Recycling Furniture

Recycling Furniture | Textile Art

Recycling Furniture
Recycling Furniture

As a textile artist my work is created from recycled materials. I source from the usual places – car boot sales, charity shops, flea markets, freecycle, donations from family and friends. Household furniture can be a great source of inspiration, both old and new. Here are some tips to encourage you to recycle fabrics covering furniture before heading to the skip.

Recycling Furniture
recycling fabric from an old storage chest

Worn surfaces

Old furniture is usually very well crafted with layers of foam padding, wadding and fabric. I celebrate materials eroded over time, such as the foam padding on the seat (lid) of the storage chest. Erosion of the surface creates texture and is a great material to be molded and easily cut.

Recycling Furniture
foam padding provides texture in the worn surface and can be easily molded and cut

Metal structure

Do not dismiss metal structures within the framework of furniture. This metal hinge conjures up corsetry within historical costume and will be recycled into my Womanhood Collection.

Recycling Furniture
metal hinge to be used as abstract corsetry in The Womanhood Collection

Interior linings

The interior lining can be a great source of additional fabric. The bigger the box the bigger the fabric pieces. Neatly cut along edges to remove and see if you can pull the fabric from seams..

Recycling Furniture
interior linings as a source of large panels of fabric

Damaged surfaces

We have always had cats as an addition to the family home and they love to sharpen their claws on furniture! Rather than dismissing this as ‘damaged’ I celebrate the texture created.

Recycling Furniture
damaged fabrics can be a source of texture to be celebrated

Removing wadding intact can be tricky. I find pulling away from staples creates tearing but this can provide a window into the interior of layers creating the cushioning effect.

Recycling Furniture
exposing the layers of wadding through torn edges

Faded fabrics

Sunlight and time naturally fades the intensity of colour in fabrics. Use this to express depth within a delicate colour palette.

Recycling Furniture
use faded fabrics to express depth within a delicate colour palette


Corners and seams are a great source of ready made remnants which can be used in the tatty matting technique. It can be tricky to remove.

Recycling Furniture
ready made remnants for tatty matting

Use cutting, pulling and rolling techniques.

Recycling Furniture
using scissors to roll fabrics away from staples

Here is a an example of using remnants to build texture and depth within an abstract flower head.

Recycling Furniture
using thread and remnants with frayed edges builds texture and depth


Folded fabrics can create pattern in pleated panels and faded areas. My suede headboard will be a super fabric for skin tones. Do not worry if you have to cut away areas. You can cover these or they can become an abstract creation within the design.

Recycling Furniture
pattern created within folded and pleated surfaces


Whatever embellishments you rescue will provide a treasure trove of possibilities for future projects. I love the diamante studs from the headboard and feet from the storage chest. Collecting and building a surplus over time encourages new direction within projects. Recycling is fun, creating unique projects which cannot be reproduced.

Recycling Furniture

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