Toddler furniture is adorable and fun, but often quite expensive and rarely matches your decor, which is why I decided to design and build my own toddler couch.
Isn’t it cute?! It turned out so well. I’m so happy with it. And guess what it’s made of… GARBAGE. That’s right; it’s all recycled junk. My cost was $0 and it weighs almost nothing.
You may end up spending a bit of money on the materials, but it’s a lot of fun to make and will still cost less than a store-bought version.
– a corrugated cardboard box, preferably with a solid bottom (I used a box from office paper)
– extra pieces of cardboard
– foam pieces in various sizes and thicknesses (I’ve saved them from the packaging around furniture, applicances, etc.)
– fabric (I used upholstery samples)
– glue gun and/or white glue
– scissors, exacto knife and cutting mat
– masking tape
– sewing machine, thread, pins, needle
– paint that matches your fabric (optional)
– 4 stick-on furniture “feet” (optional)
1. Cut one long side off your cardboard box. Cut the short sides in half horizontally. This is your frame.
Cut and stack pieces of cardboard that are the same size as your short sides (arms) until you have them about 1″ thick, then glue them together and glue them inside your frame. Use tape to hold them while the glue dries.
Cut 1″ strips of cardboard and form a grid with them by cutting out notches and interlocking them. Glue to the long side (back). Add short pieces as extra braces anywhere your grid seems a little weak.
Cut a few pieces of cardboard that are the same size as the bottom of the inside of your frame. Glue them together and glue them down. Tape the front edge for added support.
2. Cut and attach pieces of cardboard to cover all of your “edges”.
3. Cut and attach pieces of foam to cover the arms (inside, outside, top) and back (inside, top).
4. Lay pieces of fabric over the arms and back with the wrong side out. Use pins and/or a marker to mark where you need to cut, sew, and join. You may want to try it with cheap/scrap fabric first, then use that as a pattern for your actual fabric. I made the arm covers first, then the back, then joined them. Make sure you leave enough fabric around the bottom edges to glue to the bottom (inside) and underside.
Pull the finished cover over the frame/foam and glue the edges down to the bottom (inside) and underside. Cut a strip of fabric and glue it along the front edge of the bottom.
Measure the space for the cushion and sew it and stuff it. Glue just the bottom of it to the frame.
5. To finish the underside, I painted the cardboard with acryic craft paint that matched my fabric and stuck 4 furniture feet under the corners.
6. DONE! Now, I’ve assumed that you know a bit about sewing, so I hope you don’t have too much trouble with that part. Basically, the old saying “measure twice, cut once” applies. Just take your time. I also haven’t included many dimensions because it completely depends on the size of your box and the size you want things to be. You could definitely make it fancier than I did – to the point of replicating one of your own couches or one you like in a catalogue. If you decided to add legs, make sure you brace the bottom with the grid like we did on the back so that it won’t bend.
Enjoy watching your little one(s) lounge on their own little couch in their playhouse, bedroom, or in the living room in front of the TV!