This post is possibly less about how to make a beanbag floor cushion, (since that is really quite easy), than it is a testimonial about how very useful they can be in your home! :)
I first made two large beanbag floor cushions for our home about 15 years ago - I had found a couple of tapestry pieces I liked at the time and was looking for a way to use them. With our large family, (7 children plus 2 parents = 9), plus many assorted friends on occasion = not enough seating for everybody! - it seemed like a good idea, and the rest, as they say, is history! :)
We have kept the two cushions stacked one on top of the other in our family room, so that they are like an extra seat. We use them flat, on their own or in a stack of two; flat or upended onto their side - and among other things have found them useful for:
... extra seating. They take one or two, and up to three or four bottoms at a time, as needed :)
... somewhere to put up our feet!
... something to lay back against while lounging on the carpet
... a safe and comfy nest for a new baby
... a great way to elevate a broken toe or sore feet
... something for the children to jump on - especially from moderate heights :)
... a great recliner to sleep somewhat upright with after dental surgery
... as padding on the bedroom floor of a toddler learning not to fall out of bed!
... easily portable seating to take into the lounge room as needed, or even to loan out to friends for parties :)
... something to lay over for postural drainage or, more usually, to drape over to read a book or watch a movie
In recent years I have made a set of these beanbag cushions for three of our married children, most recently as a Christmas present for Bethy. Here's what you need for each single cushion if you would like to make these for your home:
- 2 x 93cm squares of a light and strong fabric for the inner lining/insert. (I usually use a poly-cotton fabric. This fabric won't be seen.)
- 2 x 93cm squares of outer upholstery fabric. (I used a light corduroy for the cushions I made recently.)
- 1 metre of medium to heavy-duty zip
- polystyrene beanbag filling (about 120 litres for each cushion? The beans flatten over time and I have added to our cushions probably about 4 or 5 times over the years. I haven't replaced beans, just added them. It's nice to have a bit of 'squish' in your cushions, but you might like more beans if you like them sturdier.)
To make the inner lining/insert:
- With right sides facing, sew the two pieces of fabric together along three and a half sides (leave a gap of about 30cm (1 ft.) in the centre of one side.) Use a 1.5cm seam allowance throughout.
- Strengthen and finish the seam well, with at least one more line of sewing about 1cm. from your first. (You don't want the beads to escape from a popped seam.)
- Turn and fill with beans through the hole you left. Hand-sew the remaining seam closed by folding the seam ends over a couple of times, and sewing well with double thread. I use a brightly coloured thread so that it is easy for me to unpick it when I need to add more beads.
To make the outer cushion cover:
- With right sides together, sew along one side of the cushion only, using a 1.5cm seam allowance and a long basting thread that is easy to unpick.
- Turn over and open out and flatten the seam allowance.
- Pin your zip (I used continuous zip), all the way down the seam line, matching the centre of the zip to the centre of the seam.
- Sew the zip in once all around, and then once more, about .5cm-1cm away from your first line of stitching, to strengthen it. Unpick the basting line - you should find that the seam lines up perfectly over the zip.
- With right sides together, sew remaining three sides of the covers, then sew again 1cm away, to reinforce.
Really, the only ticklish parts to doing this are: 1. filling the bags with beans. (I challenge you to not let any of them escape! You ought to do a good vacuum when you have finished to make sure little fingers don't put them into little mouths and perhaps inhale them), and 2. Sewing the thicknesses of fabric, if you are dealing with upholstery material. Especially over the zip might be hard. If so, I suggest you just sew what you can and finish near the zip with some hand-sewing.
(Don't you love this patchwork floor cushion? You can find a tutorial for it here. I love the colours! :)
Of course, you could also go larger!