How to Set and Place Upholstery Buttons

What You'll Need
Upholstery needle
Replacement button
Heavy Duty staples
Staple gun
2 feet of twine

Upholstery buttons add a touch of class to any piece of furniture; unfortunately, it is common for them to come loose and disappear, requiring replacement. Replacing upholstery buttons is relatively simple job that requires some specialized tools and equipment to help in setting and placing the buttons properly.

Step 1 – Gain Access to the Button's Anchor

To gain access to the place where the button is anchored, it's necessary to take apart some portions of the furniture. The staple gun will be used to reattach the upholstery once the task of sewing the button is completed. The most difficult place to access is also the most common place to need work: the back-rest portion of a chair or sofa. To access this area, loosen the upholstery stapling along the back by gently prying with a flathead screwdriver. Continue to loosen until you can fit your arm comfortably inside the back of the furniture and feel the back of the cushion. Inside, the back of the furniture is likely attached by a tacking strip. Tacking strips are strips of cardboard with tacks inside, used in the making of most factory-assembled furniture. Use your screwdriver again to pry up the tacking strip. If the button you're accessing is on the seat cushion itself, the job is much simpler; remove the cushion by unbolting from a chair or lifting off of a couch, and remove the outermost cover.

Step 2 – Attach the Button

Now that the back of the cushion is accessible, the button can be attached. Take your 2 foot length of twine, and thread the button onto it. Push the button to the center of the twine, so that if you hold both ends, the button dangles in the middle. While dangling the button in the center, thread both ends of the twine into the upholstery needle. Push the need up about half the folder length of twine. Take the upholstery needle and push it through the original button hole, from the visible side of the upholstery surface.

Step 3 – Secure the Button

Reaching from the back, grab the ends of the twine—be certain to make sure both ends have come through the cushion. Tug on the twine until the button sits at the desired tightness, then staple the twine in the middle, fold the remaining length, and staple again.

Step 4 – Reassemble the Furniture

If a back cushion button was replaced, reattach the tacking strip by pressing it firmly against the chair or sofa's frame, and the use the staple gun to adhere the exterior backing at the bottom. If a seat cushion button was replaced, re-staple any lifted upholstery and bolt the chair seat back into place, or slip the cushion back onto the sofa.