Our son has autism and is a sensory seeker so we are creating a sensory room for him. One of the things we wanted for him was a crash pad. A decent size crash pad is in the multiple hundreds of dollar range so I decided to create my own. It is simple and only requires extremely basic sewing skills. Another possible use for this crash pad project could be at the base of a small home climbing wall (use at your own risk, I'm not responsible if you hurt yourself.)
If you want to check out the progress of our son's sensory room including everything going into it you can check out the info page on his website: PawsForScotty.com.
Step 1: Collect Your Materials
What I used
* 2 - pieces of fabric the size you want your crash pad to be
* a comforter cover (or 2 more pieces of fabric an inch or so bigger than the other 2 pieces)
* thread (hopefully you won't see any of it so color doesn't matter too much)
* stuffing - I suggest shredded foam (I used old couch cushions,) I also used the stuffing from an old been bag chair
* Sewing machine, I suppose you could do without this if you are up for a lot of hand sewing
* a hand sewing needle (and you probably want a threader)
That is it. The only thing I had to buy was the sewing needle since I didn't find mine until after I bought some new ones. For the base fabric I used two pieces of fleece (about two yards each) that had been laying in our basement unused for at least 4 years; you could use just standard cotton fabric or two bed sheets. The comforter cover was also laying in the basement unused, you could just use two more pieces of fabric and do a small amount more of sewing. You are going to make two pieces, the crash pad itself and a cover, which can be removed and washed.
For stuffing I picked up some old couch cushions, which I shredded, and some stuffing from an old bean bag chair.
Step 2: Sew the Crash Pad
You are basically creating a giant pillow so lay your two main pieces of fabric on top of one another with the sides that will be the outside facing each other; you are going to turn it inside out (or right side out) after this step. You are going to sew three and a half sides together. Pick your first side and pin that side together. If your fabric edge is not straight you can run a piece of masking tape along where you are going to put your stitch as a guide to make sure you get your stitch straight. Using your sewing machine stitch up the first side. If you didn't remove the pins as you stitched up the side, remove them now and repeat for the next two sides.
With the fourth side, pin it as you did the other three sides. Now sew up the side leaving about a foot open (this will be the hole to put the stuffing in through.) In the picture you can see the hole I left in my fourth side (this is after it has been turned inside out.)
Once I had one stitch all the way around (except my hole for stuffing) I went back and ran another stitch along side that one to add extra strength.
Step 3: Make the Cover
I did this step last but you really should do it before you stuff your crash pad.
Lay the crash pad on top of the comforter cover and mark where you need to cut it and stitch it to make it small enough to fit your crash pad properly. On my cover, I cut one side so the narrower width of my cover fits the crash pad snug. I left the other length as it was and just fold the extra under the crash pad.
If you are using two pieces of fabric instead of a comforter cover then this is just like the previous step except you only stitch up three sides and put in buttons on the fourth side.
Step 4: Turn the Crash Pad Right Side Out
You stitched the crash pad inside out, so now turn it so the inside is now the outside.
Step 5: Stuff the Pad
I suggest filling the pad with mostly shredded foam. Mine is mostly shredded foam with some stuffing from an old bean bag.
The cushions I got had a layer of something similar to poly fill glued to them. I pulled that off and shredded that. I then pulled the foam apart. I tried a number of things to find the easiest way to do this. The easiest way I found was to just tear it with my hands; pinch it flat and then tear. Trying to use any type of saw or knife just made things more difficult.
To fill my pad I used 5 cushions and one adult sized bean bag. My crash pad is about 5'x6'.
Once you have your foam shredded push it into the crash pad. If you are using a mixture of materials its a good idea to mix it as it goes in.
You can buy shredded foam if you want but it can get expensive depending on the size of pad you want to make.
Step 6: Test the Amount of Stuffing
I didn't want to have to un-stitch the pad especially since fleece is really hard to remove stitches from. I put some gorilla tape on the inside of the opening and tested it out. At first it was a bit thin so I shredded the last cushion I had and taped it up again and tried it out again. Repeat this until you are happy with your pad.
Step 7: Close Up the Hole
Once you are happy with the amount of stuffing in your pad you need to close up the hole. This is just like closing up a pillow. You pin up the hole. Then stitch it up by hand. If you need advice on how to do this, search YouTube for "How to stitch close a pillow" and you will find lots of demonstrations. It is not as hard as you would think. This was my first time and you can see from the picture mine turned out decent.
If you are worried about this step, you could just leave the entire fourth side open when you are stitching up the sides initially and you could stitch the whole side now leave the stitch on the outside since it will be covered up by the cover anyway.
Step 8: Put the Cover on the Crash Pad
Put the cover on and it is done.
I hope this helps you create a crash pad for your child. I know my son enjoys it and he has already used it for some regulation. If you want to see the progress of our son's sensory room, including other projects, you can check out the info page on his website: PawsForScotty.com