How to Make a Flip Open Sofa for Kids
Children often like to have their own space for different activities, such as reading, playing games or relaxing. Flip open foam sofas are a comfortable and cost-effective solution for this because they can be customized for your child in several ways.
This type of foam furniture can be purchased as a completed piece for up to to $250 as of February 2011, but with some craft knowledge, you can make a customized flip open foam sofa for your child for a fraction of that cost.
Making the Foam Base
Apply hot glue to the surface of one piece of foam cushion. Position another piece of foam directly on top of the glue and line up the edges until they are flush. Hold the two pieces together for two minutes until the glue has bonded. Repeat this step five times so that you have six pieces of double thick foam.
Apply hot glue to one of the 17-inch long sides of one of the doubled foam pieces and attach it to one of the 17 -inch edges of another double thick foam piece so that the pieces are flush, doubling the width. Hold the pieces together for two minutes to allow the glue to set. Repeat this step twice so that you have three double width, double thick foam pieces.
Apply hot glue to the one of the long edges of one large foam piece. Attach it to the face of another of the large pieces, flush with the long edge of that piece at a 90 degree angle. This will create an L-shape and serve as the base of the sofa. Hold the glued edges in place for two minutes to allow the glue to set and turn over so that the shorter of the two pieces is on top.
Position one of the two remaining pieces of two inch thick foam on one of the sides of the L-shaped sofa base, like an arm rest. Apply hot glue to the edges of the sofa base and attach the arm piece. Hold in place for two minutes and repeat on the other side.
Slip the other long piece of double thickness foam into the seat area of the sofa base to ensure that it fits easily. Do not glue it together. Set the unglued foam piece aside.
Sewing the Cover for the Sofa
Measure the bottom of the sofa base. The bottom should measure to 34 inches wide and 17 inches deep. If your measurements differ, write them down and create your sofa cover to fit those measurements. Add two inches to the depth and width for a seam allowance. Measure and mark a rectangle on the wrong side of the fabric to the adjusted measurement for the bottom of the sofa. Cut out the rectangle, keeping your cuts as straight as possible.
Repeat the measuring and cutting process with the fabric for the back rest portion of the seat base, which should measure 34-inch by 21-inch before adding the seam allowance.
Measure the front part of the backrest portion of the sofa base, which should measure 13 inches tall by 30 inches wide. Add five inches to the height measurement and two inches to the width measurement, then cut out a rectangle that fits the measurements. The added five inches in height allows the fabric to fit over the thickness of the backrest. Repeat this with the seat section, adding five inches to the depth measurement and two inches to the width measurement.
Cut out two 21-inch by 19-inch rectangles of fabric to cover the outsides of the arm rests. Cut out two 12-inch by 14-inch rectangles of fabric for the inside of the arm rests. Cut out two 31-inch by 36-inch rectangles to cover the flip cushion. Cut out two 6-inch by 1- inch strips of fabric to cover the front bottom portion of the arm rests.
Begin sewing the fabric pieces together with the wrong side out using a straight stitch setting on your sewing machine. Line up the two fabric pieces for the flip cushion and sew together along the edges, leaving one of the 36-inch sides open to slip the cushion through.
Flip the fabric right side out and push the cushion in through the open end as far as it will go. Sew the open end shut as close to the cushion as possible, then fold the rough ends of the excess fabric in 1/2 inch and sew shut. This will leave a 4-inch flap of fabric that you will later attach to the rest of the sofa.
Sew the fabric that will cover the seat area to the bottom fabric piece along the longer side, with a 3-inch space on either side of the seat piece for the arm rest fabric. Attach the larger arm rest fabric pieces to the side edges of the bottom fabric piece, then attach the fabric strips to front edge of the arm rest pieces.
Sew the bottom of the strips to the bottom fabric piece, creating a corner for the sofa base to fit snugly into. Sew the seat fabric piece to the strips for a 4-inch space, so that the seat fabric will cover the front of the seat cushion. Sew the smaller piece of arm rest fabric to the top edge of the larger arm rest pieces, then to the sides of the seat fabric and the front arm piece strips. The sofa seat shape will be apparent at this point.
Sew the front piece of the back rest fabric along the wide edge to the remaining edge of the seat fabric, then sew the sides to the inside pieces of the arm rest fabric. Sew the back piece of the back rest fabric to the top edge of the front back rest fabric. This will create the nearly finished shape of the sofa.
Sew the sides of the back rest piece to the outside arm rest fabric pieces and any other small holes in the seams, leaving the bottom back seam open. Flip the sofa cover right side out and push all the corners out so that the sofa base will fit into the cover snugly. Sew the 4-inch flap from the flip cushion to the front of the seat cushion area, positioning the edge as close to the bottom of the seat cushion fabric as possible.
Slip the sewed cover over the sofa base and push it into the corners to fit completely over all the foam. Fold the open fabric edges in toward the foam and sew together to close the open edge of the sofa. Fold the flip cushion in to sit inside the seat of the sofa.
Things You Will Need
- Measuring tape
- 14 pieces of two inch thick 15-inch by 17-inch high density chair foam pads
- Sharp scissors
- Hot glue gun with hot glue sticks
- Fabric pencil
- 17 yards of durable fabric of your choice
- Color coordinated thread
- Sewing machine
You can use 2-inch thick foam sheet rolls in the place of the pre-cut foam cushions, but the roll will need to be cut to fit the measurements. The sofa can be made larger using bigger pieces of thicker foam for older kids. Adding a fabric protector or using a liquid resistant fabric like vinyl will make it easier to clean the surface of the sofa.
Use extreme caution when working with hot glue to avoid serious burns.
Be careful not to burn or melt the foam pieces with the hot tip of the glue gun, as the foam can emit noxious fumes if burned or melted.
Linda Becksterhed is a professional writer with a legal and crafting focus. She handled creation and distribution of fan newsletters from 1998 to 2001 and maintains an entertainment blog. She is a paralegal and an accomplished fiber artist, specializing in yarn, spinning fibers and crochet and knit designs.
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- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images