Upholstery Paddings


Note, we do sell this paddings. This page is merely here to give you a picture and a description of these items.

Modern Upholstery Paddings



Upholstery cotton comes in rolls of about 27" wide, about 1" thick, about 1 yard per pound, 18 to 22 pounds per roll.

Upholstery cotton is generally available in several grades, such as those listed below. (The actual grades available may very with each supplier):

Rating  Blend  Description*
Good 10/90 Blend of first cuts and picker/binder cotton
Better 30/70  Blend of first cuts, gen flues, and binder
Best 50/50  Blend of first cuts, #1 staple, and polyester

*Blend and description information taken from the Hoch & Selby supply catalog. Blends and descriptions from other sources may vary.




Dacron Polyester


Dacron is generally used as a wrap to go around foam, as shown below. 










Here is a polyfoam cushion that has been wrapped with the above Dacron Polyester.









Latex Foam

Latex Foam












We have worked in the following types of wool padding. Generally, when a client wants wool padding, they want natural upholstery paddings (otherwise known as green upholstery paddings). If this is the case, if you are using wool to pad the furniture, then you would use the wool pad as the under (base) padding, with the wool roll as the top padding.

Wool Pad

This wool pad is very dense, well suited for the base padding of the furniture frame, with the wool roll padding (see below) used over this.

Woolpad samplewoolpad arm

wool pad cushion







Wool in the Roll

Wool in the roll

This wool roll padding is very light and fluffy. It needs an under (base) padding, such as the above wool pad. When we used this padding, after putting the wool pad down, we then put about 6 to 8 layers of this padding over the top. This needs a lot of layers to give it some bulk.




Loose Wool

loose wool

This loose wool padding is suited for filling pillows and other uses that need an adjustable filling. This has a similar feel to "chopped-cotton". It is much denser than the wool in the roll. This needs no other filler because it has sufficient bulk by itself.





Paddings Used in Antiques and Older Furniture




 This shows the kapok still on the tree. After the kapok has been harvested, only the soft fibers were used for upholstery.

Picture from Wikipedia.org








Coconut Fiber




Dried Tree Moss


Dried Grass






Tow (made from flax straw) has been used as padding in upholstery. The flax fibers are separated during processing so that the fibers are finer than hair.


Wood Wool (Excelsior)

WoodWoolWood wool (wood shavings) has many uses, including the stuffing for teady bears. In the upholstery trade wood wool is called excelsior and was used as padding in many types of upholstered antiques.

Excelsior is also used wherever the padding needs fill bulk and yet be firm, such as filling leather ottomans (that have no wood frames, but rely entirely upon the filling for support. In this case, the excelsior fills most of the interior, but an inch or two at the top, which is usually cotton or foam.)


Down/Feathers for cushions

I get some people who inquire about getting “Down/Feather” fill for their seat cushions. First, let me say that in it's proper use, down is a wonderful material. When it is used in jackets or in comforters it is very light and keeps the warm in very well. In that use it is a great project.

Secondly, let’s address the topic of “down/feathers”. Unless you pay a lot of money for mostly down, what you get is mostly feathers (95% feathers and 5% down). It seems to me that “Down/Feathers” at that percentage is mostly a marketing gimmick. 5% down would not even be noticeable. So what you really have is feathers, so I will use that name.

I do not recommend feather filling for seat cushions (because when you sit on a cushion you put almost all of your weight on it and crush the softness out of it.)  It is almost worthless as a filling used under you to support your weight.  Although it “sounds” like it would be wonderfully soft, the reality is that you would sit right through a “soft” seat cushion and bottom out. If you fill a cushion full enough with down/feathers to make it firmer, then it becomes hard and looks “bulgy”. In addition, to use down/feathers in a seat cushion, the cushion would need to be lined. However, just lining it is not enough. If you put all the feathers in a big open cover the feathers would tend to scoot to the side as much as it could. In addition, it would not give you much support. To better the use of down in a seat cushion you would need to use a down-proof pillow ticking with several horizontal pockets: a center pocket holds a foam core (at least 1/2 the height of the cushion. it would also need to have pockets on the top and bottom for the feathers. however, when you sit on feathers they tend to move to the edges of the cushion. So, the top and bottom pockets need dividers to keep the feathers in place. However, even with all of those extra measures, the reality of what you get does not measure up to the illusion of a “down filled” cushion. Of course, no one wants to admit that they are not comfortable, thinking that they have the “luxury” of down.

The other place where down is better used is in throw pillows or in back pillows. However, again, the illusion is more profound than reality. The feathers in “down/feather-filled” back pillows usually drop down to the bottom so that is is just a big bulgy pillow. In order to make the back pillow stand upright the back cushion needs to have baffles (pockets) sewn into it (kind of like stacking 3 or 4 feather-filed tubes on top of one another. The pockets help to keep the feathers in place. This arrangement is more acceptable because as you lean back against the cushion you are only putting a limited amount of your weight against it. Many people may find this quite acceptable.

Foam Cushions


Foam Quality & Density


Foam Come in a variety of qualities and densities. By quality, we are generally referring to the density. Density means, how dense is the foam = How much foam material is contained in a given amount of space. For practical purposes, the density of foam is measured by weight. For example, a low quality foam might weigh approximately one pound a specific size, while a high quality foam for upholstery might weight about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds for the same size.
Foam Samples
In our shop we don't stock polyfoam, but we do have some foam samples in the various qualities and softnesses. On the sides of the samples, as shown the picture, the grade numbers are marked. The grade number consists of two specifications. the first two digits denote the density. The second two numbers denote firmness. For example, a specific size of the 2535 foam will weigh 2.5 pounds and will have a compression ratio of 35 pounds. (It takes 35 pounds to compress that foam a specific amount.)
A question was asked recently, on another board, about how to create a crown (or crest) on a flat foam cushion. There are probably many ways to do this, here is one way.

Now, about getting a "crown" on the cushions.


Making a little bit of a crown:


Small crown cushionAfter cutting your foam to size, you can just wrap or glue about 1" bonded dacron wrap onto each side of the foam may give you the look you want. It gives a little bit of a crown.

When this is stuffed into the cushion, it will give a rounded effect. (which I use for most of my jobs.)





Getting more of a Crown:


high crown foam cushionIf you want more of a crown than that (see drawing below), to give a higher crown on a foam cushion (see A in Drawing), you can start by cutting a piece of 1/2" foam about 2/3 the size of the foam (B in drawing). Be sure to taper (cut at a slant) the edges of the dacron. Then glue it to the center of the top and bottom of the foam. Then, for the layer of Dacron (C in Drawing), cut 2 pieces the same size as the foam and glue one on each side of the foam, on top of the smaller pieces of Dacron. 

Then, as papasage said (on that other board), you can cut the cushion side boxing narrower. For instance, if you are using 5 inch foam, you can also cut the boxing about 5 " wide also. After it is sewn, the boxing will be 4" wide (It will cause the top and bottom of the cushion to come down over the side a little, which, when combined with the dacron wrap, will increase the "appearance" of a higher crown.)

I hope that helps.

Best Wishes,

Latex Foam



Info about latex Foam




Sources for Latex Foam

Sleep Like a Bear

Latex International Talalay Latex Mattress Toppers

Sources for Adhesives for Latex Foam

Most upholstery supplies will handle foam adhesives.


Foam for Upholstery

    You use a much softer foam on the backrest than on a seat because, when you sit on foam you are putting much more weight on the seat foam. By contrast, when you lean against the backrest, you put very little weight against it. (Remember, most of you weight is going to the seat foam.)
     Most seat foam has a firmness rating of aprox. 26 lbs to 30 lbs (soft), 30 lbs to 40 lbs (medium), 40 lbs to 48 lbs (Firm) and 49 lbs to 55 lbs (Extra Firm)
     Conversely, firmness ratings for backrests run about 15 lbs to 20, very soft 20 lbs to 24 (medium-soft)
soft foarm for backs
     So, when you choose a back foam

Foam is Rated by weight and density


Foam Ratings & Usages
Usage Rating Weight   Density   Foam ID 
Seat Cushions Soft 1.5 to 2.5 lb   22 to 30    
  Medium 1.5 to 2.5 lb   30 to 40    
  Firm 1.5 to 2.7 lb   40 to 50    
  Extra Firm 1.5 to 2.9 lb   50 to 55    
Back Cushions Very Soft      10 to 18    
  Medium Soft      18 to 23    
  Firm      23 to 28    


Upholstery Foams