Monday, July 18, 2011

DIY Sofa Tutorial

DIY Sofa!

We are really happy with how our sofa turned out! I would have never thought we could make our own, but this just goes to show that with a little research and creativity, anything is possible :-)

We googled and found some inspirations, but overall we pretty much did our own thing according to what we wanted for our theater area in the basement. 

To give credit where credit is due, my wonderful husband did the majority of this project. I was in charge of the cushions and moral support :) He wrote up this tutorial; let me know if you have any questions.

As a side note: I believe we spent around $130 for all the supplies we needed for this project, making it cheaper than buying new. I do realize that you could buy a used sofa probably for cheaper, but we like that this is new, clean and doesn't smell like anyone else's house :-) The cost could be cheaper depending on if you have any materials on hand already. It was also a fun project for us to do together!

We decided to go with a 80” long sofa, because our foam that we bought was for a Twin XL, which is 80” long.

Building Supplies Needed 

Some More supplies (though we ended up buying more pillows and drop cloths)

What you need:
4- 2x6 8’ boards, be sure to make sure they’re straight, some of mine warped on me and made this much more difficult than it should have been.
3- 2x4 8’ boards.  Make it 4 if you decide to use the 2x4 for the legs instead of a 4x4
1- 4x4 10’.  Lowe’s only had treated 4x4’s, I just found out yesterday that Menard’s has untreated 4x4’s, which would be the better route to go.
1- 1x4 8’
1- 4x8 plywood.  We used 3/8”, but you could go thicker to make it a little more solid, but I just used extra 2x4’s for bracing.
4” wood screws
1.25”, 3” drywall screws
Wood Glue
Spray Adhesive
Foam of your choice.  We used 4” 5.5 Memory Foam we bought from ebay for ~$55 for a Twin XL size.  It’s comfortable, but has some give to it.  A high density foam would be a little better, but is much more expensive.  For instance, at JoAnn’s we would have paid close to $150 for a 4” thick piece of high density foam.  Since this was a budget build we decided to go the cheaper route.
Carpet tiles or some other extremely dense material ~ .5”-1” thick.
Batting for covering the bare wood surfaces
8 pillows.  We used the $2.50 pillows from walmart for our large back pillows they worked out really well.
Canvas drop cloths.  We bought the 8 oz. drop cloths from Lowes, washed and dried them, and now they’re pretty comfortable.

How to:

Using the 2x6’s make your frame:
80” long x 33” wide, remember when cutting to make note of how you will secure your corner, as that will determine what your actual board lengths are.  For instance, I made the front and rear of the frame 80” long, so to make my sides 33” I had to subtract the width of the front and rear boards, each of which are 1.5” wide (for those that don’t know, 2x6’s are not actually 2x6, more like 1.5”x 5.5”).  Secure with 3” drywall screws.
Use some of the 2x4‘s to make supports going from front to rear.  You will also want to have supports going from left to right.  I placed mine towards the rear of the sofa, where I thought most of the weight would be.  Secure with 3” drywall screws.
Using the remaining 2x6’s cut the back pieces.
4 pieces at 23” long.  To make the back angle, start at the top of each piece and mark the 4” on the top.  From the top, measure 18” down and make a mark on the far side of the board, face down.  Now, draw a line from the 4” mark down to the bottom of the 18” mark on the far side.  Basically, you’re taking 1.5” off of the board to create an angle.  I put them inside the frame, at the far sides and two in the middle about 7” apart. Secure with 3” drywall screws.

Cut the 1x4 8’ down to 77” and secure across the top of the back supports.  Secure with 1.25” drywall screws
Cut the plywood to 26” x 80” and secure to the seat of the frame with 1.25” drywall screws.  Take the remaining piece and cut to 19”x 77”.  The piece should go from far left to far right back support.  Secure with 1.25” drywall screws.

Use the 4x4 for the legs and cut them at the desired height.  We wanted to add 10” to the height of the couch.  To do that, I cut 15” lengths and secured 5” of the leg to the inside of the frame.  If using a treated or untreated 4x4, be sure to cut off the corners of the bottom of each leg and sand very well to avoid severe splintering.  Secure the legs with 4” wood screws.  An aside,  the height of our couch with the legs on would have been too much to allow us to get the couch inside, make sure to do some measuring to know if you need to do some assembly of the couch in whatever room it’s going in.

With the frame assembled, and the legs put on, I attached the carpet tiles using spray adhesive and some 1.25” drywall screws for added strength.  The carpet tiles just introduce some extra padding, so the memory foam isn’t sitting directly on the plywood.

With the spray adhesive, attach the foam to the carpet tiles.  It shouldn’t require too much, for us the foam didn’t really want to move even without the adhesive.

Attach the batting with a little bit of adhesive and lots of staples.  To avoid punctures, we attached a piece of cardboard to the very back of the couch and then secured the batting.

Once, the batting is secure begin attaching the drop cloth, again after they’ve been through the wash.  Keep the cloth taut, but not too much.  You want the cloth to have some wiggle room.  We separated the cloth so we could attach the seat section first and then attach the back.

Now,  I’ll let Alanna talk about the pillows for the back.

That part is super easy-all you do is measure how big you want your pillows. We just wanted 2 big ones for the back. I used more of the drop cloth material and stuffed it with the stuffing from the pillows (we used 4 pillows worth of stuffing for each cushion) and then sewed the up.  

That's it! 

I added some accent pillows for some color :-)

We are so excited to finally have some decent seating for movie watching!

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask! :-)

Linking up to:

Tickled Pink at 504 Main


  1. Hi this is Taylor from the Hannah Handmade team, I was checking out your blog and your stuff is super cool! Come follow me back?!/pages/Hannah-Handmade/200408909971427

  2. Very impressive! And ps I totally love your blog design, especially the lovely background

  3. Hi there great work! looking at doing my own soon and cheking out peoples online efforts really like yours, so thanks for the ideas!

    As a side note i'm a projectionist in a cinema and just thought i'd mention that you might find the sound from your system slightly better if you raise your two side speakers so the cones are inline with your ears when sitting down and lower the sub (if possible) to reduce the drowning effect it would have on the higher frequencies, though it could just be the angle of the picture that makes them look a little low :)

    Charlie, uk.

  4. What are the dimensions of your two big pillows? THANKS!

  5. Hi, I really liked your sofa so I made my own based off of it. Here's a link to the album where I made a modified version with arms. Thank you so much for the blog post and details!