How to Make a Homemade Chair Cushion or Bean Bag Chair

More and more people are taking steps towards becoming more self sufficient and resourceful but even the most handy individual may balk at the idea of entering the realm of furniture creation. There is no need to be shy and an excellent project for getting started is something small. A simple beanbag or chair cushion is a great beginner project.

How to Get Started

The most difficult part of the project is finding the plans, patterns or design to follow. A beginner must have some sort of guiding influence to see successful results with this type of project. There are a wide variety of pre-made patterns available for bean bags or chair cushions.

An alternative to patterns is using existing cushions or bean bags as a guide. There are a variety of places to get used furniture for this purpose. Using an old chair or bean bag instead of a pattern can actually be easier for a first time project. More on the method later.

Choosing the Materials

A good choice of fabric is absolutely essential for the life of the piece; furniture takes a beating even with the gentlest owner. It may be overwhelming when browsing the fabric store but when all else fails rely on touch; look for a heavy duty fabric that is tough, strong and durable. Quilting and clothing fabric aren’t durable enough for this job. The thread for the project should be the heaviest gauge available.

The Tools for the Job

A sewing machine is essential for this task even if one is an excellent hand sewer; there is no straighter or tighter seam than the one made by a machine. If an individual doesn’t have their own machine one could be borrowed from a friend; it’s surprising how many people either own a sewing machine or know someone who does. The hand sewing for this project will be kept to an absolute minimum.

Using Another Piece as a Springboard

The method for both a bean bag and a chair is the same so these instructions are good for both. This technique could be applied to a bigger project such as a couch as well; the sky’s the limit.

  1. Evaluate the condition of the foam in an existing piece; sometimes it’s possible to get lucky and find a piece with good foam that simply has a stained cover. If the foam is in poor condition measure it off and purchase new foam, cutting it to the same dimensions. For projects like bean bag chairs take a look at the beans and if they’re in poor shape just buy new beans; they are available at the craft store.
  2. Once the filling is secured, take the fabric cover and turn it inside out. Using a seam ripper, cut and remove the seams holding it all together. Make sure to keep track of what piece goes where; it is best to tackle this project in one sitting if possible.
  3. Now that the fabric is in pieces, use each piece as a guide. Lay the pieces down on the new fabric and using a pencil or fabric chalk get to tracing. Leave an inch extra around each piece but make sure to waste as little fabric as possible. Imagine cutting cookies out of rolled out dough; that’s the idea here.
  4. Baste the pieces together and do a test fitting. If the cover looks good when either filled with beans or foam then put strong, permanent stitches in the piece, leaving a slit in the fabric large enough to insert the filling. This slit should be blindstitched afterward.

Enjoying Your New Piece

There is nothing quite like creating something like this yourself; the sense of pride can’t be beat. Inevitably, there will be extra fabric left over; these make great pillows to go with the furniture and really pull the entire room together.