Why I Build Miniature Car Seats

Published by Naseem Muaddi on April 9th, 2012

For the past few years, I’ve been constructing miniature bench and buckets seats; upholstering them in various fabrics and custom patterns; and displaying them in my shop for customers to see and feel. I’ve found that they help customers to better visualize the designs I recommend for their vehicles.

These miniature seats also allow me to showcase different types of materials. There are a lot of unfair stereotypes about vinyl, so I upholstered one chair in Allante with Texsuede inserts. When I tell customers that both materials are simulations of leather and suede, their opinions immediately change.

Lately, I’ve also been making sample motorcycle seats. The pattern and material combinations for motorcycle seats are endless, so I try to use the most common ones to put on display. On my latest seat, I embroidered the Harley Davidson logo so that I could show customers firsthand what can be done with embroidery.

Using basic carpentry skills, the seats are really easy to construct. I create my bench and bucket seats out of 1″ by 4″ lumber and the motorcycle seats from 3/8” plywood. I find time to make them on weekends and slow days at my shop.

It’s actually been a lot of fun making these seats and I plan on making many more. I recommend that other auto upholstery shops do the same and hang them on their walls – as it makes selling jobs much easier.

For an in-depth how-to video on building mini motorcycle seats, check out our video: How to Build a Display Motorcycle Seat.

29 Responses

  1. Do you have any photos of the bucket seats? More photos of the different ones in general? Very good idea!

  2. stitcher_guy stitcher_guy says:

    Good idea. Similar to what I’ve done the last few years. We have a display tent and tables that I take to a few car shows every years. Instead of lugging along full-size seats, I have a couple boat bucket seats. The flipdown kind. I have one covered in tan and bright orange insert. It always grabs attention in the booth. I had a friend give me about 8 more similar seats. They lend themselves to being made up in hot rod style, or euro look, or to look like a mini leather seat replacement. The sky is the limit.

    I do the same thing with headliner patterns. I have a few on downsized 3/16″ panel board. I have one that is flamed and another with geometric shapes in alternate colors. These, again, are easier to display, store and transport than full-size headliners.

    My biggest problem with doing these is finding the time to make the samples.

  3. nsidemn nsidemn says:

    This may date me again but there was a company that made display seats like that in the 60’s out of cardboard. My folks had 15 or 20 of them. They also had a miniature convertible top display. I had forgot how effective they were until you showed this. May just have to make some myself. Thanks for sharing.

  4. EverardoLeal says:

    Just this Saturday customer walked in and requested the same thing. They wanted to see samples of finished work in this form. How wierd that this came up.

  5. ghostrider ghostrider says:

    Did you embroider the logo on the material?If you did it will tear thru in no time.Course if you embroidered it on cloth and then stitched it on the material using a wide stitch it could last…

    • I embroidered it right on the material. I’ve been doing it in this way for some time now and haven’t had any trouble. My embroidery guy backs the material with a cloth from the underside and I always choose a heavier gauge material to embroider.
      I do however try to convince customers to put the embroidery in a place that doesn’t get much wear (like headrests on seats) but some people choose style over function.

  6. Iain Nicholson says:

    This is an awesome idea, I’ll be doing this in my shop over here in England….. I’ve already purchased a speedway saddle but will be giving all your ideas alot of thought!!!

  7. ghostrider ghostrider says:

    I do custom stitching on M.C.Seat inserts in Black marine vinyl.I use a wide stitch and back it up with a tightly woven material that kirby vacume bags are made of.I make them full size so they are ready to go on a seat.People go thru them like a deck of cards and can pick out a design.This way they can see and feel my work…As soon as I figure out how to upload pics and get the time to do I will post some pics.

    • You can post pics in the forum section. To see how go to the “How To Use This Forum” section.

      • ghostrider ghostrider says:

        Thanks but this is what I seYou may use these HTML tags and attributes:


        • ghostrider ghostrider says:

          This is not working…I do not see three buttons…may use these HTML tags and attributes:


          • Nadeem says:

            Sorry you’re having troubles Ghostrider.

            If you’re trying to upload pics to a thread you started, click “New Topic” under the “Search Forums” bar near the top of the screen. That will take you to a page where you can enter text and upload image files using the three silver “choose file” buttons below the text you write.

            You will need to scroll to the bottom of the screen to see these “choose file” buttons.

            For more info: http://tinyurl.com/bnvd6jj

            Thanks for reading The Hog Ring. Looking forward to seeing your photos!

          • ghostrider ghostrider says:

            Where did my pics go?

  8. Sueann says:

    Thanks for the tip – I may do my office waiting room chairs with this idea – each one different materials

  9. upstateinterior says:

    Great idea for overstock cloth you have on hand.

  10. C.g.w. says:

    Looks very nice! I caution you on the use of the harley logo though, as they are some of the most anal about unauthorized usage of their logo!

  11. Lisa Lisa says:

    Would love to know how to build the mini seats! Any videos or step by step instructions?

  12. cprcustoms cprcustoms says:

    i have made a handfull of the motorcycle seats . even if it makes one sale they still look kick ass as book ends and wall hangers!

  13. tony says:

    Hi Do you sell these seats ?

    Please let me know if you do, just after a few basic front seats

    Thnaks Tony

  14. paul lundy says:

    what are the dimenisions of the seat ? please … id like to make some myself but i dont want them to look out of shape. thanks

  15. fred koch says:

    I have a collection of vintage miniature samples 28 total anyone know anything about them

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