Creating your own sofa is a difficult but rewarding experience. Although you may not stand to save a lot of money after time and materials are factored into the budget, you will have the pride of sitting on something that came from your own effort and hard work. Making a sofa doesn't require a great deal of expertise, but it does require patience and care. If you don't have much experience with woodwork, you may want to consider obtaining a frame elsewhere and upholstering it.
Go to the library or search online for some photos that show a basic sofa stripped to the wood. Study the shapes and models to create your own idea.
Draw plans for the framework of your sofa. Make sure you draw it from more than one angle and then determine dimensions and size. Write the lengths you want next to the drawing of each piece of wood.
Measure lengths of 50 by 100 mm (2 by 4 inch) and 25 by 150 mm (1 by 6 inch) that correspond to the lengths in your drawing. Mark the wood where it will need to be cut with a pencil. Measure the necessary width and length of your plywood and mark that for cutting as well.
Cut the 50 by 100 mm (2 by 4 inch) and 25 by 150 mm (1 by 6 inch) using a circular saw or with a handsaw on your cutting table. Use your table saw to cut the plywood to the proper dimensions.
Assemble the wood and screw it together into its final form with the screw gun. It's best to start with the base and larger parts of the sofa before moving on to smaller pieces.
Place some upholstering foam over the area that needs padding. Trace out the shape you need and cut it to size using your utility knife. If you need extra cushioning, you can layer your sheets of upholstering foam.
Put the foam in its correct place on your sofa. Spray the surface with adhesive and evenly apply the cotton as desired. You can use as much as you like, but it's important to keep the cotton looking even.
Lay the muslin cloth over the area that needs upholstering and trace the shape you need with your pencil. You will later use this cloth as your pattern. You can fold the muslin cloth in half to make certain that your sofa stays symmetrical.
Cut out the pattern you traced on your muslin cloth, but be sure to leave an inch or two of extra space around all sides. Pin it to the upholstery fabric and cut out the pattern.
Put your upholstery fabric in place and staple it directly to the frame underneath or in any other places where it will be out of sight. Pull it taut as you staple and take special care on corners and rounded areas. Staple as often as required to insure a tight, firm fit.
Cut away any excess material but leave about 6 mm (1/4 inch) surplus after the staples. At this stage, you can add any desired decorations.
When considering what wood to use where, plywood is often used for a base. The 50 by 100 mm (2 by 4 inch) are used for the basic frames and the 25 by 150 mm (1 by 6 inch) are used for the seating area and backrests where the cotton batting will be applied. If you want your sofa to be able to hold more weight, consider using thicker wood.