Natural Upholstery Resources for Makers

START HERE if you’re looking for healthy, non-toxic materials to use in your DIY upholstery project. Using natural latex foam & wool batting in place of urethane foam & polyester batting is an easy transition to make once you’re familiar with the differences. No special expertise is necessary to work with them. More and more upholstery artisans and DIYers are finding them delightful to work with. I personally love ‘that healthy feeling’ of knowing I’m not touching or breathing in unwanted chemicals, not to mention the soft feel of natural wool’s lanolin that’s nice for your skin! Check out the ‘Upholsterer’s Guide to Natural Materials’ which includes a free download that you can fill out to determine how much of each material you need.

How much does it cost?

See this post to see four examples of natural upholstery projects, detailing the cost of materials only.

Natural Upholstery materials list

Here are the Natural Upholstery foundation materials you may work with (see details of each below). I recommend GOLS or GOTS certified Organic:

  1. 100% Natural Latex Foam (look for custom cut or buy in mattress size and cut yourself)
  2. Premium Wool Batting (88″ wide by the yard, or quilt batt size)
  3. Organic Cotton Ticking Fabric (54″ wide and up)
  4. Organic Cotton Batting (27-88″ wide)

We regret that due to supplier changes and transitions within the business, we have recently discontinued sales of materials, and will be focusing on the education side of upholstery and natural materials.

Here are the ‘conventional’ materials they replace:

(see below for a detailed break-out of resources to learn more about each material)

  1. Natural latex foam – replaces urethane foam
  2. Wool batting – replaces polyester batting
  3. Organic cotton ticking fabric – replaces conventional (non-organic) cotton ticking fabric
  4. Organic cotton batting – replaces conventional (non-organic) cotton upholstery batting

Working with natural upholstery materials – learning resources:

100% Natural Dunlop Latex Foam – replaces urethane foam

Premium Wool Batting – replaces polyester batting

Organic Cotton Ticking Fabric – replaces ‘conventional’ cotton ticking fabric

  • Similar in function to down-proof ticking in conventional upholstery (see photo here).
  • Ticking is required to prevent the ‘barbed’ wool fibers from migrating through a woven upholstery cover fabric (it’s not necessary with leather, non-wovens, or fabrics with a coating on the back).
  • Use only where wool batting comes in contact with cover fabric. See ‘What is ticking fabric and why do I need it?
  • There are two application options for cushions: (1) sew as separate cushion cover or (2) cut as a second layer along with cover fabric and treat both layers as one during construction. If you are constructing a separate cushion cover, it is recommended that the cover be slightly larger (about 1/2″ in each dimension) than the outer cushion cover, to allow the inner cushion to fill out the cushion and into the corners.
  • In general, the recommendation is to purchase the same amount of a 54+ inch wide ticking fabric as 54-inch upholstery cover fabric for your project (this assumes you are using wool batting in place of polyester batting over the entire upholstered piece).

Organic Cotton Batting – replaces ‘conventional’ cotton upholstery batting

  • NOT for cushion wrap (except in some antique applications). Recommended as a replacement in some inner seat layer applications where ‘conventional’ cotton upholstery batting is used. See example photo here.
  • Used mainly as an upholstery foundation layer in ‘tight’ upholstery (upholstery that is attached to the frame).
  • A note about cotton upholstery batting if you’re not familiar with standard upholstery practices: this batting is for foundation use (around springs, over arms, etc), and is NOT commonly used as a cushion wrap. Be sure you don’t confuse the lightweight (wool or polyester) cushion-wrap batting with this heavier cotton batting. In most cases you won’t be using this batting for cushions (except in some antique cushions that use marshall springs). It is most often used in the base layers to create a dense padding, and to shape seats or backs around coil springs.

 

for more info, check out our FAQs. If you still have questions after you’ve read this, contact me, and I will do my best to answer your questions.