So…I Skinned A Couch.

I have been known to do a crazy DIY here and there.  Remember when I made an actual rug?  Good times.  Any who.  After I got the green monster painted, and had my curtains up, I temporarily hung my headboard, and threw a few scarves on the bed (to give it a little bit of color in place of the pillows that will one day live there).

Dark Green Wall-2

I sort of have this gut intuition.  If I don’t love something along the way, the chance that I am going to get heart palpitations every time I see it,  is slim.  And heart palpitation inducing is what I am going for.

So I am sitting on my couch on the other side of the room, and running every option that I can through my mind.  It was just feeling way up here (insert me waving my hand around my head) and I needed something to ground it.  It was just too painted, and colored.  It was like one of the Real Housewives.   Too much fake crap.

It needed something natural.  In fact I think that I was subconsciously anticipating it because I bought this knitted pillow from Target.

Target Pillow


We are back to sitting and stewing.  Then it hits me like a bolt of lightening.  Its needs leather.  Leather PILLOWS!  Angels sing, Mr.. Richard Simmons gets longer shorts, and everything is right with the world.


The research begins.  Oh don’t you worry.   The  leather pillows that are for sale online are  1. Reminiscent of a Tricia Yearwood belt circa 1992.  2. Roughly  the price of a kidney.  3. Look like something that came off of a sectional at Big Lots.

Ex-nay on that idea.

Next idea, buying fabric.   Even FAUX leather that is not lick worthy is going to cost me $80 + Shipping.


So then my heart says “Mandi.  Why are you straying so far from what you actually want to do?  Get your butt on Craigslist and see what you can wrangle up.”

So that is just what I did.

And guess what?

I found a couch.  The ad said that the seat cushions had been redyed but that it looked great.

I was actually feeling a little bad about the possibility of cutting up a nice couch to make pillows.  It had to be THIS couch because it had the perfect amount of wear without being janky.

Imagine my surprise when I stopped by to look at it and the dye job was not awesome and all of the hesitation and guilt?  Gone.  Sold.  Getting a Heidi Montag makeover.

Couch Upcycle-2

This was a very nice couch.  I am not going to lie.  I am sure if someone wanted to they could have had new leather put on the seats or a blanket or something, but this couch’s destiny was for something different.

Couch Upcycle

Repurpose onward and upward friends.

Cant wait to show you how they turn out, after I do them…still working on that.

So what do you think?  Is this a brilliant upcycle or a terrible idea because I did in fact, cut a couch apart to make pillows?

Also I have a naked couch sitting in my garage.  Anyone want it?

Love Your Guts



  1. You are so crazy. In a good way.

  2. Wow.. you definitely are crazy. This room is having me on tenterhooks. How is it going to turn out? And what are you going to do with the couch? Can it be reupholstered?

  3. You gotta do what you gotta do. Keep the feet on that thing, too.

  4. That couch may be nice, but it's ugly. Making pillows out of the leather is a brilliant idea, in my humble opinion!

  5. very courageous! can't wait to see how they turn out!

    Cheryl @ The Creative Me and My McG

  6. I really think it ingenious to use the leather to make pillows. Awesome idea and one I could see myself doing in a tight budget ( this is why I like to work with restrictions, I think it is good creative exercise).
    I can't believe someone thought that was a good dye job :(

  7. Oh my god, this post was hilarious. I'm super excited to see how you transform the couch into pillows!

    Ladyface Blog

  8. The best ideas are the ones that require the most amount of courage. I think they will turn out amazing! Can't wait to see 'em.

  9. You are brave! Can't wait to see how it turns out; any plans for the couch once you are done stripping it bare?

  10. I love the idea. I would totally do something like that. Can't wait to see it!

  11. Man, I thought I was the only one who did that! I just sit there and run through options in my head and they are either TOTALLY ALL WRONG NO IT WILL NOT WORK or that wonderful moment of CLICK when you know it's perfect!

  12. I can't stop laughing at the amazing Richard Simmons pic. And how I'm definitely tempted to "pin it baby" just for being so hilarious! :)

  13. haha! You go, girl! Do it! Sometimes it takes a little bit, or a lot of crazy to make some genius happen.

  14. I'm loving this process! I am trying to decorate my new house on a tight budget and I love being able to see your creative process.

  15. You're a genius! Buying a couch off Craigslist for the leather – never would have thought of that! Can't wait to see more!

  16. Years ago I ripped couch cushions apart to make pillows AND a valance. No, it wasn't a leather couch, but rather one I had stored in my basement. That project has since moved onto the vast wasteland of unawesome-ness commonly referred to as the dump, but I loved those re-cycle pillows and curtains for years. Where there's a will, there's a way, right?

  17. Brilliant! Love this idea! And whoever said the cushions looked great was blind; they look like Dylan took a marker to them.

  18. they said that was a good dye job! HA! The things people say! I have green leather couch I'm selling if you want to cut it up 😉

  19. same shade as your new wall

  20. love it! the cushions looked so…ehh…so I think you're helping it out ripping that bad boy apart. the frame can still be reupholstered so no real harm done! 😉

  21. Great idea…can't wait to see how it turned out.

  22. i think it's brilliant!

  23. I think I knew you in another time….not in a "twilight zone"way. As I was reading your post I it was like I know you from some where. You are a true crazy artist! Love your work! thank you, Sue

  24. I just discovered your blog and I. Love. It.
    Truly, its so much fun! I'm an interior designer and I'm addicted to making things beautiful, which you do so very well. I'll be eagerly anticipating all of the great new projects and ideas you come up with… not to mention everything you've already done!


  25. I love your guts Mandi. You would OF COURSE buy a couch to make pillows.

  26. My hubby builds hot rod and his FAVORITE thing to upholster the seats are … you guessed it; sweetly aged leather couches. FAB!!!

  27. I love the arms and legs on your now nekked couch, but no, I don't want it. ;o) I have an ugly chaise lounge in my own garage I have to do something with before my husband returns it to where I pulled it from – the curb!

  28. How you manage to include Richard Simmons, Tricia Yearwood, and Heidi Montage in one post about leather is just magic! Love it!

    Sarah @

  29. loving the real time posts! keep it up.

  30. i love you in a non-creepy girl crush way. keep up the awesomeness!

  31. i'm so excited to see where you go with this! i am loving the warmer cozy feel, but know that you will spin it in a new and fresh way!

  32. Greatest idea!

  33. Such a good idea! I've been racking my brain to find an affordable way to get my hands on leather to make baby moccs and while I def don't need a couch the wheels are a turnin now…

  34. Love this idea! Also… what on earth happened to those cushions? Were they painted?

    What's going to happen to your bare-naked couch? Are you going to be Super Woman and reupholster? 😉

  35. Love this loveseat!!!!!

    I'm looking at the frame and it's really nice. I would definitely reupholster it!!!
    Can't wait to see want you're going to do!!!!


  36. lol! with the title of the blog, i knew it would be good! maybe you can reupholster the couch or use parts of it on different projects.

  37. I stopped to read this post solely on the strength of the post title.

    Go for it. I would probably try a thrift store leather coat first though.

  38. I do stuff like this too! Use the stuffing inside the couch for your pillows. The foam is good too.

  39. Mandi, I just skinned a couch myself. My niece had an old leather couch with several holes in it. I found her a cheap replacement on craigslist then paid her $5 (the fee that the landfill charges to dispose of said skinned couch carcass). Yikes, that was a lot of work. I wish I would have thought to bring pliers with me, but all I had was a utility knife. Now I have a pile-o-leather that I’m working through and I have plenty to make 3 pillow covers (using your tutorial) and lots leftover for more future projects. I’m thinking leather Christmas stockings…or something. Thank you so much for the inspiration!!

  40. The Tamura kids says:

    We got inspired by your post, picked up a couch on the side of the road, put it out of its misery and skinned it! Can’t wait to make something awesome with the remains. Thank you for the inspiration and the humorous post!

  41. LOVE it. I mean for reals. What should one expect to pay for a sofa to cut up? Ballpark please!


  1. […] Skinning a couch for a project is nothing new to me, remember when I made Leather Pillows?  This is like that, but on steroids. […]

  2. […] The obsession with leather is not letting up anytime soon.  So just be on the lookout for an old couch to skin so that you can play along,  or if it makes your significant other less stabby, you can buy […]

  3. […] these parts for the last few months.  Ever since the life changing discovery that you can skin a leather couch and save thousands of dollars (and a puffy leather couch from the landfill for that matter!)  […]

  4. […] place in Shorts on the Line 2014- yeyeah! I scoured Craigslist for a leather couch to dismantle (a la Mandy) and almost got one for $50, but I was mere minutes too late and they’d sold to someone else. […]

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