If you like the look of cowhide furniture, but worry about the cost, consider making it yourself. DIY cowhide furniture can be a lot of fun and less expensive than buying it at the furniture store. And there are a lot of fun options you can choose from, everything from kitchen chairs to couches.
For the best results though you should be someone who is quite handy and loves to do DIY projects. If you tend to be all thumbs when you are working with your hands, you might want to get some extra support for this project.
Here are 5 tips for cowhide furniture:
Decide on the Type of Furniture
The size and style of the piece of furniture you select is a big factor in how doable a DIY cowhide furniture project is. If you are newer to upholstering then starting smaller might be the best option. Maybe start with dining room chairs where you just need to update the cushions. However if you are an old pro at this type of stuff, then don’t be afraid to go for reading chair or a couch which require more detailed work.
It will also depend on how you feel about decorating with cowhide. If you tend to go with a more neutral palette when decorating then to ease into it, you might want to start with something more subtle like just one chair with a cowhide cushion.
Choose the Right Cowhide
A big part of your decision will be getting the highest quality cowhide and the right pattern for the look you are going for. Luckily cowhide comes in a lot of different colors and patterns. There is so much more than just simple black and white or brown and white. You can choose cowhide that is all white, speckled or even brindle colored.
If you choose to get your cowhide from a rug, then you have a lot more options as well because you can get rugs with dyed and stenciled cowhide. Cowhide patchwork rugs are also real popular and can give your furniture a more subtle look. It allows you to add a little bit of the cowhide element without it being overwhelming. If you are conflicted about cowhide, this can be a good compromise.
For the best quality cowhide, shop around for cowhide products that use Brazilian or Argentinian cowhide. They are known for the best in the industry.
Also it is important to get the right size cowhide. This is because each cowhide is unique and so it will be really difficult to try to match up different hides together to make up the upholstery. Unless a mixed pattern is what you are going for, of course.
Get the Right Tools
For chairs or couches, typically the cowhide works best as the upholstery. If you have an old chair or couch that you’d like to update with cowhide, here are some of the supplies you should make sure you have on hand before getting started:
- Upholstery staple remover
- Foam in the specific measurement you need for your piece of furniture
- Quilt batting
- A tack remover
- A carving knife
- Hot glue gun
- Staple Gun
Take It Step by Step
Depending on the type of furniture you are reupholstering with cowhide, the steps you will take may vary a little, but here are some basic steps to follow:
- Make a template of what you will need. First remove the old upholstery using an upholstery staple remover and a tack remover. Then once it is off, trace it on paper or cardboard, depending on what size you need.
- Use your new template to cut foam to size to use for the cushions. If it is still in good shape, feel free to use the original foam in the piece of furniture, but if you have any concerns about wear and tear then opt for purchasing some fresh foam. To making the cutting up of the upholstery foam as easy as possible, use an upholstery knife.
- Next wrap the foam in the quilt batting. Just one layer should do it and then secure it using the hot glue gun.
- Now it is time for the cowhide. Again use your template. This time to cut the cowhide leather to size. Cut enough for all upholstery whether it just the cushions or if you need it for the chair or couch backing too. Simple, but sharp scissors can easily do the job for you, but if the leather is too thick then use the upholstery knife.
- Iron the cowhide before you attach it to the furniture. Sometimes the cowhide can get a little bit wrinkly so make sure you take care of that before the final upholstering. Putting a wet cloth between the hide and the iron will give you the best results.
- Use a staple gun to add the new cowhide upholstery. To get the most stretch in your cowhide, try using the iron to heat it up right before you attach it. This step takes the most patience so just take your time to make sure you get a smooth finished piece of furniture.
Don’t Rush It
The most important thing to consider when taking up a DIY project like this is allotting the right amount of free time for you to work on it. If you are trying to rush through this because of a deadline or because you are juggling so many other things to do that day, then you will become stressed and be more likely to make mistakes. And this will only increase your frustration and make everything take even longer.
Other helpful tips to remember include being prepared for a mess when working with cowhide. Some of the fur will fall off as you are cutting the cowhide so make sure you have laid out protection for your floors and furniture and even your clothes before you start working. Also if you don’t want the staples or nails to be visible in the upholstery, then consider covering them up with another piece of cowhide which you can attach with hot glue.
Follow these tips and you will be ready to go. Now’s let’s create something fun and stylish!