i started out thinking about building a beanbag, but being the prototypically exuberant man's man that i am i thought: 'i am going to go huge! why make a beanbag just like everyone else? i'll make the biggest, baddest beanbag evah!!!'

Well in the end i did make the biggest baddest beanbag evah, but i think any practical assessment would say that it is too large to be convenient (eg: hard to get through doorways and tends to fill all available floor area in room). But I learned enough through this effort that I can advise you, dear reader, how to build a most useful and practical beanbag sofa should you want to do so.

summary: looking for that plush bean-bag chair comfort, but in a sofa size? bean-bags are easy and inexpensive to make (as furniture goes). the bean-bag sofa can be easily formed into a form-ftting bed as well.

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Step 1: Materials & tools

you'll need the following:

- bean bag beans (see next steps)
- spool of sturdy cloth (see next steps)
- about 3 feet of velcro
- a sewing machine
- a 4-6 inch diameter cardboard tube about 2-3 feet long
- optional: a shop-vac
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gearskin4 years ago
I I made one for $120, and have received soooo many compliments. It's filled with foam and can seat 6 adults without even touching. It feels just like a love sac but is WAY cheaper. I made the cover out of sale material - black denim and gray corduroy. I made a separate sac for the inside to hold the foam and the slip cover is "zippered" at one end to release it from the sac so it can be washed. I made the inside sac out of t-shirt material so it's stretchy should I need to shove it into the outer cover. I got some of the foam from upholstery people in the area for free and hand cut it. It was a pain, but the sac looks awesome. (In the picture I'm adding we had not added all the foam yet, it's in our game-room). We have since figured out that it is far more comfortable to put the sac in a corner and use it that way. I made tons of pillows and they only make it more comfy :) Thanks for the instructable. It was awesome!!!!
big couch.jpg
frenzy gearskin4 years ago

This posting has won today's "I Made It" Challenge. For winning you will receive a 3 month pro membership!

Thanks for using instructables!
Here's mine!
13, 8:37.jpg13, 8:37.jpg13, 8:37.jpg

How many cubic feet of foam did you use for this? Do you think it would make a good bed or would you roll out of it?

Nimshi2 months ago

This is great!

I'm going to make pea size ones for my kids, but rather than use velcro and fill them with beans, I'm going to add big zippers and fill them with all the stuffed animals they never play with. Functional seating, AND toy storage? Count me in!

mag4195 months ago

wow, nice beanbag!! I'll have to try this!

noeyW11 months ago
I'm near hayward, ca.. How much would you charge to make one??
gluvit1 year ago
This is nice
kins151 year ago
Can you make me one?
Advar1 year ago
This is fantastic! I'm gonna make one (not quite as large) but fill it a bit more great for muli-use item in a one room place.
jamesbeis1 year ago
Where can I buy the beans and fabric?
Mine is slightly modified. It's a 8'x3.5' cylinder and I used a zipper instead of Velcro.
connectreis8 years ago
do you have any drawings/plans for the pea size? is this a harder one to make? Thanks!
dan (author)  connectreis8 years ago
it is not harder. there's a couple patterns you can make it from, all simple. - if you want a perfect sphere, use the same pattern you see on either a beach-ball or a base-ball. - if you want a very short cylinder then you can use the same pattern as here but with shorter rectangular panels.
Check your recycling center. If you don't mind "used" peanuts, they might give them to you for free. It's worth a check if you're not picky. I made a biscuit shaped (short, fat cylinder) one for my daughter's 11th birthday. It's hard to see the structure but it's got a vaguely roundish shape which works well for several children to use at once. It is amazing. My local peanut supplier (regrind) wasn't as cheap as I'd like but it still was very cheap to do this project ($50 for a huge beanbag that I'm told rivals $200 beanbags at a local shop). I made this one 53" in diameter and 26" tall (basing the size on the width of the upholstery fabric I got and leaving 1/2" seams). For experienced sewers, DON'T slash the seam like you would with most round objects to make them appear perfectly round--it's too blobby for anyone to notice the rounded seams and you'll make it less sturdy if you slash. This was stuffed with 28cubic feet of foarm (the supplier sold it in bags of 14 cubic feet each). It is AMAZING. My kid and two friends can lay on it. Instead of lining it and using velcro (or zippers), I used sturdy upholstery fabric ($3 a yard!) and sewed the final seam shut. I sewed on the top and bottom circles to a long piece circumferenceX26" and leaving the final seam to be the one joining both sides of the circumference piece. This was left open to fill. Then, when filled, I simply folded both ends of the fabric onto themselves, pinched them together and sewed. When I want more filling (it's about ready as the peanuts are now thoroughly mushed) I'll just use my handy seam ripper to open this seam, fill, and restitch. Super sturdy with no velcro worries.
It's been six years since I posted the above comment. We still have the beanbag. I have added filling several times over the years by opening the seam, filling, and restitching. It works well and I have less worries about a rupture. We have added a dog to the family who seems to think this is her bed. It has had only one breech (from the dog) and it was on a seam so it was easy to fix. Friends have started giving me, not only their old packing peanuts but their hard formed foam pieces that are used to pack items, like large electronics. I break these apart and they go into the beanbag. It works great and breaks down just like peanuts do.
heiehe1 year ago
That kids playing pokemon
Boppylop2 years ago
is there ANY possible substitute for packing peanuts??? I would really like to make this but they just don't have packing peanuts in Ecuador.
psssst i'll post the beanbag loft when i'm done but in ze meantime i be loadin up an instructable sssssssssoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo keep your eyez peeled
zomg i am so changing the dimensions and making a beanbag loft bed :)
thonams2 years ago
this is awsm am gonna try it this month.........
gragegrl2 years ago
This is fantastic! Thank you for sharing!
beader19863 years ago
I'm going to make a smaller version for my daughter, she has a TON of stuffed animals, so I am going to use them as the stuffing and put "windows" in it so she can still see her stuffed animals. I saw one on a website, but didn't really want to pay $300 for it. :) I will post pictures when I get it made!
Most excellent idea!!! My son loves his stuffed animals but he doesn't think it's "cool" to have them. This solves the problem nicely, he can keep them and his friends will think he has cool gaming chairs in his room THANKS!!!
I'd really like to see this stuffed animal bean bag - did it work?? This might be a great way to transition our boxes and boxes of animals into a teen bedroom.
I have not tried it yet, I'm working out the details in my mind. I think I am going to try using fleece, but I think for a teen's room denim from out-grown jeans would be awesome! As soon as I get the material I need I will make it and post some pictures. Thank you for your interest in my idea!!!
I just noticed if you switch the diameter with the length you'd have something like a love sack!
Pretty neat instructable :3
i have a small suggestion, what if instead of beans, why not try using plastic store bags? im sure a lot of us out there have bags of them laying around for trash, other projects ect. but using them in these bags could eliminate a lot of waist.
that's actually pretty common- around here, a lot of people with pets and kids do it, so when the inevitable little hole in the bag occurs, the bags stay in, rather than them having to clean up a million tiny bits of foam.

they do make a bit more noise, and don't shift around quite as easily, though.
cnunyabiz3 years ago
This is the best deal I have found so far, unfortunately. its no where near as good as the authors but the best as I have seen since im stuck in colorado..
jhchawk7 years ago
on, they have 3 types of shredded foam, and also bean bag pellets. Which would you reccomend? And would memory foam be sweet, or just overrated...
dan (author)  jhchawk7 years ago
the feel is different if you use polystyrene foam vs. urethane foam, but probably some people will prefer each type. polystyrene is used in most commercial beanbags. memory foam i think is probably pointless here, since it mostly provides conformal fitting *without* using beans.
cgarner2 dan3 years ago
Are you saying not to use memory foam? I don't have all of my filling yet, but I do have 2 large bags of scrap memory foam that I have been tearing into smaller pieces. What would you recommend mixing with it'?
Oh no! Why didn't I read this before wasting so much money on my instructable?!?!

(sorry, typo'd the first comment)
Hey guys,
My roommate and i are looking to build one or 2 of these (if we build 2 we would probably make 2 med sized ones) and were wondering what we are looking at as far as total cost. Also, if anybody knows where we could find the filling for this for cheap in Orlando we would greatly appreciate it. Thanks for all the help guys! Awesome instructable BTW
Bindweeds5 years ago
And if you happen to come into some money that you want to get rid of. A buckwheat hull bean bag would be the best. bean bag. ever!
I actually have a buckwheat hull bed that I put together myself. It's awesome, but buckwheat is pretty weighty.

I bought a queen-size futon cover with 3-sided zipper (organic, thick upholstery quality), and I think about 300lb. of buckwheat hull from a farm in Penn Yan, NY. It's about 10" thick and I have it atop a custom heavy duty wooden frame. Best sleep I've ever had. But, as you can probably tell, it is EXTREMELY heavy. The two times I've moved it I had to empty most of the buckwheat into contractor trash bags and carry them separately.
solpredator3 years ago
This is a great idea, but it sounds a lot like the love sac that came out in the early 2000's and still seems to be doing well as a company.
what is the centipede or milipede model?
Bannanna slug... a little too big for most doors...
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