How to Stuff a Chair Seat Cushion

There are many ways to stuff a cushion. I stuffed cushions by hand for many years. Some upholsterers have a cushion stuffing machine. Others have a cushion stuffing that uses vacuum. A noiseless "Silk Film" is sold for use with a vacuum Cushion Filling device. It comes 53" wide in a 20 lb. roll (of possible a few thousand yards). Upholstery supplies specifically for wrapping the cushion prior to stuffing it. However, since the roll costs over $120, this video uses a painter's plastic that you can get at your local hardware store.

This video shows you how to stuff a cushion with only using a Shop Vac and some thin plastic. The plastic that I use is a .31 mil painter's plastic that comes in a roll 9 feet wide and 400 feet long. You can also just buy a small package of a painter's drop cloth. The idea is to get as thin of plastic as possible.

You can probably use almost any vacuum that has a suction hose it. However a more powerful vacuum will just do a quicker job of shrinking the cushion.

(Once you start the video playing, you can click the icon in the bottom right corner to make it play full size on your screen)


To stuff the cushion:

  1. Cut a piece of plastic across the roll about 2 feet wider than you cushion width. (The piece of plastic used on the video was about 4 foot x 9 foot.)
  2. Wrap the plastic around the cushion in a big loop from front to back. Make sure that the plastic extends past the cushion to lay flat on the table a few inches all the way around the cushion.
  3. Put the cushion cover on the table in front of the cushion filling.
  4. Put the vacuum head on the foam or filling under that plastic at the back of the cushion.
  5. When you turn on the vacuum all the loose edges of the plastic will be sealed the for force of the suction.
  6. Once the cushion has been compressed to its minimum size, simply slide the cushion into the cushion cover, push it all the way in so that it presses against the front of the cushion. Before turning the vacuum off, align the cushion cover with all the sides.
  7. Turn off the vacuum, as the filling expands, guide the cover to keep the edges aligned with the foam. (If for some reason the cover is lopsided on the foam, just turn the vacuum back on to shrink the foam again. Then readjust the cover and turn the vacuum off again).
  8. When the foam has full expanded inside the cover, reach inside to the front of the cushion and carefully tear the plastic across the front and pull the plastic out of the cover. Again, be careful that you don't mess up the padding inside the cushion as you remove the plastic.
  9. After all the plastic has been removed, check the front of the cushion. If the foam or filling does not fully fill out the front of the cover, pull the cover      to back onto the foam (see video).
  10. Press the foam back into the cover as you zip up the cushion.
  11. Check on all sides of the cushion that the seams and corners are square on the cushion. Adjust if necessary.