Fab Fabric: Upholstery Samples

We’re huge fans of second hand fabrics over here. We love scouring thrift stores and estate sales or rifling through rummage bins for fabric remnants that just need a little love to have a whole new life. Whether we’re talking zippers or revamped neckties, there’s nothing like finding something second hand and repurposing it into a fun project.

Upholstery samples are an awesome, free (or very inexpensive) source for high quality fabric. Read on for a project idea and some tips on tracking down your own upholstery samples!

Upholstery Sample Backpack

The other day on Dollar Store Crafts, Heather posted about an awesome backpack using upholstery samples that she made while attending this year’s Summit of Awesome.

The only materials she needed were:

  • Two pieces of sample fabric.
  • Padded fabric for the straps. She used felted sweater material, but anything along those lines would work fine.
  • Four scraps of pleather for the closure. Felt might work well for this, too.
  • Four buttons.

Want to see how she did it? Head on over to Dollar Store Crafts for the complete tutorial!

Sourcing Upholstery Remnants

If you’re lucky enough to have a center for creative reuse in your area, upholstery samples are just the sort of thing they would stock. If not, don’t fret! There are a couple of ways you can track down a supply.

Your local thrift store will sometimes have donated upholstery samples. The one that I frequent usually bags things like that up with other miscellaneous items like sewing notions. If you’re feeling bold, you can even approach interior designers you know or furniture stores to see about taking the samples when they’re done with them. Most places either donate or dumpster them once they stop stocking that fabric, so you should be able to get your hands on them cheaply or even for free!

Have any of you guys sourced upholstery samples for your crafting? Did I miss any resources that have worked for you? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!

[Image Credit: Photos via Dollar Store Crafts. Used with permission.]

Written by Becky Striepe

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .


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  1. Hi Becky,
    I posted about this on my blog and EcoEtsy team’s blog for getting FREE fabric!! Recycling them while getting them for FREE. How great is that?? All the reupholstery shops have sample books that they either donate or throw away (gasp!!). Some stores sell them for $1 or will just hand them over to you. I stopped going to my local store because I was being buried with so many books.

    The tricky part is getting the fabric off from the books. I cut each pieces from the cards and I soaked (be careful if you can wash the fabric in water before trying this) the fabric pieces in cold water overnight and the glue and paper came right off the next day. Dry them on a flat surface and iron if necessary.

    I used them to make utensil holders, flowers, journal covers, and sachets.

    Great post…as usual!!

  2. If you’re in or near the Portland, OR area, look at Trillium Artisans on Foster Blvd. They have bins full of wonderful pieces of sample fabric, sorted by color. It’s just a dollar a pound!

  3. I made many many many rice bags. They are perfect for both hot and cold presentation. WARNING- do NOT use Minute Rice. I also filled a couple with dried chick peas….apparently animal feed is the best choice and cheapest

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