How to Reupholster an Armrest for a Pontoon Bench Seat

Item # X-HT-300451

As part of our Pontoon Upholstery Series, we’re going to be walking you through the entire process of reupholstering the armrest of a pontoon bench. Whether you are completely revamping your pontoon armrest from top to bottom or just switching out the upholstery vinyl, we’ll help you every step of the way! This tutorial will cover stripping the armrest of its old components, patterning and gluing foam, as well as cutting and sewing the upholstery vinyl. Let’s begin.

The side arm of our pontoon bench, also called the armrest, was looking incredibly shabby once we took it apart. The base of this armrest was a plastic mold. After we cut away the old vinyl, we found a lot of foam in bad shape. We recommend using a putty knife to scrape away the old foam. But if your foam looks like it’s in good condition, you can skip this step and get right to patterning and cutting your vinyl.

Here at Sailrite®, we have an extensive selection of marine performance vinyl. For this particular project, we’ve chosen to use EverSoft Indoor/Outdoor vinyl. Because this project has unique curves, it’s important that you choose a four-way stretch vinyl that will contour around these unique dimensions. You don’t want any sagging or puddling! Not only is EverSoft a four-way stretch vinyl, but it also boasts an incredible resistance to mold, mildew, stains, abrasion and fading. Not to mention it’s waterproof, making it perfect for marine use. To learn more about the properties of vinyl stretch and how to choose the right amount of stretch for your upholstery needs, read our blog “How Much Vinyl Stretch Is Right for My Project?” (#300403XHT).

Check out the full video below to see how we took this pontoon armrest from drab to fab! It might seem like a daunting project, but our step-by-step video breaks it down into manageable steps. And if you ever have any concerns during your DIY project, you can reach out to our customer support team via phone, email or the chat function on our website. Share with us your finished piece in the comments below — we’d love to see it!

Video Chapters:

  • Removing Old Vinyl & Foam – 1:03 min
  • Patterning for Top – 3:27 min
  • Gluing Foam to Base – 6:17 min
  • Patterning Sides – 13:25 min
  • Cutting Four-Way Stretch Vinyl – 17:36 min
  • Sewing Top to Side Panel – 23:15 min
  • Sewing Side Seam – 32:03 min
  • Sewing a Top Stitch – 37:49 min
  • Stapling to Base – 45:07 min
  • Using Steam to Remove Wrinkles – 57:10 min
  • Materials List – 59:06 min

Materials List:

  • Dura‑Skrim® Patterning Material 74” - (#103134)
  • Fabric Backed 1/2" Sew Foam 58” - (#121507)
  • Foam Lock Spray Adhesive 12 oz - (#120464)
  • Fabric Backed 1/4" Sew Foam 58” - (#121506)
  • EverSoft Indoor/Outdoor Off White 54" Vinyl Fabric - (#122211)
  • Thread V‑92 White Polyester UV 4oz (1,350Yds) - (#100079)
  • Cushion Wrap Silk Film 54” - (#103933)
  • 21 Gauge 3/8" (10mm) Staples 10,000/Box (Stainless Steel) - (#8010SS)

Tools List:

  • Staple Lifter - (#120037)
  • Gingher® Scissors Right Hand Lightweight 8” - (#101017)
  • Clear Acrylic Ruler 6" x 24” - (#102400)
  • Sailrite® Fabricator® Sewing Machine, Table & Servo Motor - (#400500)
  • Sailrite® Upholstery Staple Gun - Short Nose - (#121410) or Long Nose - (#121411)
  • Drill, Drill Bits & Driver, Knife, Putty Knife, Marker, Pencil, Straight Edge