How to Fix Burn Holes on a Couch

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Burn holes on a couch are unsightly since they're usually in highly visible areas. On the bright side, these minor holes in upholstery materials are often easy to repair, either by making a small patch or with a vinyl and leather repair kit in a matching color. Here's how to fix burn holes on a couch.

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Trim the Burned Area First

In many cases, the area around the hole might appear burned or darker than the surrounding sofa upholstery no matter the type of upholstery. Gently scrape these burned areas with the edge of a craft knife, working toward the center of the hole. Continue scraping to remove all the charred material and then vacuum the area to remove any burned particles. Use small scissors or the craft knife to carefully trim away any dangling fibers or fibers that are still burned after scraping around the hole. The goal is to make a tidy, clean hole.

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Patch Fiber-Based Upholstery

The nice thing about making a patch for a hole in a couch is that the couch itself may supply the patch material. Look for an area that's never normally visible, such as the bottom of the couch or some spare fabric inside a zippered throw pillow, to cut a small piece of upholstery material to serve as the patch for the burn hole. If the couch upholstery has an obvious pattern to it, as is the case with some woven fabrics, cut the piece large enough to get an exact match for the area surrounding the hole. Follow these steps:

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  1. Cut a piece of scrap denim, canvas, or even part of a clothing patch to push into the hole to act as a subpatch. This piece should be large enough to extend 1/2 inch beyond the burn hole in all directions. The shape of this piece doesn't need to be symmetrical since it will go underneath the hole rather than above it.
  2. Push the subpatch piece into the hole with tweezers and manipulate it so it's centered beneath the hole.
  3. Dab fabric glue onto the edges of the piece with a toothpick, tugging up on the couch material to get the glue in position to hold the subpatch to the upholstery.
  4. Once that dries, cut the upholstery patch to exactly fit the burn hole. Make sure the fabric alignment also matches so the patch won't be obvious.
  5. Apply the same fabric glue to the underside of the patch, set the patch in place with tweezers, and then smooth it down so the glue sticks the patch to the subpatch.
  6. Weigh down the area with a book for a couple of hours or until the glue sets.

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Patch Leather and Pleather

Patch leather, pleather, vinyl, and similar upholstery fabrics by using a vinyl and leather repair kit. The following method uses a tinted filler in the hole to seal the hole area:

  1. Cut a subpatch from denim, canvas, or a clothing patch so the material extends at least 1/2 inch beyond the hole on all sides.
  2. Push that into the hole with tweezers, center it, and then apply fabric glue to its perimeter so the subpatch sticks to the upholstery above it.
  3. Choose a leather filler kit that matches the upholstery color or that includes several tints to mix your own shades. In some cases, the colorant goes on top of the filler rather than throughout.
  4. Clean the area thoroughly with the kit's cleaner and then apply the filler material over the hole with a small putty knife or even a plastic knife, doing your best to keep it only on the hole.
  5. Wipe away any filler that gets onto the actual upholstery, wiping toward the hole.

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The instructions vary a bit from one brand to the next; in some cases, several thin layers are better than one layer thick enough to match the level of the upholstery. Create texture over the area if desired by dabbing on a textured-grain pad or a scrap piece of the same upholstery, such as a piece cut from under the couch. Lift it after a few minutes or as recommended on the filler kit package. Sand the area gently if your filler kit recommends doing so.

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