How to Reupholster a Boat Armrest Panel With Vinyl

Item # X-HT-300641

Your boat should be a relaxing place to spend a sunny day on the water, so it’s important for the upholstery to be soft and comfortable. That’s not limited to seat cushions and backrests, but includes built-in armrests and other upholstered panels too! This DIY video will show you how to reupholster a boat armrest panel with a four-way stretch vinyl fabric.

The reupholstered boat panel with decorative piping.
The powerboat we redid had an armrest next to the helm seat.

Why four-way stretch vinyl? Vinyl is one of the best marine upholstery fabrics because it is waterproof. In particular, four-way stretch vinyl is easy to contour around corners and curves without wrinkling. We recommend high-quality EverSoft™ four-way stretch vinyl. It's soft and supple, ensuring it will be comfortable against your skin.

EverSoft vinyl is a good choice for boat panel upholstery.
EverSoft has a beautiful pebbled texture.

Besides the vinyl fabric, this easy project requires only a few materials and tools. You don't have to be an upholstery expert either — the five-step DIY is perfect for beginners because it uses basic techniques. Sailrite® is your one-stop shop for all the vinyl fabric, sew foam and tools that you need to check this quick DIY off of your list.

The video will show you how to reupholster armrest panels with vinyl and add decorative piping. You'll also learn helpful tips for eliminating wrinkles, joining the ends of a piping strip and ensuring that the completed panel lays flush. After you see the tutorial, you'll be equipped to redo every armrest panel on your boat, regardless of size or number of corners. Watch this seven-minute video to start making the armrest panels on your boat more comfortable!

This video is part of our Speedboat Makeover Series. Sew along with us as we reupholster a speedboat's knee-rise seat cushions, motor cover and much more! If you don't have a speedboat, don't worry — you can use this video series to revamp your pontoon boat, cruiser or other vessel with high-quality, marine-friendly upholstery vinyl. Happy sewing!

Materials List:

  • Fabric Backed Sew Foam 58" (#124306)
  • EverSoft™ Indoor/Outdoor Teak 54" Vinyl Fabric (#122218)
  • EverSoft™ Vinyl Welting / Piping Black (#122597)
  • Headliner Adhesive 13 oz. (#123288)
  • 21 Gauge 3/8" (10mm) Staples 10,000/Box (Stainless Steel) (#8010SS)

Tools List:

  • Staple Lifter (#120037)
  • Sailrite® Short Nose Upholstery Staple Gun (#121410)
  • Pencil, Razor, Scissors