How to Make a DIY Bean Bag Chair

Young Woman Reading in a DIY Beanbag Chair

The Spruce Crafts / Mollie Johanson

Overview
  • Total Time: 2 - 3 hrs
  • Yield: 1
  • Estimated Cost: $60

Curl up with a good book or relax as you watch your favorite shows in this slouchy DIY bean bag chair. It's easy to sew with all straight seams and a great size for teens and adults.

Canvas drop cloths are an inexpensive fabric option that holds up well but also gives you the option to customize. You can leave the material plain and add some colorful throw pillows or decorate the fabric with paint or stitching.

Traditionally, bean bag chairs use polystyrene beads as a filler, but for this project, we recommend shredded foam, which is more commonly used in oversized floor cushion-style bean bags. It's soft and squishy, while still providing good support. The sample bean bag is only partially filled so that it's more slouchy, but you can add additional filler until the firmness is to your liking.

By sewing your own bean bag, you can save money and create something fun for yourself at the same time.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Scissors (ideally fabric scissors)
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Long ruler or yardstick
  • Pencil
  • Needle

Materials

  • 2 canvas drop cloths, 6 feet x 9 feet each
  • 30 pounds shredded foam
  • Thread
  • Waxed perle cotton or upholstery thread

Instructions

  1. Cut the Drop Cloths

    Fold one corner of the drop cloth over to the opposite edge so that you can cut it down to a square. Use scissors to cut the square, following the edge that you folded over

    Repeat with the second drop cloth.

    Fold and Cut the Dropcloths Into Squares
    Mollie Johanson
  2. Pin and Sew the Drop Cloths

    Pin the two drop cloth pieces with right sides together. Mark one side with a 15-inch space to leave unsewn as an opening.

    Pin and Sew the Squares Together
    Mollie Johanson

    Sew around the square, leaving a one-inch seam allowance. Take the pins out as you sew. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end, leaving that 15-inch opening.

    Next, sew around the shape again, this time sewing about 1/4 inch out from the first seam (3/4 inch from the edge).

    Tip

    Drop cloths are unlikely to be perfectly even/square, and that's okay! This project is very forgiving, so even if the edges are uneven, it will still work and you'll have finished edges on several sides of the material.

    Sew a Second Seam for Reinforcement
    Mollie Johanson
  3. Make Boxed Corners

    At each corner, open the fabric and fold it so that the two side seams align with each other. The seams should now be centered and coming from the middle of the two opposite sides of your newly folded square.

    Measure and mark 18 inches from the corner on each side. Use a long quilting ruler or yardstick to mark an angled line from the two marked points. Cut off the corner, following the marked line.

    Pin and sew the cut edges together two times for reinforcement, just as you sewed around the edge before. You should also backstitch across the seam at the center to reinforce that stitching.

    Fold, Trim, and Box the Corners of the Beanbag
    Mollie Johanson

    After cutting and sewing all four corners, turn the bean bag right side out.

    Turn the Beanbag Right Side Out
    Mollie Johanson
  4. Fill the Bean Bag Chair

    Fill the bean bag with shredded foam. It helps to have two people do this so you can have one person holding the bean bag opening and another person working the foam into the bag.

    Use enough foam to make the chair comfortable, but it shouldn't be full. The sample shown here has about 20 pounds of shredded conventional (non-memory) foam from Foam Factory.

    Fill the Beanbag With Shredded Foam
    Mollie Johanson
  5. Sew the Opening Closed

    Fold under the seam allowance of the opening and sew it closed. You can do this by machine, but the filled bean bag can be quite cumbersome to work with. It's much easier to hand sew the opening with strong stitches.

    Use perle cotton coated with beeswax or extra-strong upholstery thread and stitch across the opening with a slip stitch. Make sure the stitches are small so that the foam can't escape. To add even more security, follow your stitches with a small overcast stitch across the stitched seam.

    Tip

    If you want to make the outside of the bean bag removable, follow all these steps, but make the bag from old sheets. Use that as the bean bag insert. Make the outside of the bag the same size, but make the opening 24 inches and insert a zipper so you can remove the insert and launder the cover.

    Sew the Opening Closed
    Mollie Johanson

A basic canvas bean bag is versatile and can work with lots of home decor styles. If you want to add some pizazz to your beanbag chair, you can tie-dye it or use fabric paint to stencil patterns. You could also stitch simple designs on the drop cloths with yarn and a giant needle.

DIY Beanbag Chair Made With Dropcloths

The Spruce Crafts / Mollie Johanson