How to Make a Cushion With a Backer Board

Item # X-HT-300113

On a boat, storage is at a premium. Every cubby, nook and cranny can be valuable storage space. One common way that boat builders maximize storage is by adding compartments underneath seating. Sometimes the cushions sit on top of lidded compartments and sometimes the cushions are the lids. On our Powerboat Makeover, we had a storage bench where the cushion was attached to a backer board that serves as the lid for the compartment underneath. If you have this arrangement on your boat, we’re going to show you how to reupholster the cushion with a backer board.

Reupholster a cushion on a backer board like the one on this storage seat.

To make a cushion that sits on a backer board, you essentially sew just the top half of a cushion cover. The cover is then fitted over the board and stapled in place. To make sure we had enough fabric to staple to the underside of the board, we patterned the boxing extra wide. Since this cushion will be frequently lifted up to access the compartment underneath, we also added a layer of cushion underlining fabric to the underside of the board for a cleaner appearance.

Our cushion sits against the hull of the boat, so one side has a wedged shape that needs to be accommodated for in the foam. We walk you through patterning this shape off the old foam and how to cut the wedge in the video. If you don’t have existing foam to base your wedge shape on, we demonstrate how to measure the wedge on your boat in our "How to Make Forward Berth Cabin Cushions" project video (#300101XHT).

In this video you’ll learn how to pattern and cut foam and how to sew a cushion cover and staple the cover to the backer board.

Video Chapters:

  • Patterning & Cutting Foam – 0:50 min.
  • Cutting Plate – 3:21 min.
  • Patterning Boxing – 5:38 min.
  • Making Piping / Cording – 8:28 min.
  • Sewing Piping to Plate – 13:43 min.
  • Sewing Boxing to Plate – 16:00 min.
  • Prepping Backer Board – 21:35 min.
  • Stapling Cushion to Backer Board – 23:15 min.
  • Materials List – 31:22 min.

Materials List:

  • Dry Fast Open Cell Foam or High Density Polyurethane Foam (we used 4" Dry Fast #184M4872)
  • Dura-Skrim® Patterning Material #122463
  • Marine Upholstery Fabric
  • V-69 Polyester Thread (we used Derby Navy #103795)
  • Medium 5/32" Welting Cord #107035
  • Seamstick 1/4" Basting Tape for Canvas #104167
  • Cushion Underlining Fabric -Optional (we used Beige #103934)
  • Sailrite® 21 Gauge 1/2" (12mm) Staples 10,000/Box (Stainless) #8012SS

Tools List:

  • 3M™ General Trim Adhesive #73211
  • Acu-Cutter 350 Foam Cutter #100157
  • Multiuse Pins #102985
  • Gingher® Scissors Right Handed #19104
  • Clear Acrylic Ruler #102400
  • Fabric Marking Pencil Yellow #111002
  • Comfort Grip Rotary Cutter 60mm #9655
  • Cutting Mat 18" x 24" #102990
  • Sailrite® Ultrafeed® LS-1 PLUS Walking Foot Sewing Machine #300502
  • Sailrite® Long Nose Upholstery Staple Gun #121411
  • Tack & Staple Remover #104319
  • Marker
  • Tape measure