Monday, April 6, 2009

Sofa - Foam Part 2

Continuing with the foam-for-furniture theme, this is project
#2 - a child's fold-out sofa. They're everywhere in the stores,
but they are always upholstered in a thin cotton slipcover with
a TV or movie character on it. When we first moved here,
Emily was one and desperate for "just my size" furniture. I
rather liked the idea of these fold-out sofas but I wasn't
crazy about the upholstery options.

Would you believe it - I couldn't find a single solid or even
a print (I would've embraced even florals) specimen. None!
Therefore it had to be made. Was it cheaper than the $30
store-bought ones? Yes, but not by a whole lot, because,
being naive, I paid full-price for the foam then. Was it a lot
of work? Not really, since it was just joining rectangular
pieces of fabric together. Was it worth the time and effort?
To not have cartoony characters permanently sitting
in my living room? Yes, yes, yes.

I used home decor-weight fabric, along with 3" high density
foam. I am pleased to report that that combination was
rugged enough to have withstood 3 years of constant abuse
by the smalls. Here are some pictures I took last week,
showing, in its sun-bleached, autographed, lopsided glory,

the sofa

that folds out into a little bed for napping

and an in-between configuration that's been used as
a plane, bus, car, shop, ship, bathtub and anything
else the kids could think up.

It has been dragged everywhere by every side and corner,
decorated, jumped on, forced to be a slide, and used as a
barricade to keep siblings out of other siblings' territories.
But its most useful role to date is photography prop -
Emily was already a sitter by the time we moved here, but
the two younger girls were plonked in this sofa as bobble-
headed newborns, posed and mercilessly photographed.

Well-used, in other words, and much-loved.

Still, I thought it would be nice to see it in its heyday when
it was crisp and clean (and to see Emily when she would
sit, all ladylike, and read board books):

No tutorial for this, because I don't plan on making a new
one when this one just refuses to keel over and die. But if
anyone is interested in making this someday, here is a
printable sheet of the sofa - deconstructed, with dimensions:

Incidentally, I am going to be posting quite a few of these
printable instruction sheets in the future - it's so much
faster to sketch a tutorial than photograph the process!
I was surprised to find out recently that some readers have
been printing out some of my tutorials, poor things. If I'd
known, I might have tried to limit myself to only one million
photos. So from now on, if I think a sketch might be more
efficient than several useless photos, I'll do a printable
sheet- save trees, save ink, save time.

Well, we are done with foam-for-practical-household-uses.
Next up: something whimsical, colorful and a bit impractical!


  1. Woah! You make furniture!

    Have examined your sketch and have abundant questions, which I will subsequently e-mail to you re the making of it. Keke...

    Am myself on the first stages of making a child-sized bean bag for N for lazy lounging. When she's bigger, I might make a trip to the nearby foam factory and order custom-sized pieces for a reading sofa for her. Maybe.

  2. Very nice. Totally know the feeling about not wanting cartoon characters on furniture. I've had similar difficulties finding child size things like chairs and backpacks.

  3. Thank you for inspiring me to make a special gift for my daughter's birthday. Love your blog!

  4. I'm loving your sofa creation. Will definatly make this as the inflatable ones always seem to burst and i can't find any foam one's i like in the shops. Great.

  5. You hinted that you didn't have to pay full price for the foam? What's the alternative?

  6. @Lynn
    Lynn, I used the 50% off coupon, which saved a good amount off the price. It's also worth waiting for the 50%-off-foam sale- JoAnn has these several times a year.

  7. How did you connect the foam pieces? Also how much foam and fabric was needed for the project?

    1. The foam pieces within the sofa seat are not connected to each other (by glue or anything adhesive). The fabric sections connect them. The foam pieces in the backrest and arms of the sofa are connected by glue. I cannot remember which glue I used, it was so long ago. I also don't remember how much fabric or foam I used. You will need to do some Math with the measurements in the sheet to figure that out yourself.

    2. Hi. Do you have the measurements of the fabric you used? Or could you tell me how you made your fabric cover?

  8. You are awesome, thanks for posting this!

  9. Can you remember the thickness of the foam? I would love to make my one for my son's 2nd birthday.

  10. Nevermind... I totally read it and it didn't click. Got it! :)

  11. Hiya! Many thanks for posting this :D
    I used your guidelines and just finished a chair version for my little girl - she LOVES it!
    Thank you and hope you're still having lots of fun creating cool stuff!

  12. I LOVED my flip sofa when I was a kid!
    My daughters first birthday is coming up, and I was planning on buying her one, but now I can make it! Thank you so much!

    - Riannah @ Baby Toes and Espresso

  13. I loved having a flip sofa when I was a kid!
    This is a wonderful post! I found it just in time for my daughters birthday, too!

    Riannah @ Baby Toes and Espresso

  14. Hi I'm so glad I found you. I'm intending to recycle my thick foam mattress pad and make it into this same thing as my little nook corner chair. but I need help with the covers. how did you sew them all together? I'm actually a little stuck.

  15. HI! I'm so glad I came across this! (a Joann fabrics clerk actually told me to check pinterest for more info!) My nieces outgrew theirs even though they're only 2 and 3. They're really tall for their ages! I plan on making one for them for Christmas. I may be inundating you with emails!

  16. Hi! This is great! Do you have a sketch for the cover as well?

  17. Do you happen to have pattern or instructions for the covering?


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