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House of Miniatures Sofa - A Semi Tutorial

It`s been a long time since I made a tutorial.  So, this is sort of a semi tutorial, because its not from scratch, but it is my process and tweeks.

The House of Miniatures Chippendale Sofa is a classic shape and just so darn comfy looking.  I managed to get a kit on Ebay and it sat for a long time.  Then recently I read the instructions and I wasn`t impressed.  I thought, I would never assemble it like this.....but I have a quirky way of looking at things, so why not make this a tutorial build and hope that someone else might like to assemble the sofa like me!  If you`ve never build anything, this might not be a good first build or tutorial to follow.   But for the rest of you, it might make sense!

My biggest pet peeve with the instructions in that they ask you to cover the pieces with fabric THEN glue the whole thing together.  This just seems like a recipe for disaster.  I think wood should be glued to wood first, then upholster.  I`ve seen too many HOM pieces at sales and on Ebay that look like they are falling apart because the glue has degraded on the fabric and the pieces is in shambles.

Here we go! And I apologize for some of the oddly lit and less pretty pics, as I worked on some of it at night and didn`t have natural light.

What You Need

  • The House of Miniatures Chippendale Sofa kit (No.40015)
    • If you don`t have the kit click here for the PDF from the HOM site
    • When you print the PDF and use it as a template it may not print to scale.  So, using PIECE 66 on page 2 of the LAYOUT SHEET - it should measure 13.2 cm wide and 4.9 cm tall (based on the actual size measured from the kit).  This way you can use your own wood.
  • Wood Glue
  • Aleene`s Tacky Glue
  • Sharp fabric scissors
  • Tiny nail manicure scissors 
  • Fabric of your choice
  • Wood Stain
  • Gluing jig (or something to ensure the wood base is square when gluing)
  • Iron or mini iron (mini iron is easier for creasing edges)

 Step 1 - Lay It Out

If you need to, use the instruction sheet and number your pieces.  I will not be explaining how to glue the wood base together because the instuctions are great for this and its just a matter of using wood glue.  But one word on this, glue small sections of the base together at a time and left them dry.  Much easier.

Lay out your pieces.  Figure out how they butt up to each other before you apply glue! Then glue them together. Yes, do the opposite of the instructions, glue that wood together!!

Step 2 - Arm Dowel

The arms require you to glue the half dowel to the side to form a rolled arm.  The dowel was slightly longer then the side piece so I sanded the dowel.

**If you are using the PDF and your own wood, slice a dowel in half to form the arm roll.**

Step 3 - Back and Batting

Take a piece of fabric and glue it (Aleen`s Tacky Glue) to the back of the sofa.  Don`t worry about edges, just ensure you wrap them just beyond the edges of what you are covering.  These edges will all be covered later!

Glue batting to the arm.  The batting should start 1 cm from the sofa base and continue to the underside of the arm roll and down the side.  I do this to avoid odd bumps! When you have fabric from both the back and front of the arm glued down, you have an empty space of wood between them (see 2 picture down) forward to when you cover the arm with fabric to side the seems.  You will then have seam `humps`at the edges and a valley between.  The batting levels this in the middle!  See the pictures to better understand my ramblings. 

Step 4 - Front of Arm Fabric

Using Aleene`s Tacky Glue, glue a pieces of fabric to the from of the arms. ENSURE YOUR FABRICS PATTERN-DESIGN IS GOING THE SAME WAY! 

Once the piece has dried THEN begin to make small snips to the edge of the wood.  This way you can glue and fold the edges down.

Proceed to glue another piece of fabric over the front edge (the sofa base).

 Step 5 - Covering The Arms

I actually tried using the pattern to ensure it would be helpful...and it is. It does fit and is workable.  I seldom use patterns and I usually just drape fabric and fit`n`glue and as I go.  But that isn`t really helpful when you are looking for instructions!

When you lay your pattern out, make sure you know where each part of the pattern relates to the sofa.  The image below makes it clear.  Also ENSURE YOUR FABRICS PATTERN-DESIGN IS GOING THE SAME WAY! Double check before you cut!

This next part is great if you have a mini iron (I have a Clover Mini-Iron).  Using the pattern as a guide, I fold and crease the fabric using my mini iron.  Now you have the back and bottom creased for installation!

I didn`t use the pattern for the front rounded edge because, frankly, it was a little off and wonky (and my fabric is a bit thick).  Holding my creased edges in place, I took the front edge and tucked it under to match the curve of the arm.  I then creased it with my finger (mini iron works too).  I took the whole piece off and quickly applied glue to hold the creases down and glue to the arm.  Then I glued it all in place in one step.  Aleen`s Tacky Glue on fabric has a few minutes of play time before it firms up (especially on this thicker fabric), so you can re tuck and adjust the edges until you`re happy.

Step 6 - Cushion Covering

I used batting instead of foam to cover the back cushion.  I applied 2 layer of batting to the back and seat cushion to build up the cushion and make it more comfy looking. I found the thin foam the kit provides gives a harsh angular appearance that looks uncomfortable to sit on.

When gluing the batting on the back cushion, leave 1 cm battling free on the bottom, but covered in fabric.  This allows the seat cushion to fit in tightly to the back cushion.

Now that you have added batting to the arm sides and fabric, you may need to trim the seat wood to get it to fit!  If not, then just apply 2 layers of batting and your fabric.  Then glue both the back and seat into place with glue.

Step 7 - Finish It Up!

My tweed fabric was a bit thicker then the usual cotton I upholster with, so I decided that I didn`t want piping around my edges or seams.  If you are using a thin cotton, you might want to because there will likely be a bit of gap along the front of the arm.  It`s up to you and often dependent on the fabric you choose.

If you`re looking for a wonderful piping tutorial, head over to 1 Inch Minis by Kris and follow her pillow piping tutorial.

I used wood glue to attach the base to the sofa.  I then put a paperweight on the sofa to ensure it stayed level while it dried.

There you have it.  It`s not rocket science, its just a little different approach then the HOM way.  As long as you go slowly and allow the glue to dry at each step before try the next one, things should go smoothly!


  • Apply glue in THIN coats.  Thick glue will bleed through thin cotton.  And if that is a dark cotton, you can`t hide it.  I`ve tried...and failed
  • Let it step dry before going on.  Tacky glue on fabric can take up to 30 minutes to dry on fabric.
  • Keep your fingers clean of glue.  
  • Stay clear of fabrics that are shiny, stretchy and slippery.  You`re asking for a nightmare.  And unless you care comfortable with mini upholstery, small patterns or stripes can be tough. Let your pillows have the pattern!

Feel free to comment and ask questions.  I am always glad to help and further clarify if something doesn`t sound right!