Introduction: Pacman Pouf

Picture of Pacman Pouf

Browsing the Internet I found a link towards a Italian design site that creates hockers (pouf) in the shape of the so ever loved pacman creature!

When I saw the picture on the internet, I thought, well... that shouldn't be so hard to make it my self and dove into the adventure of designing, creating and (for the first time) doing upholstry. I hope you like it and comments/suggestions are welcome...

(please forgive me my poor choice of english words or typos in this instructable, but I think the general idea is there...)

Step 1: Design

Picture of Design

First thing I always do when I start a build or a project, I create some Autocad drawings on scale, so in later stage during the build, I can easily measure the angles and sizes of the woodwork I need.

The requirements for the design I constricted myself to:

- low cost (was about €120)
- low weight
- easy to build
- sturdy (should be able to hold 2 people at least)
- in metrics (of course, it is the world standard!)

Then the following process was to determine the size of the pacman:

- for the height I took my current couch as the best height (40 cm). Keep in mind that the foam/padding determines the height of the woodwork!
- the radius of the pacman was defined in proportion with the height. It looks quite large (d=80 cm) but proportionally the pacman will look strange if the height (40cm) was set to a 50 cm diameter.

Material list:

- 15 mm MDF, depending on the size, you will need at least the C-shape to be created from one piece.
- 9 mm multiplex (plywood)
- 32mm*40mm timber (count number needed * height for total length needed)
- larger ones (for example 40mm*40mm) for the corners and block
- upholstry. I used sky to get that leather-look, but it is not so flexible. Mine had already some sliding-stuff on the inside, so it can slide over the foam. If you get other stuff, inform if you need additional stuff.
- cardboard strips. I had special ones, but you can cut some yourself
- staples.... lots!

Equipment needed

- workmate / bench
- Jigsaw
- drill
- drill-bits
- countersink
- screws (about 30mm in length, 3,2*30mm would be ok)
- wood glue (read instructions!)
- needle (curved one special for this type of work) and thread (special stirdy one!)
- sewing machine [if available] (I don't know if a regular sewing machine is able to get through the upholstry)
- foam and other filling
- a stapler! (I had a pneumatic one, but an electrical or whatever is a must... I don't thing the manual ones will be able to enter the MDF deep enough).
- knive
- markers

!Tips / Remarks

In the design the top (9mm multiplex/plywood) of the pacman was created seperately because I was not certain if the upholstry required a top that was not connected. Only when doing the upholstry I found out that it was better that the top was fixed but also for the weight reduction it is a good solution!

Step 2: Create the Base Structure

Picture of Create the Base Structure

Creating the C-shape

- First draw the C-shape on the MDF, I used a nail in the middle and a piece of wood and pencil to create the perfect round shape.
- measure the inner edge of 7,1 cm
- mark the points where the vertical timber for the frame will be glued and screwed between top and botom C-shape

Creating the block

- Draw the square top/bottom
- Jigsaw to cutout the pieces
- mark the edges where the timber will be mounted (glue&screw).
- attach the sides
- drill holes all over

!Tips / Remarks

The holes drilled in the wood structure are to prevent that air will be stuck under the upholstry. When you sit down on the pouf, the air can escape throught the holes.
Work precize and get rid of all imperfections using files and sanding paper, because a lot will show when you put on the upholstry.

Step 3: Eye of the Beholder

Picture of Eye of the Beholder

Ok, now the hard part.
A pacman looks nice, but is only complete with an eye to scout for the blocks to eat. I have measured out where I wanted the eye to be and how large it will be, all relative to the size of the whole set ofcourse.

Test the sewing of the eye

As I have tried some examples first to create the perfect round eye and sew it to the red cloth, you might see that it is a good step to test some examples from material you have spare after cutting the basic cloth.
I used a professional sewing machine for this, but as you might see in a detail picture, it has quite a high start resistance, so it might 'shoot' its way in a straight line. Practice is a must!
Maybe it is better to do it manual, but then you will have to work precise in the distance between the stitches.

!Tips / Remarks

Stitch just on the edge of the white 'eye' so when the pouf is going to be used, the edge will not curl up and wear will take it loose from the red cloth.

Step 4: Block Upholstery

Picture of Block Upholstery

Ok, after all the preparation, it is time to start the upholstry. I first took the small block for the test, because it is cheaper to buy a new small piece of cloth when it goes wrong instead of the C-shape piece.

Glew the foam

- use appropriate glue for the foam (I used Bison Tix). Let it dry for the required time (15 / 20 minutes) before mounting it together!
- start pushing the edges together, lifting the center piece. Work your way from the edges in.
The edges will look chamfered, something like this: \_/
When the upholstery is put on, it will get it back into the shape, creating straight edges.

Mounting the top part

- measure the rough shape and keep about 10 cm extra to pull it into shape.
- use the staple gun (in an angle, see Tips) to get the first stretchingin place. Start at the corners and make sure to see that the curving is ok. Continue with the sides.
- check if everything is straight and if tension is high enough. You can check this by placing your hands on the side and move to the middle. If the upholstry curls up, there is not enough tension.
If the edges are not even, there is probably too much tension.
- because of the non-stretch of the colth I used, no evenly tensioned without wrinkles corners were possible, so I decided to use folded corners (see pictures)
- finish the top by stapling it. Use one staple length between staples to get even tension.
- cut the remainder part by marking it evenly. (I used a piece of wood again with a mark on it and a pen to trace the line whole around.

Continue with the sides

- I used one length of cloth for the sides, getting one sewing edge at one corner
- mount the white cloth inside out and use a strip of cardboard which will create the sharp edges.
- put the inner padding on, some extra on the edges
- fold down the cloth and staple it on the bottom. Use the same technique as described above (using angled staples). Finish the bottom part first for the three edges that can be fixed. Leave the sewing edge open.
- fold the last corner in shape and use pins to keep it in shape. Staple it on the bottom with temporary staples. Check if the corners are not too bulky, else fold it in further and remove cloth that is not needed / out of sight (! be carefull cutting)
- start the sewing at the top by creating a knot at the end, pull it through both corner-ends with the special curved needle and get it back through the knot. If you want to make shure it stays put, sew it fixed to the red top cloth.
From there, get from the back from one side to the other side and push the needle through, bending it back so it pops out 4 to 5 mm in the other side. Something like this:
 _  _)(_ _)(_
Continue your way down with even stiches and finisch at the end.
- finish the bottom by stapling it fixed and cutting the remaining cloth around 5 mm from the line of staples

!Tips / Remarks

- Use the staple gun in an angle for the 'tagging'. It is easy to remove the nails when you make mistakes, as only one 'leg' of the staple is in the wood.
- Stretch all corners and sides evenly. Use a lot of views to see if the lines (curves) are even and straight. View it from eye-height, turn it around, put it on the floor and do the same!

Step 5: C-shape Upholstery

Picture of C-shape Upholstery

Now the first part is finished, start with the C-shape.
With the experience from the 'block' you use the same technique for the C-shape.


- The center of the top-part is quite difficult. Use a spare-piece of cloth to test the cuts you will need to make. ! be very carefull cutting, as you will cut too deep quite easy. Don't underestimate, cut, test, cut a bit more, test again !
- use same folding edge corners like the 'block'. If it leaves markes from the wood, fill it with extra foam where needed.
- I used like with the block, a piece of cloth for the outside of the C-shape and stapled it in the C-cutout (see picture 13 below)
- I used a small piece for the cutout with overlap. Mount it like all other side-walls and fold in the edges for sewing. Use same sewing technique as shown before.
- I finished it by putting in 2 nails so the corner-sides wont be able to be ripped down.

!Tips / Remarks

Be carefull with your cuts. Use cuts and small v-shaped at the end to devide the tension better.

Step 6: Enjoy Finished Project

Picture of Enjoy Finished Project

Now the fun part...
Put it in your living room and enjoy!

beware of couch eating abilities...


MatteoP made it! (author)2014-12-30

Made this with my wife. Just a little bit smaller than in the original project to fit better to our living room. Awesome!

allesflex (author)MatteoP2014-12-30

Very nice, looks awesome indeed!! Good copy of the one I made :D It's smaller brother/sister ;-)

LulluxD made it! (author)2014-10-24

Made this with my dad a couple of years ago. Just in fake leather and suede. We glued the leather on instead of sewing. It just seemed easier ;). Also, we made the top and bottom two separate pieces and screwed them together.

allesflex (author)LulluxD2014-10-27

that looks very good! Glueing is indeed a good option, but I did mine with sewing as I never did that before, so good practice :)

LulluxD (author)allesflex2014-10-27

That's true ;). And thanks! We just have this habit of doing things the easiest way; without compromise ofcourse !

Igloo Studio made it! (author)2014-03-15

Iv had my Pacman foot stool for months now and I still use it every day. It has pride of place in my living room/workshop. Awesome idea! Thank you!

Igloo Studio (author)2013-07-21

Damn, this was a lot harder than i thought it was going to be.... but i love it.

Great Idea allesflex. Thank you for posting!

allesflex (author)Igloo Studio2013-07-22

Looking very nice! The round one is really good indeed!

hschönenberg-franz (author)2011-03-26

This is fabulous!
Loving it!

Jaapio (author)2010-11-22

Hey, ziet er goed uit.

Ik heb een vraagje. Wat is die rode bekleding voor een materiaal?

hcgiesbertz (author)Jaapio2010-11-23

Die rode bekleding is 'skai', soort van nep-leer...
Heb het gehaald bij een stoffenhandel op de Albert Cuyp.
Het nadeel van skai is dat het niet heel rekbaar is, wat het moeilijker maakt om scherpere hoeken zonder 'kreukels' te krijgen. Met echt leer zou dat beter gaan...

merchis (author)2010-10-06

amazing! great precision!! congrats!

superMacaroni (author)2010-09-28

Wow, great job! At first, I thought this was the real one.

kadeishasims (author)2010-04-17


Mechaphoenix25 (author)2009-12-22

 I salute your carpentry sir

iPanickedTGG (author)2009-11-14

GENIUS! And it looks soo professional! These could totally be from a store they look that great!

Kolovision (author)2009-10-26

 First things first....that looks f-ing awesome and i'll definitely be using this to make one, just the pacman part tho. 

second i thought id quickly change your picture in photoshop to see if it would look just as good in his actual colour, your comment about "depends what glasses your looking through" doesnt really make any sense but it is if anyone wants to look...

allesflex (author)Kolovision2009-10-27

 :D Very nice... I should have added some of these photoshopped pictures!
If you Google for some of the original pics, you will see some other color combinations as well...
Good luck in creating! please link your project!

deofthedead (author)2009-10-26

friggin' wicked. We were just recently talking about how we needed -something- to occupy the center of our living room.... heheh.

Warlrosity (author)2009-10-22


bethmwl (author)2009-09-28

I think you did a great job. The photos really show the detail required to upolster well.

yoyoman3333 (author)2009-09-24

It looks cool but pac man is yellow dude

allesflex (author)yoyoman33332009-09-25

It all depends on the glasses you are looking through! ;-)

Kryptonite (author)allesflex2009-09-27

I thought it was what ever you're smoking.

What ever floats your boat!

creative zen (author)2009-09-16

The first picture looks like it would be a cool coffee table :)

Kryptonite (author)creative zen2009-09-27

Some glass would look really nice on that, good spotting I must say.

zack247 (author)2009-09-26

wow! i am definitely trying this

Danny09 (author)2009-09-25

what website did you find it on?

Ward_Nox (author)2009-09-16

2 questions 1 why red and not yellow? 2 why a square for the companion piece instead of either a pac pellet of one of the fruit?

allesflex (author)Ward_Nox2009-09-16

1) because yellow would never match my interior 2) round would be a nice one for the next 'pouf', but the square piece just fits the C-shape way better, especially when I would build a next one :D

Ward_Nox (author)allesflex2009-09-25

i figured there had to be reasons for it

firefliie (author)2009-09-21

what exactly is a pouf?

nodnol (author)firefliie2009-09-24

in the US we typically call this an ottoman

allesflex (author)nodnol2009-09-25

Great! finally I found the english word... tried Google and Wiki's but couldn't find the right word for it :D

Gorfram (author)allesflex2009-09-25

Ottoman, hassock, footstool1, tuffet2, pouffe3... finding the right word in English can be a real pain in the patoota.

1 "Footstools" are usually smaller than ottomans.
2 Archaic. Found mosty in poetry & traditional rhymes.
3 Most commonly accepted English spelling.

a Informal slang for "buttocks." (See also: patootey, kiester, duff, hiney, hind end, backside, butt, bum, bottom, posterior, sit-upon... there are many more.)
Example use: "I parked my patoot on that really gorgeous Pacman pouffe." :)

(Sorry if this is more than you wanted to know - I have way too much fun with the complexities of English, and can get carried away sometimes.)

allesflex (author)firefliie2009-09-22

Well, in Dutch it is called a 'poef' or in French 'pouf' and it is often translated as a 'hocker' but that is probably German.

jongscx (author)allesflex2009-09-24

...isn't that one of those light airy pastries with creme inside it?

stranoster (author)jongscx2009-09-24

That's a puff, as in puff pastry.

nodnol (author)2009-09-24

I completely <3 this project!! I'm thinking about doing it with a removable top for storage

jongscx (author)nodnol2009-09-24

I think that's what the author was talking about, but it would have increased the overall cost and weight of the project as well as complexity. It would definitely be doable, but you'd have to double the plywood, add hinges (or something, add some fabric to finish, then you'd need a floor... plus, it'd be heavy with stuff inside it,... etc.

nodnol (author)jongscx2009-09-25

Hm, I'd probably skip the hinges so the top would be completely removable, but add an interior flange so the top wouldn't slip off. I have 3 cats, so heavy would be a plus. They're almost guaranteed to see this as a new toy to launch from. Now that I think about it, I might try finding a flexible laminate (rather than fabric) for the sides - to protect from kitty claws!

dilg (author)2009-09-24

Excellent Instructable with great pictures! There needs to be more upholstery projects here! I'm curious, why did you blind-stitch the side of the block instead of sew the length of the whole "tube" of white fabric and roll it over the bottom edge? Again, great job!

allesflex (author)dilg2009-09-25

I had 2 or 3 possible solutions in mind: 1) stitch on one side 2) stitch on all four sides 3) create like a sock that goes over it and attach to the bottom. Option 3 was a bit difficult, as the sky does not stretch very good and it would have to be created so precise to have the sides nice and straight. I checked how the four side stitch would look, but the one side stitch just looked best and can be put on the inside of the C-Shape ;-)

dilg (author)allesflex2009-09-25

Ah, Option 3 was what I had in mind.. Well very nice work there blind-stitching! I had to blind-stitch an ottoman cover the other night and it was quite tedious.

jongscx (author)2009-09-24

You used pegboard MDF, didn't you?

allesflex (author)jongscx2009-09-25

I use normal 'softboard' and drilled holes (see my comment to PMjbrecken - Sep 17, 2009. 1:34). Could have used foldable plywood I found in the store, but was too flexible (had to use lots more vertical timber) and way too expensive here (wood is like the new gold if you look at the prices). You can get thin MDF and use a circular saw to make slices in the back and then fold it, but softboard (or maybe pegboard) will be ok.

druster (author)2009-09-24

I think turning the square part yellow is a fantastic Idea

redsoxdrummer (author)2009-09-24

oh man, metrcs......never was good at them....( yes i am totally amarikan)...:)

jongscx (author)redsoxdrummer2009-09-24

wait... I thought we the inches and pounds and stuff was the ENGLISH Measurement!?!?! (kidding :-P)

gamefreek (author)2009-09-24

i think it looks cool red. and that is so cool!!

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