Course Information

  • I am a complete novice, are your courses suitable for me?

    Yes! All of our courses cater for all levels of ability, from beginners to the experienced.

  • I have been on an upholstery course before but I want to learn more. Will this be possible?

    You never stop learning in upholstery! If you want to tackle more advanced projects, no bother. Let us know what you have in mind and we can tailor the course to suit your needs.

  • Is my project suitable?

    It will state in each course description the size of project that we advise. If in doubt, just drop us an email with a picture to [email protected] and we will be happy to advise.

  • Is there much lifting?

    No, your teacher will always be on hand to give anyone a lift should you need help.

  • Do you offer storage for my project?

    Yes, don’t panic, we don’t expect you hump your project back and forward to every class.

  • Do I need any tools?

    We offer the tools you need, however should you wish to bring your own, you’re more than welcome. You can also buy tools, foam and sundries during your class.

  • How many people are on the course?

    We restrict classes and courses to a maximum of 8 per teacher on our daytime, 10 on our evening and 12 learners on our weekend courses. This allows for greater one on one teaching.

  • If I have had a change of circumstance and I can no longer attended, can I cancel or reschedule?

    If you cancel in writing (via email to [email protected]) at least 14 days prior to the course starting, we can offer a full refund or reschedule you to a course later in the year.

    If you cancel in writing (via email to [email protected]) between 7 and 13 days prior to the course starting, we can offer a 50% refund or reschedule you to a course later in the year.

    If you cancel in writing with fewer than 7 days till the course starts, we sadly can’t offer a refund but can happily offer to reschedule you to a course later in the year.

    Unfortunately we are unable to re-schedule your course more than two times. If you cancel within 24 hours of the course commencing, then unfortunately we cannot offer you a refund but will happily re-schedule you to another date. This will incur a £45 late cancellation fee.

  • Can I make up lost time?

    We will always try to accommodate an occasional missed day, which is beyond your control. The daytime courses are flexible so if you need to change a day, providing there is space then it’s no problem. Our evening course runs over 8 weeks so you need to make sure you can attend 6 of these 8.

  • Is the cost of materials included in the course fee?

    Each course will detail what is included in the cost of course on our courses page. In most instances all materials are covered except fabric, fire-retardant calico and replacement seat pads.

  • Who will teach me?

    The Ministry Team benefit from a combined total of over 125 years’ experience in the trade! Ministry of Upholstery was created by Anthony Devine in 2013. Anthony has been passionate about interiors since an early age and has worked in the furniture and upholstery industry for the last nineteen years. Anthony started his career as an apprentice in Long Eaton, the home of British handmade upholstery and world renowned brands such as Duresta, Wellbeck and Wade. After completing his apprenticeship he went on to produce and install hand-made furniture for a range of household names including Rocco Forte, The QE2, Forte Hotels, Harvey Nichols and Crowne Plaza Hotels. In 2010 Anthony opened an upholstery and interiors boutique and workshop specialising in bespoke hand-made upholstered pieces. It is here that the Ministry of Upholstery was born. Anthony’s passion and experience has been the catalyst for opening up his workshop to those looking to gain practical hands-on experience while learning about the craftsmanship of upholstery in a workshop environment. When not strutting his stuff in the Ministry workshop, Anthony can be seen moonlighting and showcasing his talents on TV on BBC’s Money for Nothing and Flipping Profit!

    Susie joined as part of the team in October 2013. Susie comes from a creative background, having trained and worked as a professional actress for almost 10 years. In 2012 Susie turned her creative focus to upcycling and restoring old furniture and set up her own business. It was upon this quest that she discovered a natural inclination to want to reupholster stuff and it was this quest that led to a meeting of two great creative minds and Anthony and Susie joined forces! Susie is a paint and colour expert.

    Paul, who joined in early 2016, comes with over 30 years’ of upholstery experience. He has spent his time mentoring and assessing in the workshop for some of the biggest names in upholstery across the North West. Not only this, but he has also gained a huge amount of transferable skills from his time spent on his second love; football. When not in the workshop, Paul can be found on the Burnley FC training ground, where he nurtures young talent at their academy.

    Joining Paul on the full-time teaching team is Kevin Burrows. Our newest teacher; Kevin brings a wealth of upholstery experience, having completed a 4 year apprenticeship followed by 42 years of experience in the trade! The majority of his career has been spent at Tetrad, where, for the past 12 years he has worked in prototype and development. He is experienced in working with all types of fabric, including leather, pattern making, templates and design. What Kevin doesn’t know, isn’t worth knowing and we are very proud to have him as a part of our teaching team.
    Our newest team member is Michael Gray. After studying traditional and modern upholstery, cabinet making and wood finishing at college, Michael spent 2 years on traditional upholstery in a small family firm before moving on to spend 6 years at Bridgecraft, producing over 25 different models of new furniture to a high standard. He then spent 7 years at Plumbs, specialising in reupholstery of traditional and modern furniture. He has most recently owned a small custom upholstery shop in Lytham Saint Anne’s.

    Dennis joined the team in 2014 and benefits from a whopping 70 years in the trade. His area of expertise lies within the traditional side of the upholstery world. Add his knowledge and experience to the mix and together we make a formidable team! In fact, the Ministry crew have a combined total of over 180 years’ experience in upholstery!

    Paul and Kevin, aided by Dennis, teach our daytime students and the Monday evening course. Anthony, with the help of Susie, teaches our Queen Anne Footstool course, Contemporary Stool course and Stofa course. Anthony also teaches our Thursday evening course.

  • Do I have to pay up front for courses?

    Yes! All our courses need to paid for in full prior to the start of the course. If you are booking more than a month in advance then we can take a 50% deposit to reserve the place. The remaining 50% will then be payable 2 weeks before the course starts. To book in this way please call us on 0161 222 4243.

Fabric

Online Course

  • What’s in the kit?

    Your kit will be arriving soon, if it hasn’t already. This will contain all the materials you need to make your stool. The only things it won’t contain are tools but don’t worry, you don’t need any expensive specialised tools for this job. See the information below about tools.

    Your kit contains:

    • Solid hardwood frame- pre drilled ready for the buttons
    • Foam- pre drilled ready for the buttons
    • Dacron (polyester wadding)
    • Dipryl  (the black lining that goes on the bottom of your stool)
    • Buttons – pre made in your chosen fabric
    • Fabric – in your chosen colour
    • Paint or wax- in your chosen colour
    • Spacers
    • Solid beech legs in your chosen style
    • Button layout template
    • Tote bag – not needed for upholstery but looks great with your shopping in it!
  • Is everything I need in the kit?

    All the materials you need to make the stool are included in the kit. You will just need a few basic tools, which we’ve listed below.

  • What tools do I need?

    We’ve designed the stool so that it requires the use of very few tools. You can find information about what you will need on the handout, which was included in the kit. You can also find information here:

    www.ministryofupholstery.co.uk/onlinecoursekit

  • How much space do I need?

    We’d recommend you set yourself up somewhere you have a fairly large, flat surface area. You’ll need to lay out your metre of fabric, so basically wherever you can do that, you can work. If you don’t have a table or surface big enough for this, then don’t worry. You can always mark out your fabric on the floor and make your stool on any surface where it can fit with a bit of extra space around you for your tools!

  • How should I use the tutorial?

    We have split the tutorial into chapters to make it easier for you to navigate. We recommend that you watch the chapter in its entirety before you start the chapter. This gives you an idea of where you are going and where you’ll be by the end of the chapter. You can watch each chapter as many times as you like. You can pause whenever you like and go backwards and forwards as you see fit.

  • Do I have to make it in one go?

    No of course not. Just dip in and out as you like. The tutorial is split into chapters so that you have natural stop points.

  • What happens if I get stuck?

    We advise watching the whole chapter before tackling it. This will give you a clear picture of where you’re going. Sometimes Anthony will mention to tips and tricks in the middle of a chapter so always listen out for these. If you’ve watched the chapter a couple of times and are still struggling to follow it, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and we should be able to troubleshoot any issues. You can contact us via email on [email protected] or by phone on 0161 222 4243.

  • How long will it take?

    The tutorial is just over an hour long, but the time it will take to complete the course is totally dependent on the individual. We think that the footstool could be completed in one day if you were to tackle it in one sitting. However, this is your course to take as and when you see fit. As we’ve broken it down into chapters, it is easy to dip in and out.

  • Is it messy?

    Generally there is not a lot of mess in the making of this stool. The only thing you will need to be wary of is when you are attaching your foam to your frame. For this you will need a product called Spray Adhesive, which is a double contact glue. We would recommend that you protect your work area when you are using this spray, either with an old sheet or blanket or with some plastic such as a bin bag. The likelihood is that if you’ve not used it before, that you will get some spray around the edges of the foam and frame. There is no need to worry about ventilation when using this.

  • How do I use the paint/wax?

    There is a handout from Fusion, included in your kit, which will explain how to use the paint and wax. For the paint you will need a small brush (small enough to get into the opening of the pot). For the wax you will simply need an old lint free cloth. The paint needs two coats with about an hour between coats (until it is completely dry). Wax also should have two coats with at least two hours between coats. Wax can be buffed after 24 hours again with an old lint free cloth. The paint does not require any top coat.

  • Can I buy more kits to make more stools?

    Yes! Once you’ve made one you may want to make more of these stools. Maybe you want to give them as presents or simply practice your technique! You can buy the kit with or without fabric. Please email [email protected] to order more kits and for more information.

  • How long can I access the tutorial?

    Forever! You can view the course as many times as you like.

  • Can I share the tutorial?

    Whilst we cannot stop you from giving your login details to someone else, we have spent a huge amount of time, money and energy producing this tutorial and we would kindly ask that you respect this by not sharing your details.

  • Can my kids get involved?

    Yes absolutely! There are a couple of things to be wary of. The buttons are fairly sharp and you should take care when pushing them through the fabric and opening out the prongs. If you are using a staple gun, then we would recommend that children do not operate this.

Payment & Gift Vouchers

  • When will I receive my online order?

    If you have placed an order through our online upholstery shop then the postage times will be as follows:

    • Orders under £15 with £4.95 postage paid: 2-3 working days
    • Orders under £15 with £9.50 postage paid and order received before 12pm: next working day delivery
    • Orders under £15 with £9.50 postage paid and order received after 12pm: order will be delivered 2 days after it was placed
    • Gift vouchers are sent via first class post, 2-3 days should be allowed for delivery
  • How much does postage cost for online shop orders?

    Orders under £15 can be posted from £4.95, which will be 2-3 working days delivery time. If you prefer you can upgrade to our next working day delivery (on orders received before 12pm) for £9.50. Orders over £15 will automatically be sent on next working day delivery and will cost £9.50 postage. Gift vouchers are posted free of charge and will take 2-3 days.

  • What T&Cs apply to my gift voucher?

    Please note that gift vouchers are non-refundable. They can be upgraded or transferred to another course. If they are transferred to another course which carries less value than the value of the voucher, then no refund will be given for the difference but this can be spent on any products at  Ministry of Upholstery or used in part payment for another course.

  • If I have had a change of circumstance and I can no longer attended, can I cancel or reschedule?

    If you cancel in writing (via email to [email protected]) at least 14 days prior to the course starting, we can offer a full refund or reschedule you to a course later in the year.

    If you cancel in writing (via email to [email protected]) between 7 and 13 days prior to the course starting, we can offer a 50% refund or reschedule you to a course later in the year.

    If you cancel in writing with fewer than 7 days till the course starts, we sadly can’t offer a refund but can happily offer to reschedule you to a course later in the year.

    Unfortunately we are unable to re-schedule your course more than two times. If you cancel within 24 hours of the course commencing, then unfortunately we cannot offer you a refund but will happily re-schedule you to another date. This will incur a £45 late cancellation fee.

  • Is the cost of materials included in the course fee?

    Each course will detail what is included in the cost of course on our courses page. In most instances all materials are covered except fabric, fire-retardant calico and replacement seat pads.

  • How do I pay for my course?

    Our booking system enables you to pay securely by credit or debit card through PayPal. You can also pay over the phone on 0161 222 4243 or by popping in.

  • Can I buy a course for a friend, or buy a gift voucher?

    Yes, you can! There is an option on each course to buy it as a gift voucher. You will be asked for the recipient’s name and it will be posted via first class post within 48 hours in an unmarked envelope.

  • How do I redeem gift vouchers?

    If you have been purchased a gift voucher for one of our courses then please select the date you require from the choice on our website and once you have done this please call us on 0161 222 4243 or email us on [email protected].

  • Do I have to pay up front for courses?

    Yes! All our courses need to paid for in full prior to the start of the course. If you are booking more than a month in advance then we can take a 50% deposit to reserve the place. The remaining 50% will then be payable 2 weeks before the course starts. To book in this way please call us on 0161 222 4243.

Transport

  • How easy it is to get to the workshop by public transport?

    Very! We are located less than a 10 minute walk or a 2 minute cab ride from Manchester Piccadilly train station.

  • Can I park?

    Yes, we have our own car park.

Upholstery Tips

  • What do I need in my toolkit to get started?

    Check out our Starter Kit. This contains everything we have in our toolboxes at the Ministry and all the essential tools you’ll need for any upholstery project. This kit contains a magnetic upholstery hammer, a regulator, a tack lifter, a pair of shears and a pair of pincers.

  • What do I need to upholster a drop in dining seat?

    If you are tackling your own dining chairs and the seat is the kind that ‘pops’ out, then this is what is known as a drop in seat. We sell Drop in Seat Kits that contain everything you need in one handy, pre-cut package! Our kits contain jute web, hessian, foam, felt, Dacron and dipryl all cut to approximate size.

  • Which staple gun should I buy?

    Used throughout the upholstery industry since the 1960s, the pneumatic air staple gun is the upholsterers gun of choice. With no electrical components and very little in the way of moving parts, the staple gun is a tried and tested reliable piece of equipment and a must for anyone considering this as a serious hobby or career.

    Pneumatic air staple guns require air compressors to power them, so if you don’t already have one of these, then you may wish to consider choosing one of our complete Compressor Kits.

    If you are only completing one small project or have a smaller budget, then you might want to consider using a manual staple gun.

  • Do I need an air compressor?

    We believe that if you want to tackle any sizeable project, multiple projects or are thinking about upholstery as a career, then a pneumatic staple gun and an air compressor will be worth its weight in gold. An air compressor is the machine that is used to power a pneumatic air staple gun. When it comes to choosing a compressor it can be very baffling. They come in various different sizes, non-silent and silent, oil-filled and oil-less. We have done all the work for you and have selected our favourite compressor for use in your home or home workshop. Not only that but we’ve teamed it with our recommended air staple gun and, because we want to make life as simple as possible for you, we also supply the airline needed to connect the gun to the compressor. The airline comes complete with fittings too so when you buy a kit from us, you can literally plug it all in and you’re ready to go! On top of all this, we also throw in a box of staples.

    If you are only completing one small project or have a smaller budget then you might want to consider using a manual staple gun.

  • Which size compressor should I buy?

    We offer two different sizes of compressor, a 25 Litre and a 50 Litre. The 25 Litre will happily power one staple gun all day long, it will happily fit into most homes and home workshops and is perfect for most hobbyists and amateur upholstery enthusiasts. If you wish to run more than one staple gun from a compressor at any one time, or if you wish to use the compressor with other air tools, such as an air spray gun, then you may want to think about upgrading to the 50 Litre version. The 50 Litre compressor will happily power up to 4 or 5 guns at once.

    The staple gun we provide with the kits is known as a 71 Series staple gun and is the industry recognised standard staple gun. It is the gun that we use at the Ministry in all our classes and is used by all upholstery experts.

  • Which webbing should I use?

    Before there were pre-fabricated spring units, webbing would be applied as the first layer, providing suspension. We offer three different kinds and your choice will be dictated by where on the furniture you are building the padding.

    Jute webbing is the most common webbing, it is cheap and can be stitched through. It offers no elasticity or give. It is used traditionally under springs. It can also be used on backs and arms.

    Poly (or polypropylene to give it its full title) is made from woven plastic. It is cheaper than jute and can be used for masking edges in place of jute.

    Elasticated webbing is designed to stretch and should only be used under foam. It is ideal for under seat pads.

  • Which fabric should I use for upholstery?

    The truth is that you can use any fabric for upholstery. At the Ministry we’ve upholstered with basketball shirts, rugby tops, jeans and many more! You can of course buy specific upholstery grade fabric and this normally comes with a rub test or Martindale test, which will give you a good indication of how hard-wearing the fabric is. In the end your choice of fabric will be dictated by how much wear the chair is going to get.

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