1 October 2013

how to make a bean bag

Bean bags are a versatile and comfortable seating option that can be a great addition to any home. Whether looking for a cozy place to relax in your living room or a fun seating option for a kid's playroom, making your bean bag can be rewarding and fulfilling; not only will you have a unique and personalized piece of furniture, but you will also have the satisfaction of knowing that you created it yourself.

In this beginner's guide, we will take you through the step-by-step process of making your bean bag. From choosing suitable materials to customizing your creation, we will provide you with all the information you need to get started. Even if you have little to no experience with sewing or crafting, this guide will walk you through each stage, making it accessible to anyone willing to try it.

By the end of this guide, you will have a comfortable and stylish bean bag that you can proudly display in your home. So, grab your materials and let's get started on this exciting DIY project!

Materials Needed

Before diving into making your bean bag, gathering all the necessary materials is essential. Here is a list of items you'll need to ensure a successful DIY bean bag project:

1. Fabric:
Choose a durable and comfortable fabric for your bean bag. It should be strong enough to withstand regular use and preferably machine washable. Popular choices include cotton, canvas, denim, or upholstery fabric. Consider the colour and pattern that will complement your space and personal style.

2. Thread:
High-quality thread is essential for strong and secure seams. Opt for a thread that matches the colour of your fabric or a colour that complements it. A strong, polyester thread is usually a reliable choice.

3. Zipper:
You'll need a zipper to make your bean bag cover removable for easy cleaning or refilling. Choose a heavy-duty zipper that matches the length of your bean bag's opening. The zipper should be sturdy enough to withstand repeated use.

It's worth noting that while these three materials are essential, you may also need additional tools like sewing pins, fabric scissors, measuring tape, and a sewing machine. These tools can significantly simplify the process and ensure a professional-looking finished product. However, if you don't have access to a sewing machine or prefer hand sewing, making a bean bag using basic sewing techniques is still possible.

Once you have gathered all the necessary materials, you'll be ready to move on to the next step: preparing the fabric.

Preparing the Fabric

Once you have gathered all the necessary materials, it's time to prepare the fabric for your bean bag. This crucial stage sets the foundation for creating a durable and comfortable bean bag.

1. Cutting the Fabric

Begin by laying your chosen fabric on a flat surface, ensuring it is wrinkle-free. Using a measuring tape or ruler, mark the dimensions for the panels of your bean bag. The size and shape can vary depending on your preference, but a typical bean bag is around 36 inches in diameter.

Carefully cut out the panels, ensuring you have an equal number of pieces for the top and bottom. Precision is critical here, so take time to achieve clean and accurate cuts.

2. Sewing the Panels

Next, it's time to sew the panels together. Place two panels with their right sides facing each other, aligning the edges. Pin them together to secure the pieces in place. Repeat this process for all the panels until you have a complete circle.

Using a sewing machine, stitch along the pinned edges, leaving a seam allowance of about half an inch. Make sure to backstitch each seam's beginning and end to reinforce the stitches. Remove the pins as you sew and continue until all panels are complete, forming the bean bag cover.

3. Installing the Zipper

To make your bean bag cover easily accessible for filling and cleaning, you'll need to install a zipper. Decide where you want your zipper, preferably on one of the straight edges. Measure the opening length and purchase a zipper that matches the size.

With the panels still inside out, align the zipper along the chosen edge, ensuring the teeth face down towards the fabric. Pin the zipper in place, making sure it is centred and straight. Using a zipper foot on your sewing machine, carefully stitch along both sides of the zipper, securing it to the fabric. Remove the pins; your bean bag cover now has a functional zipper.

Please take a moment to inspect your seams and zipper to ensure they are secure. Turn the cover right side out, and you'll see the beginning of your bean bag taking shape.

You have successfully prepared the fabric for your bean bag by following these steps. The next stage will be filling the bag, where you'll bring your creation to life by adding the perfect amount of comfort and support.

Filling the Bean Bag

Once you have completed sewing the panels and installing the zipper, it's time to fill your bean bag. This step is essential to give your bean bag its comfortable shape and provide the proper support for you to relax and enjoy.

1. Choosing the Right Filling

Various options are available for filling your bean bag, and the choice depends on your preference and budget. Here are a few popular options:

a) Polystyrene Beads: These tiny, lightweight beads are the most common filling for bean bags. They conform to your body shape, providing excellent comfort and support. Polystyrene beads are affordable and readily available in craft stores or online.

b) Shredded Foam: This filling option offers a slightly firmer feel compared to polystyrene beads. It provides excellent support and retains its shape well over time. Shredded foam is a great choice for a more structured bean bag.

c) Microfiber or Polyester Fiberfill: If you want a softer and more cushioned bean bag, consider using microfiber or polyester fiberfill. This filling creates a plush, cozy feel, often used in pillows and cushions.

2. Filling the Bag

Before you start filling, ensure you have ample space to work with. Clear an area where you can easily maneuver the bean bag without obstacles.

a) Begin by opening the zipper and securing it in place so it doesn't accidentally open while filling the bag. Some bean bags have a Velcro or snap closure to keep the zipper in place.

b) Slowly pour the filling material into the bean bag, starting with small amounts. Slow pouring allows you to distribute the filling evenly and adjust the comfort level. Be careful to fill the bag evenly, as it may prevent the bean bag from bursting or losing shape.

c) Use your hands to distribute the filling throughout the bag, ensuring it reaches all corners and edges, which will help maintain an even and comfortable seating surface.

3. Closing the Bean Bag

Once you are satisfied with the amount of filling and the overall shape of your bean bag, it's time to close it up.

a) Carefully remove any excess filling from the zipper area to avoid interference when closing.

b) Close the zipper slowly, ensuring that both sides align perfectly. Take your time to prevent any fabric from getting caught in the zipper.

c) Double-check the zipper to make sure it is securely closed. Tug on the zipper to test its strength and ensure it won't accidentally open.

Remember, the filling level of your bean bag is a matter of personal preference. Some prefer a firmer seat, while others prefer a softer, more relaxed feel. Experiment with the filling until you find the perfect balance that suits your comfort needs.

Customizing Your Bean Bag

Now that you have successfully filled your bean bag, it's time to put your personal touch on it. The following section will explore various ways to customize your bean bag, from adding piping to incorporating embroidery or applique. Stay tuned to transform your bean bag into a unique and stylish piece of furniture.


Congratulations! You have successfully learned how to make your bean bag. By following this beginner's guide, you have gained valuable knowledge on the materials needed for sewing, filling, and customizing your bean bag.

Creating your bean bag not only allows you to save money but also allows you to personalize it according to your style and preference. Whether you add piping, embroidery, or decorative buttons, your bean bag will now be a unique and stylish addition to your home.

Remember, the key to making a great bean bag is using high-quality materials and taking time during each step. Refrain from rushing to ensure your bean bag is comfortable and durable.

Now that you have completed this beginner's guide, you can confidently embark on your bean bag-making journey. Feel free to experiment with different fabrics, colours, and designs to create a bean bag that reflects your personality.

So gather your materials, set up your sewing machine, and let your creativity flow. Before you know it, you'll be lounging on your handmade bean bag, enjoying its comfort and charm.

We hope this guide has helped empower you to create your bean bag. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don't be discouraged if your first attempt isn't flawless. With time and experience, you'll become a bean bag-making expert.

Thank you for joining us on this DIY adventure, and we wish you all the best in your bean bag-making endeavours. Happy sewing!

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