Natural Upholstery vs. Conventional Upholstery Supplies

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You have a beautiful frame of a chair or couch that really needs some cushion, and you want to use chemical-free, eco-friendly supplies, but where do you start? Here is a list of substitutions from the standard petroleum based products.

Dacron Batting –> Wool Batting
Foundation Material –> Cotton Batting
Decking Fabric (to cover the springs) –> Organic Sateen Fabric
Poly Foam –> Organic Latex
Ticking Fabric (to cover the wool so that it doesn’t migrate through the decorative fabric) –> Organic Twill Fabric
Thin Foam –> Wool Felt

That’s it. It is really that simple. For a DIY project, purchase your custom cut latex here and contact us to sew you an inner case of our organic fabrics and an outer case of your decorative fabric.

Similarities between Natural Latex and conventional foam

  • Five firmnesses available, use softer for the back cushions and firmer for the base
  • Firmer means denser which means more durable
  • Batting or a down jacket still can be wrapped around to add plumpness to cushion
  • If using on top of springs, use a ticking fabric between the springs and the latex so as to not tear it

Unique Tricks to Natural Latex

  • Cut only with a blade, not a hot wire
  • Over time (15 years+), instead of softening, latex will harden as it dries out and eventually crumbles

What Sets Organic Latex apart from conventional poly foam

  • No flame retardants
  • Chemical-Free: The end product has only 5 ingredients with latex comprising of 96% of the finished product.
  • Long Life: 20 -30 year lifespan
  • Vegan: Tree Based not petroleum Based
  • Compostable: Just give it time
  • Sustainable: The Hevea brasiliensis trees are grown for 30 years before they stop producing enough latex and are harvested for their wood.
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Antimicrobial: In a closed testing environment, growing bacteria introduced to the latex were not able to survive.
  • Dust Mite Resistant: It is simply inhabitable.
  • Excellent Airflow: Compared to memory foam and all poly foams, latex allows more air movement and thus does not retain heat.

Own an Upholstery Business? Contact us for wholesale rates.

Shredded Latex Chair Cushions

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Six pounds of shredded latex stuffed each of these economical chair cushions, actually 5.5 lbs. in the smaller one and 6.5 in the larger one.  I’m impressed that the amount of fill we send out with our standard shredded latex pillow kit (which is enough to overstuff a standard pillow) filled out these cushions so well. The bounce will be less solid and supportive than a solid piece of latex, but sometimes budgets choose fun, decorative fabrics like these ones instead of traditional solid foam.  The life of shredded latex is just as long as it in its large state.

Tiny House Couch

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Designed by the artist who created the first tiny house pictures on our website, another tiny house creation has come to life. Using 6″ of firm natural latex, two batts of 4 lb. wool, inner twill cases, and her customer’s fabric of choice, this design represents a traditional looking couch. The curved armrests were shipped to us for layering the latex and wool inside as well as shaping that piping on perfectly.

Like the couch in the first tiny house, this one can also be collapsed to be a guest bed.

For more images of Pocket Mansions’ work or to hire her services, view her website here.

DIY Articles

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Here you will find information and resources to help you with your next sewing or upholstery project, be it chair or bench cushions, couches, bassinets, floor cushions, play mats, dog and cat beds, and even the nonupholstery projects, such as ornaments, yarn baskets, stuffed animals or dolls, doll’s bedding or whatever you can imagine.

You will find this collection of posts, products and calculators around the website.




Wool Batting Wrap – Why?

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wool batting wrap, around latex cushion

Wool batting is a sheet of wool fibers, aligned and layered in sheer sheets on top of each other, over and over until the batt’s desired weight is achieved. A wool batting wrap around latex both is used both when making couch cushions and when making a mattress. Here’s why.


Latex is bouncy.  It has a nice rebound to it that keeps body impressions from lasting like they do in memory foam.  Wool does not have a bounce.  Much of our wool has a crimp to it, which gives it strength and body. A layer or two of wool softens the bounce of the latex and moderates the sponginess feel of the foam.  It also smooths out the edges of the foam for a slightly rounded look.

In a way, the wool is considered a pillowtop to the latex, especially if 2 or 3 layers are used. I usually compare our wool toppers to a medium piece of latex, which would be soft for a couch cushions.


Wool batting is used to add some puff to your cushion. Sometimes this is an even layer around, sometimes the batting is folded in a pyramid of layers on the top and bottom of the cushions to add a little extra height there and give a rounded look to the cushion.

As I say in the post How to choose Firmness for Couch Cushions #4, all fabric has stretch to it, even a woven fabric like a twill has a slight stretch to it. Think of the way a pair of jeans fits snugly fresh out of the dryer, yet loosely when they go into the washing machine. Another trick besides cutting the latex a 1/2″ larger, is to wrap the latex in the wool batting.  If the case and the latex are made the same size, adding in a 1/2″ a wool batting wrap will provide that the case will still look full after it has stretched its 3%.


If you ask us to wrap a latex cushion in batting, we neither staple it, sew it or glue it. We merely wrap it around the latex and let time do the work of adhering the batting to the latex.  The wool fibers will twist in to the latex in about 3 months, leaving it gripping the latex. Wool batting is not sticky like Dacron batting would be, so even without an inner case, the latex wrapped in wool will slip into the outer case easily.   The batting still may be removed if desired, but it will leave behind small fibers in the latex.


How you wrap the organic latex cushion is up to you. Some choose to wrap the entire piece of foam, top and bottom, front and back, sides. Some choose to wrap just the noticeable areas, the front, the top and bottom. This minimal wrap focuses the batting where it will be most useful.  It is called a bookwrap.

If plumping the cushion is specifically your goal, consider layering multiple pieces of the top of the cushion. If the cushion is flippable, do the bottom as well. Layer the batting in a pyramid style with 3-4 wool pieces gradually getting smaller so that you can target the area of plumpness.

While you will probably the wool in pieces, consider “tearing the wool” by pilling apart the fibers. Then tease the edges so that appearance of the wool is gradual instead of a sharp distinction. Tease the edges by pulling the fibers apart so that some are longer and the entire edge tapers.


We let you participate in your project by cutting the batting and wrapping it around the latex yourself. We will provide you with cutting maps so that you need to do no number work, no figuring, all you need is scissors and a space to work in.  After the cushion is wrapped in the wool, stuff it in your case and zip it shut. Simple.

How to choose Firmness for Cushions

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Natural Latex Cushion

These tips are based on the assumption that the primary purpose of the couch will be for sitting on.  If the comfort of the couch is more important for sleeping on, see The Banana Test for determining firmness.


  1. Choose firmness based on depth first (there are five firmnesses – D65, D75, D80, D85 and D90):

    1. 3” or less, get a D85 or D90
    2. 4”, aim for a D80 or an D85
    3. 5”- 6”, pick between D80, D85 and D90


    1. 1-2″, get a D75 or D80
    2. 3-4” or less, get a D65 or D75
    3. 5”- 6” pick between D65 or D75
  2. Choose firmness based on preference of feel second:
    1. Do you like it firm or like a standard couch, rather cushy? The firmer the latex, the more supportive it is and the less you will sink into it.

Rules of Thumb

  1. In base cushions, D80 is considered medium in couches. D85 is considered medium-firm in couch cushions. D90 is considered firm.
  2. In back cushions, D65 is considered soft and D75 considered medium. Depending on the depth, as a pair, a D65 on the and a D80 on the base work well together, as do as D75 on the back and a D85 on the base,
  3. The thinner the latex, the less firm it feels. Depth can make up for the firmness. A 2” D85 will feel the same as a 3” D80. A 3” D90 will feel like a 4” D85.
  4. The heavier you are the deeper latex you will need. Average adult weight (130-230 lbs.) will not feel the supporting wood or spring foundation or on 5 – 6” of latex if the latex is firm, extra firm or hard. A 300 lb adult will want a minimum of 6” of hard latex or deeper of a softer latex.
  5. Cutting the latex ½” to 1“ larger than the cushion dimensions gives a nice full look. The firmer the foam, the less we will add to the dimensions.

Loose Fills

Do your back cushions have a non foam fill like batting or feathers? Consider using

  • wool batting
  • cotton batting
  • shredded latex and kapok mixed
  • woolly bolas

Our wool batting or cotton batting will be a great substitute for the typical dacron batting used. Both are lofty and will be a soft fill. Over time, they do compress in areas of use. They are sold by the 88″ yard. The battings are also great for wrapping around your cushions, more info here.

Our woolly bolas also make a great feather replacement.  They are always soft, a little dense, as light as a standard pillow. They do a really good job keeping their shape and staying in the whole pillow as opposed to some of the loose fills that sink to the bottom of the case because of their weight. They are also not messy!

A mix, often 50/50 of shredded latex and kapok can also make a soft cushion and even bean bag. On its own, shredded latex is squishy and bouncy; kapok is light and airy.  Together the kapok fills in the spaces between the shreds of latex, making the pillow smoother and giving it more volume without increasing its weight significantly. To be fair, both fills are a little messy to work with. More info on comparing all the different loose pillow fills available here.

If you know the dimensions, you can calculate how much you need here.

How to Cut Natural Latex

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Cutting Latex

Perhaps you happened upon a piece of latex in our Clearance section that is just about the right size for your projects or maybe you have an old couch made of latex that you are ready to part with but you realize there is still life left in the foam, so you get creative.  Your new project could use some natural latex but you want to save a few dollars by cutting it yourself and not paying us to cut it. Here is how you DIY a latex cut.


  • Electric Knife
  • Two Tables the same Height
  • Your Natural Latex Slab


The best tip I can give you is to use a slow, steady hand, not pulling the latex apart as you cut, but letting it sit still.

  1. Draw your cut on the latex with an extra fine tip permanent marker and a yardstick or an upside down tape measure. Make sure your line is straight as you will be watching it very closely when you are cutting. Do not draw your line according to the pinholes on the latex as they do not always line up vertically and horizontally to the edges of the latex. Rather measure from the actual edges of the latex.
  2. Place your two tables next to each order with a 5″ or so gap between them. Place the latex on the tables with the cut line in the space between the tables.
  3. An optional step, but perhaps beneficial step is lubricating your blades.  If you have a silicone spray lubricant around, spray both sides of the blades to provide an easy cut.
  4. Position yourself in a comfortable position, accessible to the cut. Depending on how large your piece is, you may find it easiest to cut the latex if you crawl on top of it. If you do so, make sure your knees are not pulling on the area of latex around the cut.
  5. Position the cord of your knife so that it is not in your way as you move backward along the cut or in the cut’s way.
  6. Align your knife on the line, turn the blades on and very slowly, cut down your line.  It is easiest to pull the knife toward you rather than to push it away from you. Keep your knife hand over the line so that you do not end up with a cut inches to the side of the line on the bottom of the piece. If you need to shift your position, turn the knife off first, adjust and resume. Do not stretch the latex when cutting.  It is a very flexible foam and stretching or pulling it during your cutting will give you a wobbly cut line. The holes in the latex may give you a slightly wobbly drawn line; you may have to eyeball a straight line from each hole.
  7. Just like when you cut wood and leave behind sawdust, there will be a little shredded latex on the ground to sweep up.

Of course, if after reading this you have changed your mind about DIYing your cut, give us a call and we’ll cut it for you. To get a quote on a custom cut piece of latex,  visit our Custom Cut Latex Calculator.

Happy DIYing.

Futons, Couch Cushions and Latex

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Natural latex foam can be cut to almost any size. This ability to be resized, along with its flexibility and its comfort, makes it a high-end fill to any piece of furniture.

fancy line


Our Arpico natural latex comes in 6” slabs and as large as 76” x 80.” Since it is Dunlop processed, the molds are as large as an Eastern King. Talalay processed mold are only as large as a Queen. A 6” slab gives you enough depth for a couch cushion or the ability to trim it down an inch or two.

To obtain a quote on a custom size,  visit our Custom Cut Latex Calculator.


The depth of the piece will affect your preference of firmness. A 3” extra firm or hard piece would be as thin as you would want. Four inches or five inches would be more comfortable and allow more people types to sit on it. Six inches is definitely a safe choice. A person of any weight could sit on it and not feel the slats or springs underneath it. When you get into the six inch depth, you can decrease the density of the foam to a firm if you like. A back cushion for a couch commonly is cut out of a Soft piece of latex as there is no gravity holding the sitter to it, only body weight.

Why is thicker better? When a person’s weight is pinpointed directly into one spot of the latex, the pressure points are much larger than when a sleeper stretches out and spreads his pressure points out.


In short, I would consider a wool wrap around your latex if using it for upholstery purposes. It is not necessary, but it has a few purposes. Besides acting as a physical barrier between the latex and the elements that cause latex to deteriorate, it also can act a little bit of the softening that a down blanket would. Consider it a way to ease into the comfortable support of latex and to reduce the bounce. It always serves to buffer the air space between the latex and the case.


We do not make frames, but I have multiple customer who specialize in custom furniture, woodwork, titanium welding and metalwork. Contact me for their contact information.


Send us your fabric and we can sew it up for you or we can use our fabric to sew you cases. Woven fabrics vs. knits are strong and durable for upholstery use.

If you are looking for organic fabrics, there are more sources than ever before. Check out Two Sisters Eco Textiles or  Organic Cotton Plus and note their color grown cotton fabrics as well as the hemp and wool fabrics. They also have subtle patterns appropriate for upholstery uses. GOTS organic is the best standard available but the standard has only been around a few years so it is a taking a while for many manufacturers to catch up. Organic fabric (USDA) is common, even carries it.

Cording is a decorative accent that can be added to the edges of a cushion. We can add it for you if you like. However, if your latex will be folded for display as a futon, I do not recommend cording as it will not necessarily perch properly on the edge of the latex. No need to highlight an askew seam. Another decorative accent is gussets; gussets are side panels sewing on sewn on the sides of the cushion. Pictures available on our Custom Sewing Page.


According to the web, cheap sofas use foam alone. Better sofas use foam core within a down & feather blanket (wrap). The ratio of down to feathers is usually only a 10/90 ratio, but the greater the ration of down to feathers, the better. Even better sofas use a spring core encased in foam. The best of the better sofas use either a spring core that is encased in foam that is then encased in a down wrap or an all-down and feather cushion.

The very best couches a use latex core with springs. In order to get this combination you would have to visit an upscale upholsterer. (Yes, customers do take our latex to such shops.) This style is rarely composed in the United States but apparently, the French do so. Good upholstery, depending upon the style, has lots of springs. There can be springs in the seat, the back, and in the arms. That’s what makes a great upholstery job look “full” and it keeps the sofa looking that way for years but it’s very expensive and usually seen only on hand made sofas. Often on these handmade sofas, you will see hand stitching as well. This upholstery company has some reupholstered pictures of before and after of some high quality piece of furniture.

For more reading on upholstering tips, here is a summary article.

Visit our Custom Cut Latex Calculator to get a quote on a custom cut piece of natural latex. If you want to cut your own latex, electric knives work well.