How to Make an Easy, No-Sew Cushion

Apartment Therapy Tutorials

If you read the January Cure diaries, you probably saw my window seats, both bare and then with cushions. If you're interested, here's how I made the cushions in about an hour.

What You Need

Materials

  • Foam
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Plywood Sheets
  • Thin Batting (Optional)

Tools

  • Measuring Tape
  • Scissors
  • Hammer or Rubber Mallet
  • Staple Gun (with staples of course)
  • Foam Cutter
  • Knife, electric or otherwise

Instructions

1. Measure your space and cut foam to the same dimensions. Your local fabric store can cut it for you (probably for a small fee) or you can try it yourself. I've heard electric knives work well. I don't have one, so I tried a serrated knife for a couple of inches and wound up with really jagged edges. A regular straight blade did better, so that's what we used in the end. If the foam cutting doesn't go well, just put that edge in the back.

Note: Wrapping the foam in batting covers jagged edges, and gives it extra comfort and plush. We opted for a more streamlined look with crisper edges, so batting wasn't used.

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2. Cut your plywood a smidge smaller than the foam, to ensure nice foamy corners and soft edges versus sharp wood ones. 1/2" less on each side works well. If you don't own any of your own tools, have it cut at the hardware store.

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3. Place the fabric (right side face down) in a clean spot, then layer the foam and plywood on top, in that order. Don't worry too much about measuring the fabric. You just want it to be large enough to cover the top, sides and at least three inches on each side of the bottom - or just enough to grab onto when you're stapling into the plywood.

4. If you have a patterned fabric, take care to align it properly. Stripes like ours are easy, but you don't want your floral pattern skewed, or animals that look like they are dancing right off the side of the cushion.

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5. Once everything is in place, it really helps to have a partner in crime — one to pull the fabric as you go and the other to staple. Starting in the middle of one of the longer sides, staple the fabric once to the plywood. Do the same on the other three sides, starting with the opposite long side and then moving to the smaller sides. You want to pull the fabric taut, but not so tight that the fabric rips where it's stapled. On the plastic surgery spectrum, aim for Jane Fonda instead of Joan Rivers. 

Tip: Try to staple close to the edge of the plywood, with staples parallel to the edge. 

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6. Do another set of staples, this time to the right and left of the first middle staple, grabbing and pulling as you go. Follow the same pattern on each of the three other sides as you did before. 

7. Continue stapling, making your way towards the corners. When your staples are roughly an inch away from the corners, stop. If your staples poke out a bit, and you don't want to scrape your bench, tape them with a hammer or rubber mallet until they are flush with the plywood.

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8. To finish off the corners, pinch the loose fabric at its base and fold down. Staple the flap several times until it's secure. Once it's done it will almost look like a little necktie. Which is funny because call girls don't usually wear neckties.

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9. Finish by trimming excess fabric all the way around the sides. Flip the cushion over and put it in place. Take photos, share with friends, and brag about your latest conquest.

(Images: Dabney Frake)

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