DIY Box Cushions, original measured: Top Back Cushions 20 x 20 with a 4in width & Bottom Seat Cushion 20 x 23 with a 6in width

Thrift shop find, gets a fresh new look with DIY Box Cushions. Vintage, Retro or just worn out 70's settee? Right when I spotted it, I saw the potential in this piece, and my brain began to work: Would this be an easy project?

My Creative Brainstorm

Step 1: Measure the cushions and toss them in the trash; there is no way they are entering my car or home.

Step 2: Clean with soap and water (Add tea tree oil and lemon essential oils to help cut the grime).

Step 3: Measure the seat bottom. I wanted to add extra supporting boards under the cushions.

Step 4: Find cushions. There lies the BIG problem. Are the cushions custom sizes, do I want them to be indoor or outdoor fabric, what is the total cost of upcycling?
Note: Original measurements were an odd size.

After my creative brainstorm, I purchased the sofa sectional/settee for $100.

I did steps 1, 2, and 3 immediately but the 4th step (cushions) required research. After all the research and cost comparison I decided to take the plunge and sew them myself. Why not, I can do it!

So here is what I did:

A Basic Box Cushion

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I decided to adjust measurements to help keep the cost of memory foam down and the work at a minimum. In the end, I ended up with:

  • 3 cushions, 20" x 22", 2" width
  • 3 cushions, 20" x 22", 4" width
    Here is a simple sketch to make it clearer:
    DIYBoxCushionsSketch-1
    Note: Measurements are based on my thrift find.

I purchased all my materials at Joann Fabrics:

  • Duck Canvas Fabric (8 yards yellow) Get extra fabric; the duck fabric will shrink after washing.
  • Soft Support Foam 22" x 22" x 2" thick (3 total)
  • NuFoam Pad - 22"x 22" x 2" thick (6 total)
  • Fairfield 30" x 10' Cushion Wrap (2 rolls)
  • 3M Scotch Super 77 Multipurpose Spray Mount
  • Upholstery or Denim/Jeans Machine Needles
  • Yellow Coats & Clark Dual Duty XP Heavy Thread (3 spools)
    Total cost approximately: $250 (use those coupons, and look for sales to keep cost down)

Wash fabric and remove from dryer promptly for any wrinkles are hard to remove. Iron your material as best you can without leaving hard creases (spritz this fabric lightly with water before ironing on a low setting).

I have found that all my sewing projects come out best when I have ironed the material before starting. Could just be me, but I also find ironing relaxing. I iron my pillowcases before putting them on the pillows or in the linen closet...weird? Oh well, back to the deets.

Using the measurements for the finished product, I added 1/2" all around the material. I don't have a fancy machine; I just made sure to use a straight stitch and a needle for denim. I also selected a thread as close to the color of fabric so my mistakes would be less noticeable. I also used fray check solution to ensure my fabric would not fray. I think you could also use a zig zag stitch to help with that, but I'm no expert.

Straight stitch on the two sides, leave opening open to insert your foam. Just like a pillowcase. Now use your iron to press open the seam where you will create your box.

BoxCushionSeams

View the tutorial I followed to create the box corners.
Note: do not cut corners off until you have checked to make sure your foam fits correctly.

Now time for the foam:

Use a ruler and sharpie to mark were to cut the foam. To cut the foam, I used a serrated/bread knife and short, small cuts. Once you have the final size use the 3M Spray Mount to secure the Fairfield Cushion Wrap or batting.

SecureBattingtoFoam

Example:
For the 3 Top Back Cushions, I wrapped 1 NuFoam Pad with the Fairfield Cushion Wrap. This gave me my desired final width (2").

For the three bottom seat cushions, I layered one Soft Support Foam, and one NuFoam Pad using the spray mount to adhere them together. Allow time for the spray mount to dry before moving to the next step. Then, I wrapped Fairfield Cushion Wrap and secured with spray mount. This gave me my desired final width (4").

Repeat steps on all cushions. (Note: wrapping the cushions will make cushions slightly larger but this will help make the cushion fit nice and snug)

CushionIntoFabric

I wrapped my entire cushion on three sides (top, front, and bottom; no need to wrap sides or opening). This step is crucial to give the cushions that smooth rounded and tight finish. Once spray mount is dry, insert cushion into fabric sleeve. Add batting to the corners to fill the space to give it a finished look.

I was not ready to commit to closure, so I made sure I had enough fabric at the opening to do an envelope tuck. The look is complete and hasn't come apart in all the sitting! I am thrilled this piece came out the way I had envisioned, and it gave me a chance to work on my sewing skills. I hope this will inspire others to think creatively and use whatever ability they have on their next thrift find!

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All the items on this blog post were purchased with my own money and are not sponsored. Just products I love, that also make my life a little easier.