How to make easy vintage trailer dinette cushions

So this is the fabric I picked out for the 1956 Southland Runabout. It’s quite a contrast to the whimsical interior of our 61 Shasta Compact, but I really feel this vintage trailer commands a more toned down feel especially because of the darker wood interior. So this is what I decided on. I hope you like it!

Here is the finished cushions.

Ok, now on to how I made them. Please excuse my messy garage! When I work out there I tend to have everything spread all over the place (:

Before you start you’ll need to measure the length and width that each cushion will need to be when finished. Don’t assume that each space where the cushions fit in your dinette will be exactly the same, mine were not and slightly different measurements were required.

SUPPLIES:

1. 1/4 inch sheet of plywood. Enough to serve as backings for each cushion.

2. 5 inch foam. I found mine at JoAnn fabrics and I bought two full pieces.

3. Fabric of your choice. For my dinette cushions I had appx 1 1/2 yards for each cushion. 1 yard is probably enough for the seat back cushion.

4. A bag of polyester batting.

5. Staple gun & staples

6. Circular saw

7. Scissors

8. Electric knife (like the kind for cutting a turkey)

GETTING STARTED

The first thing you want to do once you have all your measurements is cut your plywood. I recommend cutting it 1 -2 inch shorter on the length and width of your original measurements. Cut your foam at the exact measurements using your electric knife.

STEP ONE:

Lay your foam on top of your piece of wood. Cut and wrap a layer of batting over the top of the foam. It doesn’t need to go all the way around, just over the top and sides. The batting just helps to soften the square edges and gives it a bit more cushion.

STEP TWO:

Lay your fabric over the top of the batting. Make sure it’s even and there is enough hanging over length wise to wrap around onto the wood. Next, flip the entire thing over so that the wood side is facing up. Fold over about 1 inch of your fabric and start stapling it to the wood. Space the staples about 3 inches apart.

STEPĀ  THREE:

Once you have the one side stapled, turn it around and start on the other side. Now, on this side it’s important to pull the fabric as tight as you can before you staple it.

STEP FOUR:

Now we want to work on the shorter sides. To do this think of how you wrap a Christmas gift. Fold the fabric in such a way like wrapping a gift and fold over 1 inch and staple it on top. Repeat this for the other side but remember on this side pull it as tight as you can before stapling it. If you want your edges to be as clean as possible you fold them in such a way where the fabric is square against the corners.

VOILA! You are done! See how easy that is? In the future if you need to replace your fabric or just want to in order to go with a different color scheme, all you need to do is simply staple new fabric right over the current fabric! Super easy-peazy!

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Comments

  1. That looks so great. I wish I would have done that when I made my cushions. I went to the trouble (and expense) of sewing fully covered vinyl cushions. I pushed my sewing skills to the limit and will never do that again. I like the way they look, but sewing them was terrible. Yours is super cute and I love that it will be easier to change out your decor. Also, I love your new trailer! Can’t wait to see all you do with it!

    • A friend of mine suggested this method and I have to say thank goodness she did! I can sew but certainly wasn’t feeling confident enough to do cushions, so this method was perfect and so much less time consuming. I agree that the ease of changing decor is a huge plus too.

  2. Thanks so much for the fabulous ideas, we”ll be usein” your knowledge and advice 4 sure ^_^

  3. beautiful, you make it look so easy

  4. Thank you all. Glad you like them. Feel free to share the link with anyone who might benefit from making them with this method. I think you really can achieve even nicer results than I did if you square off the corners better and it goes so much quicker than trying to sew them.

  5. Thanks for sharing your step by step instructions!!

    I told my girlfriend that I was going to cover my cushions like a christmas package and she said she didn’t think it would work – can’t wait to show her what you did!!! Exactly what I was thinking of doing!!

    Thanks for the hint about cutting the wood slightly smaller – may not have thought of that and would have been bummed when I went to sit down and felt the plywood!

    Awesome!!

    Still haven’t seen where you mention how much you paid for the trailer. Care to share – always nice to know what the prices are like out there for comparison.

    Thanks!!
    gayle

  6. Carolyn in Salt Lake City says:

    Kelle, you are amazing! There’s no grass growing under your feet. I’m still deciding what is the first thing to do on my little trailer, and you’ve already got your color scheme and cushions made. Guess I’d better make a decision and get moving. I’m thinking work on the top and drip rail so she is secure and watertight. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Blessings, Carolyn

  7. I am currently making new covers for my cushions as well. i am using the demo from designsponge. your way looks way easier, but i think that i am going to still make them the other way. i am a sewaholic and feel like i need to have piping and zippers and probably a major head-ache;) yours looks great and i look forward to seeing your trailer develop.

  8. Casey from Colorado says:

    You are a life saver!!! I just priced out recovering my camper cushions, and was quoted just under $500 for 6 cushions! So I am on the hunt for some foam and an electric knife!!
    LOVE your web page…LOVE!

    • Casey, that is awesome! I’m all for saving money and covering mine was a fraction of that cost. The biggest cost was actually the foam even at 50% off at JoAnn Fabrics. But it’s still a lot cheaper than having it professionally done. I’m sure your cushions will turn out great! Oh and glad you are enjoying the site (:

  9. They came out GREAT, Kelle. I love how the tones in the fabric compliment the wood. I can’t wait to see the results.

  10. Thanks for this
    I just redid my vintage trailer seats last night, but I found some awesome sheets that I used and one queen size flat sheet did all 4 cusions.

  11. Stephanie Poree says:

    do you happen to have the step by steps for the compact cushions regarding size, etc?

  12. This has saved my life! Thank you so much, this is a brilliant idea! I’m curious what kind of fabric you used, ws it like normal fabric or was it upholstery fabric? thank you so much!

  13. Hi there, sadly, the photos seem broken, which is a shame, as I need to make cushions soon! Any chance the pics can be restored?

    Thanks!
    PS I am looking to acquire a 50′s Bellwood soon.

    • Lorena, I can see them in both IE, Firefox and Google Chrome. Maybe try a different browser?

      • Pics are fine now…don’t know why they were showing broken that day. BTW, I did get that Bellwood after all, I think you know that! OMG, what a resto job this is going to be.

  14. THANK YOU so much for posting this! I’m going to try it! I bought a 1987 27′ trailer last fall ` everything is brown dark brown! Eeek! And the lovely cushions, gross! Anyhoo, I have my fabric picked out for my dinet cushions. My problem I have now, what can I do with my couch in there? These cushions don’t come off for me to redo? Anyone have any recommendations on what I can do ‘update’ them without it looking like a messy sheet laid over top of it? I welcome any and all suggestions! HELP! :)

    • marvina bigby says:

      I saw a chair that was redone with paint hard to believe but they showed the before and after and it was gorgeous they painted over the old fabric which was in great shape just dated color.they said they used anne sloan chalk paint then let it dry and used some kind of wax on top and it feels like leather the soft kind I saw it on a sight called funky junk .I am going to do an old chair first then my camper sofa I need to learn more about the wax they use.

  15. Thank you so much for this posting. We just purchased a new/used trailer and It definitely needs new cushions. Was going to have them professionally done, but after seeing this post, I will be using my own material and doing it myself (DIY to the rescue!). Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    Carol

  16. Love it !!!!!!!!! We are going to start the cushions on our 64 oasis, I will take pictures before and after to share.. Thank you.

  17. I have small children and they have ruined the factory cushions. I’m trying to figure out the best, inexpensive fabric choice to try this technique. Any suggestions?

    • I would suggest seeing if you find something you like at JoAnne’s Fabric where you can use the 40% off coupon. Another suggestion is watch estate sales as I’ve seen rolls of upholstery fabric for sale at those in the past.

    • Valerie, I was considering using painter’s canvas in some cases. The kind you put down for a drop cloth. Not cozy, but definitely durable…

  18. Wow, you did a great job on those and it is so much better to do it yourself than having to pay someone else an arm and a leg to do it for you. Love your site.

  19. Valerie, I am redoing my cushions and am using painter’s cloth. Harbor Freight has it cheap. I have dogs and don’t want expensive fabric and painter’s cloth washes nicely. I bought 4′ x 12′ panels for all of my windows for winter. They already have the edges seamed so all I had to do was wash, dry and hang with those rings clips. I love the oatmeal color and it helps to keep the cold out. I am actually sewing and putting zippers in mine so I can wash them. I love a challenge and have done this many years ago on another trailer. Hope this helps.

    4 x 12 ft panels were $7.49 and I bought several bigger ones 12 x 15 or so for $15.49 ea.

  20. Hi there. This post looks great and simple but the only question I have is are the backs and seat part of the cushions attached or are they actually 2 seperate pieces per bench? Thanks in advance. :)

  21. Thank goodness for Pinterest and your post! I literally just measured my horse trailer/camper cushions yesterday and was agonizing over making new covers and having to special order zippers that long if I couldn’t manage to get the old ones out to re-use. This will work perfectly for the bench-couch and then I can next tackle the ones in the motocross trailer! Thank you!

  22. Hi Kelle, I am curious to know now that it’s been a few years, how did this hold up to use? And is there anything you would do different? This looks like the answer I’ve been waiting for to re-upholster our dinette cushions! They are currently cream, brown and orange (trailer is from ’87). While not horrid, a change to personalize them would be nice. Thanks!!

    • They hold up fine as long as you are using a good quality upholstery fabric. The nice thing is you can take it off and wash it easily also.

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