Step 3: What about the beans!

Picture of what about the beans!
you'll want to fill the beanbag at least 80% full of beans. a normal beanbag chair is not this full, but the sofa will not hold its shape unless it is nearly full. for the earthworm type used as a backrest, you may want to pack it 100%. calculate the volume of the sofa (a cylinder): pi * radius * radius * length. so the garden slug is 56 cubic feet (3.14 * 1.5 * 1.5 * 8). beanbag beans are sold by the cubic foot, so you'll need about 50 cubic feet of them.

where to get the beans! you will need a lot of beans, so the best thing is to find a local styrofoam (EPS) products manufacturer. try the website epsmolders.org to find a list of EPS manufacturers around the country. getting the beans will be a fun excursion unto itself, as you can see below. the technical term for what you want is "expanded polystyrene beads" or "EPS beads" for short. usually they will have both new beans ("virgin beads"), and used beans ("regrind"). virgin costs about 10x as much as regrind, usually more than you'll want to spend on some lunatic project you read about on Instructables. my local foam mfr (Bay Foam in Hayward CA) sells 35 cubic foot bags of regrind for $10 each. they had a huge mountain of them behind their factory! the fancy places online that sell beanbags will tell you that virgin beads have a better feel in the beanbag, but my sofa seems perfectly nice with the regrind. remember: regrind = recycling!

how to find a styrofoam products maker! they do not seem to like to list themselves under "foam" in the phone book, that seems to be reserved for the lowly urethane-foam folks only! instead you'll want to look under "packaging & shipping materials" or whatever else they might be making out of styrofoam, such as architectural trim.

no airbag needed! on your drive back from the foam factory you'll be about as safe as you've ever been in your motor vehicle. now is the time to enter a demolition derby! it took some effort, but i was able to wedge about 120 cubic feet of beans into my minivan after i took most of the seats out.
Bindweeds6 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.
Will these work? http://www.diversifoam.com/eps.htm
buhjohnson4 years ago
I'm trying to make one, the only issue is I'm not sure if I have enough filler--I'm using Styrofoam peanuts for a temporary solution, I know they can smell and are not that comfortable, but I need a couch!

Anyway, mine is going to be six feet long, and I calculated that it's about 42 cubic feet, and 80% is about 34 cubic feet, but does anyone know how many garbage bags that would be? I have about 7 or 8 full bags at my disposal, but I don't want to go through the trouble of filling it and then finding out that there aren't enough.

I'm trying to finish it for tomorrow since I'm having a party--so quick advice would be appreciated if it is at all possible.

Thanks! and thanks for the awesome idea, I've been so excited about doing this project since I saw it two days ago :)
JakeAyres5 years ago
Daaamn thats an amazing idea :) Anyone in UK know of any good suppliers of beans? I cant find anything cheaper than £17 for 15cubic feet. =/
if you find any place thats good let me know :D
anyone near the central valley in California could probably save some air pollution by using rice hulls. They burn them in huge quantities. it's weird to have small towns full of smog.
I have heard buckwheat hulls are much more fire-resistant, though.
gogadgo5 years ago
Can I mix shredded foam AND beans? I have some trash bags filled with shredded foam that I saved from a large Love Sack.
freakmarks6 years ago
$10 for 35 cubic feet!! they sell it here $20 for 10 cubic feet! Is there any way BayFoam in Hayward would ship the EPS 254 miles? Do you know?
hay this is an amazing idea and i really want to make one anyone know where i can get alot of filler for cheep in minnesota it would help if its around eden prairie please thank you
obriguy6 years ago
Have you ever tried to fill this with chopped foam like they do in a Love SacLove Sac? Here is a linklink that talks about doing this.
prncss4frog6 years ago
I love this idea. I want to make one for my hubby, but am having a hard time finding the filler in bulk. I live in sw wa. Any suggestions on where to look? THanks
I'm in SW WA too and can't find a source. I followed the link suggested above but the only place they listed in our state doesn't sell in bulk.
vg30_s127 years ago
hey, I'm trying the Garden Slug, do i need 50cubic feet or 120cubic feet i want to verify before i go and travel 2 1/2 hours to pick it up :D 50cubic foot ought to fit into a 4door Nissan Sentra pretty easy right?
dan (author)  vg30_s127 years ago
maybe 60 cubic feet to be safe. it won't fit easily. bring some large garbage bags so you can put some in the trunk and some in teh back seat
unjust8 years ago
if you're -really- into recycling, (and have some bored friends) you can break up stryofoam blocks into lego brick sized pieces and use them. they'll further degrade in the chair.
dan (author)  unjust8 years ago
i am recycling just as you describe. the 'regrind' is the styrofoam factory's recycled trash. the factory makes all different foam shapes, and the rejects go into a grinder and bagged.
unjust dan8 years ago
excellent. far less entertaining than watching your friends try and clean themselves off from breaking up oodles of bits. although they probably have a air cleaner to make the release of gasses less of an impact, but it's a salvage industrial waste vs stuff headed to the land fill anyway. sort of thing. oh, and an air hose works brilliantly for getting the bits off of oneself or another (careful with them)
That dragon wud have to blow away of somethin'