies we did use:

Fabric

We changed the fabric on all of the seating cushions.  For our camper I wanted a durable, easy to clean fabric, but I also didn’t want to spend our entire budget on it.  I searched the upholstery section for fabric because I figured if this type of fabric was durable enough for every day use on couches, it must be durable enough for a camper cushion.  And because I’m cheap, I went right to the discount area to see if there was anything that would work. 😉  I found a light blue velvety textured upholstery fabric meant for couches, which also happened to be deeply discounted at $5 a metre (so $44 total)!  It’s durable, but it’s also easy to clean. I know it’s light in colour, and that may not work for some, but I liked it, the price was right and it seemed easy to clean.  In fact, on our first camping trip last weekend I cleaned off some chili one of the kids had spilled and it came out with no problems so that’s great!  I’m not worried about the colour.

Staples and Staple Gun

I used a heavy duty staple gun for this project.  Make sure you have a lot of staples…it is not fun to run out of staples mid-project.

White Hardboard

We opted to put a hard backing on the back of the cushions, which would also be exposed.  Since we don’t see or use the backs of the cushions anyway, we decided to leave them open.  This backing is great for 2 reasons:  one, it’s the perfect medium to staple the fabric to.  And second, the backing also provides some stability on the cushions which helps them to stand up right nicely, but it also helps to make the beds a little more stable when the cushions are laid out.  We used this 1/8 inch White Hardboard Sheet that we found at our local hardware store.

How to Reupholster Camper Cushions: A No-Sew Method

How to Reupholster Camper Cushions: A No-Sew Method

Cutting the Hardboard

When cutting the hardboard sheets for the backs of each cushion, I made them 1 inch smaller in diameter than the foam.  I did this because you don’t want to see or feel the board on the nice side of the cushion…it should be nicely tucked away.  It’s also much easier to wrap and adhere the fabric on to the board this way.  The board will stay in place if the fabric is pulled taught, and it’s well stapled.  You can see what I mean in the image below…you can see how the foam sticks out from under the hardboard.

How to Reupholster Camper Cushions: A No-Sew Method

How much fabric to use to Reupholster Camper Cushions:

  • When deciding how much fabric you need for the cushions, make sure your calculations include enough fabric so that you are able to wrap it up over the sides of the cushions to the wood backing.
  • I also wanted enough fabric that I could roll over the edges about a 1/2 inch, to make a nice finish.
  • So basically, I tried to make sure my overlaps were about 10 – 12 inches or so.

Stapling on the Fabric

  • When upholstering the cushions start with the long sides first, then do the short sides, and leave the  corners for last.
  • Lay your fabric on a flat surface, with the nice side facing down.
  • Place the foam cushion in the centre of the fabric.
  • Place the wood board on the centre of the foam.
  • Starting with the long side of the cushion, pull the fabric over the side.
  • I wanted nice edges, so I rolled over about a 3/4 inch of the fabric.
  • Staple the fabric about 1 inch from the edge of the wooden backing.
  • I placed a staple every 1 inch or so.  I lined the staples parallel to the edge of the cushion just so it would look nice.
  • Then move to the opposite side of the cushion, pull the fabric tight, then repeat the above.
  • Then move to the other sides.

How to Reupholster Camper Cushions: A No-Sew Method

How to Finish the Corners:

The most difficult part of this project was getting the corners finished.  For these cushions I wanted a tidy, angular corner with one crease. To achieve this look, here is what I did:

  • Flatten out one side of the fabric then, in line with the cushion, fold the excess fabric to create a tidy, straight crease, then staple it in place. Sometimes I used 2 or 3 staples.  Just line the staples up so they look nice.
  • Then fold up the fabric from the other side of the corner, tucking under the excess fabric.  Keep the fold in line with the edge of the cushion as much as you can.  Your goal is to create a tidy straight pleat.  Then staple it in place.
  • Secure with extra staples if needed.
  • Continue on to the rest of the corners.
  • See the image below for guidance.

Tips:  

  • When you start your corners, you may notice that you have a lot of extra fabric, so you may trim it as you see fit, and trim as you go.
  • Once you get going you’ll get the hang of it…trust me!

How to Reupholster Camper Cushions: A No-Sew Method

I was able to get these cushions reupholstered in less than a day.  I just wanted to get them done, so I buckled down and finished them.  And I’m really happy with the way they turned out! They’re not perfect, but honestly, they’re good enough.

How to Reupholster Camper Cushions: A No-Sew Method

If you want to read more about our Pop-Up Camper Makeover, you can visit these posts here!  

Happy Camping!

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Ashleigh
    August 20, 2020 at 5:54 PM

    Wondering if your original upholstery was zip-on covers? I’m looking to reupholster my camper cushions, but they are zip-on and I suck at sewing. Wondering if this will work.

    • Reply
      Jo-Anna Rooney
      August 21, 2020 at 10:28 AM

      Hi Ashleigh! Yes, the original covers were zip on, and I had no trouble with this method…I’m terrible at sewing too hahaha!

  • Reply
    Megan Williams
    August 21, 2020 at 10:09 AM

    Hi! I am wondering, approximately how many yards of fabric did it take for your project? My camper is similarly sized. Also, how well has the remodel held up? Looks great!

    • Reply
      Jo-Anna Rooney
      August 21, 2020 at 10:32 AM

      Hi Megan! I used approximately 10 yards of fabric for this makeover. And they have held up great! We’ve done about 20 days of camping this summer and I don’t have any repairs to make!

  • Reply
    Amber
    September 3, 2020 at 8:53 AM

    What size staples did you use?

    • Reply
      Jo-Anna Rooney
      September 3, 2020 at 9:57 AM

      Hi Amber! I used 1/4″ staples in an Arrow Tack Mate Heavey Duty Tacker (staple gun).

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