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How to build a sofa

Updated February 21, 2017

A sofa, often called a couch, is an upholstered piece of furniture with a long seat and arms. Many people who want a cheap sofa prefer to build their own sofa rather than buy one. Today's materials make it possible for you to build a cheap sofa with a comfortable seat customized to your own personal style.

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  1. Make a frame for the sofa. The frame must be able to support the weight of the padding plus the weight of the people sitting on it. You can build a frame from kiln-dried maple, steel, plastic or laminated boards. Your frame should include the arm posts, the arm tops, a back, front and crest rails, webbing bridges and legs.

  2. Lay the foundation for the seat and back. Traditionally, you weave jute webbing, a special type of burlap, along the areas and tack it in place and then secure tempered steel springs to the webbing. If you want to make a cheap sofa, use zigzag springs and tie them with string to keep them from rotating.

  3. Cover the springs with burlap to protect your padding. Edge roll the burlap over the edges of the sofa, especially the front, to prevent the frame from cutting into people when they sit. To edge roll, roll the end of the burlap to create a thick layer of burlap.

  4. Install foam and padding. Some techniques recommend layering padding enclosed in burlap and shaping the design of the sofa as you work with the layers. To build a cheap sofa, cut your foam and padding to the shape you want and lay them on the sofa. If you plan to add cushions later, don't pad the seat area.

  5. Put muslin or Dacron over the padding and tack it in place. Keep in mind that the padding compresses as you pull the upholstery tight.

  6. Upholster the sofa. If you need to stitch the material to cover an area, stitch the seams first. Stuff extra padding into any dimples to avoid wrinkles in the upholstery. Use metal tack strips to help hold the upholstery in place while you stretch it tight. For extra security, use decorative tacks on the exterior of the upholstery.

  7. Make cushions for the sofa by framing a section of foam with two pads. Add a back zipper to the material for easy access to the foam. Cover the cushion with material.

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Things You'll Need

  • Kiln-dried maple
  • Muslin
  • Dacron (optional)
  • Material
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Metal tack strips
  • Decorative Tacks
  • Zipper
  • Steel (optional)
  • Plastic (optional)
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Jute webbing
  • Tempered steel springs
  • Zigzag springs (optional)
  • String or twine
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Burlap
  • Foam
  • Padding

About the Author

This article was created by a professional writer and edited by experienced copy editors, both qualified members of the Demand Media Studios community. All articles go through an editorial process that includes subject matter guidelines, plagiarism review, fact-checking, and other steps in an effort to provide reliable information.

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