Making Bean Bags

DIY Bean Bags

Bean Bags
Mollie Johanson

This is a great, simple sewing project that's perfect for kids learning to sew. But it's also a useful one for anyone who wants to DIY bean bags.

Buying commercially made bean bags is often surprisingly expensive, so making your own is more economical. But even better than that, you get to choose exactly what your bean bags look like.

You can adapt these bean bags lots of ways, changing the size, shape, and materials as needed. The basic process remains the same. 

For best results, read through all of the instructions before starting. 

Gather Tools and Supplies

Bean Bag Tools and Supplies
Mollie Johanson

For this project you will need:

  • Fabric
  • Muslin
  • Cutting mat
  • Ruler
  • Rotary cutter
  • Straight pins
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Measuring cup
  • Dried beans

A note about fabric: Choose your fabric weight based on the intended use of the bean bags. For gentle play or lighter weight bean bags, quilting cotton works great. If you plan on using them for games like cornhole, use a heavier weight fabric, like twill. 

Cut the Fabric and Muslin Squares

Cutting the Bean Bag Fabric
Mollie Johanson

Start by cutting the fabric and muslin. Cut two pieces of fabric and two pieces of muslin for each bean bag you are making.

The bean bags in this tutorial use 4-1/2" fabric squares and 4" muslin squares.

You can adjust these dimensions to the size you need. They don't even need to be square. The important thing is that the muslin pieces should always be at least 1/2" smaller than the fabric for the outer shell.

Sew the Inserts and Outer Shells

Sew the Bean Bag Insert and Outer Shell
Mollie Johanson

Lay the two pieces of matching fabric pieces on top of each other, with the right sides of the fabric facing each other. Match up the edges as close as possible. Do the same with the muslin. Pin the layers to keep them in place.

Now, using the sewing machine or a needle and thread, sew around the sides and leave a large opening. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of the sewing.

If you are making a different shape, sew around most of the shape and leave an ample opening.

If you are hand sewing, use a tight backstitch.

Use your scissors to clip the fabric at each sewn point. Be careful not to cut the thread. This simply helps the fabric lay in the corners a little smoother.

Now, carefully turn the bean bag and muslin insert right-side-out. You can use a chopstick to gently push out the corners if needed.

Fill the Bean Bag Insert

Fill the Insert With Beans
Mollie Johanson

Add beans to the muslin insert. 

Use as many or as few as you need to reach the weight and feel you want, but avoid overstuffing them. For best results, use the same amount of beans in each bean bag. 

These four-inch bean bags each hold about 1/2 cup of beans.

Finish the Bean Bag Insert

Place the Insert in the Bean Bag Shell
Mollie Johanson

Once your muslin bag is filled with beans, fold the seam allowance at the opening down into the bag. Push the beans away from the opening and sew it shut. Don't worry about how it looks because you will not see it once it is in the beanbag.

Slide the muslin bean bag into the bean bag shell. Make sure that it lays flat within the outer shell.

Sew the Bean Bag Shut

Top Stitch to Close the Bean Bag Opening
Mollie Johanson

Just like with the muslin bag, fold the seam allowance at the opening down into the bag. Pin the opening shut, so it stays in place while you sew.

Sew around the entire bean bag, about a 1/8" from the edge. Carefully pull out the pins as you sew so you don't sew over them. This top-stitching closes off the opening while giving the bean bags a finished edge.