How to Apply Button Tufting

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Tufting adds a visual and textural element to cushions.
Tufting adds a visual and textural element to cushions. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Button tufting is commonly used on upholstery as a way to secure the fabric, as well as add a decorative element. Button tufting is made when thread is passed through several layers, run through the shank of a button, back through the layers and then tied off. Tufting is often associated with Victorian furniture, but it also dresses up plain cushions or other types of furniture.

Things You'll Need

  • Cushion
  • Fabric marker
  • Buttons with shanks
  • Tufting twine
  • Upholstery needle
  • Scissors

Place the cushion on a flat work surface.

Mark the cushion where you want the buttons to go. You can create as many or as few tufts as you like. Some cushions look best with one tuft in the center, while others look good when they are filled with tufts. Play with it until you find the look that best suits your tastes.

Thread the upholstery needle with a yard of the tufting twine. Run the needle through the back of the cushion, coming up where you made a mark. Leave a long tail on the back side of the cushion.

Thread the button onto the needle and let it slide down to meet the cushion. Run the needle back through the cushion, close to where it entered from, but not the same hole.

Tie the threads together to pull the button in snugly. This creates the tufted look. Tie the threads again to form a knot. Snip the excess twine off. Repeat procedure for each mark.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can use buttons on the opposite side of the cushion as well. This is useful for a cushion that is double-sided. Simply hide the knot under the button.

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