Introduction: DIY Miniature Sofa! | How to Make Your Own Tiny Comfy Couch
Welcome to my Instructable all about making your own mini sofa!
I love all things miniature but had yet to try miniature upholstery, so I thought I would start with a comfy 2-seater sofa.
I'm really happy with the result, and I hope you enjoy this tutorial :)
- Fabric; I used a purple woven fabric with a nice texture for the majority of the sofa, and a small amount of mustard knit jersey for the little throw cushions. I recommend a woven material (no stretch) which is thick enough to not be see-through i.e. probably a medium-weight fabric. If you want to use a patterned fabric make sure the pattern is small-scale so it looks more realistic.
- Needle & thread; You will need a sharp hand sewing needle and thread that matches the fabrics you have bought. You can use a sewing machine for the mini cushions if you like.
- Batting & stuffing; I used polyester batting for the majority of the padding in the sofa, and used polyester stuffing for the pillows.
- Sharp scissors
- Glue; I used an all-purpose white glue (Aleene's tacky glue) and a stronger clear-drying glue (UHU all purpose adhesive). If you have clear-drying fabric glue that would be very handy.
- Foam board; I used 6mm (1/4") thick foam board. It is possible to use cardboard instead if you like.
- X-acto knife/craft knife
- A skewer, a hand saw & sandpaper; I used bamboo skewers for the legs but if you want something sturdier you could use wooden dowel. You will need something to cut the wood with, and some sandpaper to smooth the wood.
- An awl
- Cheap fine paintbrush, or a toothpick (optional)
- 2 Lollipop sticks (optional)
- Iron & ironing board
- Something to protect your work surface, such as a cutting mat.
- Items to place on top of sofa sections as the gue dries e.g. heavy books.
Step 1: Cut Out the Base Pieces
In this tutorial I will provide the measurements I used for my sofa, however you can of course design your own; whether that's a sofa you've seen in a catalogue, your dream sofa, or even a replica of the one you have at home.
You will first need to cut out the pieces for the base of the sofa. You will need to carefully cut the pieces out of foam board using an X-acto knife and a ruler.
I cut out...
- 2 smaller rectangles measuring 5.8 cm x 7 cm
- 1 larger rectangle measuring 14 cm x 6.4 cm
- And a symmetrical trapezoid shape measuring 17 cm across the top, 14 cm across the bottom, and 5 cm high.
Step 2: Cover the Pieces in Batting
Take each of the foam board base pieces and wrap 1 layer of batting around, glueing it in place.
Excess batting at each end is needed (a few cm or so), but when the batting is wrapped as shown, the edges should only just meet rather than overlap.
I used tacky glue to secure the batting, then left them all to dry.
Put something on top to weigh down on the pieces whilst the glue dries - I put paint tubes on top of mine.
Step 3: Fold Over the Batting
At each end of the batting-wrapped base pieces, you now need to fold over and glue the batting down.
First, cut down the sides of the excess batting. Then cut off the side of batting where the edges meet. This will leave you with one flap of excess batting. Fold over this flap and glue in place.
Do this at both ends of every base piece and leave to dry.
Step 4: Cut Off Excess Batting
Once dry, simply take each base piece and use your scissors to cut off the excess batting.
Try to keep your scissors flush to the flat surface of the base pieces so that the resulting pieces are smooth and evenly covered with batting all over.
Step 5: Upholster the Base Pieces
Cut out a piece of your sofa fabric for each base piece. This piece of fabric needs to be big enough to wrap the matching base piece with a little overlap, and there should be at least a few cm excess at each end too.
Then wrap the fabric pieces around the base pieces as shown, so that they overlap by around 1 cm or so. Glue the fabric in place and leave to dry.
Notes: Make sure you have the front of the fabric face down when you do this. Also note that you should fold the fabric over the base piece on the edges that will be most exposed in the finished piece (which will probably mean you should fold the fabric edges over the longest edges of the base pieces).
Once dry, cut 2 slits in each side of the excess fabric. This will create flaps which you should then shorten to a manageable size.
Also cut off the excess fabric on the side where the fabric edges meet. This will leave you with one flap. Shape the flap by sloping the edges.
Then glue the side flaps down before glueing the large flap in place. A bit like wrapping a present.
Do this for each end of each base piece and then leave to dry.
Step 6: Adding the Back Panels
You don't have to do this step but I think it helps neaten up the sections of the sofa.
For each of the base pieces you will need to cut out a piece of sofa fabric that's the same size.
Iron the edges of these pieces over to the back of the fabric (by no more than 5 mm).
Cut excess fabric off in the corners, as shown.
Use a stronger clear-drying glue (ideally fabric glue if you have it) to glue these folded over edges onto the back of the matching base pieces.
This can get messy so have tissues handy, and try not to get glue elsewhere on the fabric.
Leave to dry (under a heavy book).
Step 7: Adding the Legs
You can be as creative as you like with the sofa legs, but I just plumped for skinny wooden skewer legs.
I cut out 4 legs, each about 1.5 cm long. Then I sanded the ends smooth.
To attach them, I made a 4 holes in the bottom of the sofa base. To make the hole I used an awl first (making very sure I didn't go all the way through the foam board), and then the thinner end of my scissors to make the hole big enough for the legs.
I then simply added a dot of strong glue to the top of each leg and pushed them into the holes.
Make sure the sofa base sits level and then leave to dry.
Notes: The fabric on the underside of my sofa base was sagging a little and not lying straight, so I decided to glue a couple of lollipop stitcks onto the bottom using my strong glue, and that really helped.
Also, if you would like to stain the wooden legs, you can paint them with watered-down acrylic paint, or you could even use a marker pen to add colour.
Step 8: Cut Out the Sofa Cushions
For the seat cushions, I cut out 2 pieces of foam board, each measuring 5 cm x 6.5 cm.
For the back cushions I cut out 2 mirror image pieces, each 5 cm high, 7.5 cm across the top, 6.5 cm across the bottom, and a curved cut-out section starting 2.5 cm from the top.
On these back cushions I also added 3 holes using my awl.
These holes sat 2 cm from the top, and 1.75 cm, 3.75 cm, and 5.75 cm from the non-curved edge.
Step 9: Pad the Cushion Pieces
Use the same method as you used for the base pieces to add batting around each cushion piece.
Glue in place and leave to dry.
Step 10: Remove Excess Batting...and Add More
Again, use the same method as you used for the base pieces to leave 1 flap of batting at each end of the foam board pieces.
Fold these flaps over (onto the side with the join in the batting) and glue them in place.
On the curved edges, make sure the batting follows the line of the curve.
Leave to dry.
Then glue 2 layers of batting onto one side of each rectangular piece. This is just to add more padding to the seat cushions.
Leave to dry.
Step 11: Upholster the Cushions
Wrap sofa fabric around the 4 cushion pieces, again with a small overlap. Glue in place.
Note: Place the 2 rectangular pieces upside-down on top of the fabric when you do this, so that the double layer of extra batting is underneath the foam board.
Leave to dry.
Step 12: Tufting
We now can add the 'tufting' effect to the back seat cushions.
You need to cut out a piece of thread and feed the 2 ends into a needle. Then bring the needle through the back seat cushion from the back to the front, coming through one of the holes we cut into the foam board earlier.
Don't pull the thread the whole way through but instead push it back through the cushion, from front to back, going through the same hole in the foam board.
At the back, take the needle through the loop of thread which will be there and pull tight. Then secure the thread and cut off the excess.
Do this for each of the 3 holes in each of the cushions.
Then you can add the back panels to all 4 cushion pieces, using the same method as we used for the base pieces.
Step 13: Assemble
Use strong glue to first attach the edges of the longest base pieces together. Try to keep the glue contained; we want to see as little as possible on the finished sofa.
As you will see, I had some glue visible from the outside along this seam. However, I then used invisible stitch along the outside of this seam (once the glue dried) to hide the glue and join up the fabric edges neatly.
I then used yarn to hold the sofa into the correct position and used my strong glue again to attach the side pieces.
Again, once the glue had dried I used invisible stitch along the seam line on the outside of the sofa. This really neatens up the finish, and hides any glue.
Then it's just a case of putting all of the seat cushions into place!
Step 14: Make the Cushions
If you would like to make two little throw cushions, then cut out 4 pieces of a different fabric, each measuring 5 cm x 5 cm.
Place 2 squares of fabric right-sides-together and sew around 3 of the sides, making sure to secure the thread at each end.
You can do this by hand (using backstitch) or on the sewing machine.
Then turn the cushion right-sides-out, fill the cushion with a little stuffing, and close the opening using the invisible stitch.
Repeat for the other cushion.
For theside cushions on the sofa, I used the same method but started with 4 pieces of the sofa fabric, each measuring 5.5 cm x 4 cm.
After they had been stuffed and sewn up, I then added a couple of stitches to each one to add the 'tufted' effect.
Step 15: Finished!
And now you can sit back (on your life-size sofa) and admire your tiny sofa!
I hope you enjoyed this project :D
First Prize in the
Tiny Speed Challenge