Summertime is nearly upon us, which, for many, means kids out of school. This is such a fun time of year – lots of activities to fill their days with. But kids need leisure and “down” time just as much as they need stimulation and exercise, which makes this super simple DIY bean bag chair a must-do in these late spring months. If you have about 45 minutes or less and can sew a zipper, you’re more than equipped to tackle this quick project that will give your kids the perfect relaxation domain.
They might even take a nap here. If you were on the fence about this DIY project before, you’re interested now, aren’t you?
Note: For your reference, the child in the photos above is 3’ tall. Feel free to adjust your own bean bag’s size accordingly to best fit your child(ren).
DIY Level: Beginner to early Intermediate sewing
- Two (2) pieces upholstery fabric (32” x 45”)
- One (1) 22” zipper
- One 3.5 cubes bag bean bag beans
Step 1: Lay out fabric right sides together. You can choose two pieces of fabric that are the same, or you can choose to contrast the two pieces. Either way, it’s recommended that you choose an upholstery weight fabric for best results and durability.
Step 2: Cut fabric to size. Each piece should be 32” x 45”. Prepare to sew both of the 45” sides together.
Step 3: Sew the longer (45”) raw edges together. Make sure right sides of fabric are touching each other (facing in), and use a fairly small straight stitch at 5/8” seam line down both 45” sides. Tip: The smaller the stitch size, the more durable your seam tends to be. I went ahead and did a double seam to improve durability, but that’s not required.
Use a zigzag stitch on the raw edges of your two new seam lines (down the 45” edges) to keep the fabric from fraying over time.
Step 4: Lay out and fold fabric. Fold fabric “hot dog”-style, so that your two 45” seams touch each other.
Step 5: Round the corners. Beginning at the fold, cut a slow arc in your fabric toward the seam lines, aiming for a total of about 6” width off the seam edge.
When you unfold your pieces, you should be left with a symmetrical curve at one end. Adjust and/or trim the curve so that it makes you happy.
Step 6: Sew the curved edge closed. Using the same methods that you used previously (such as small stitch size at 5/8”, with a single or double seam, and zigzagged raw edge), sew the curved edge closed.
Step 7: Prepare for zipper. At this point, you should only have one opening on your piece; the other three ends should be sewn together. Lay your fabric down on a flat surface.
Roll your piece until the two 45” seam edges match up. This puts folds in the middles of your two fabric pieces.
Open your zipper most of the way and place one side (zipper should be face-down) near the edge of your fabric. (Don’t worry about the other half of your zipper at this point; we’ll get to that later.)
Pin this one side of the zipper in place, from one end of the zipper to the other.
Using a zipper foot on your sewing machine, carefully sew the zipper half into place.
Lay your fabric back down on the flat surface and carefully pin the other half of the zipper onto the other side of your bean bag chair fabric. Sew this side into place. Tip: If your zipper foot can’t sew around the zipper pull, simply sew up to it then lift your sewing machine foot and move the zipper pull up or down the zipper, then lower your sewing machine foot and continue your zipper seam.
Step 8: Close off top and bottom of zipper. Although they come with built-in stoppers, it’s helpful to secure the ends of your zipper with a seam or two so that the zipper stays intact over time. Before you finish things off, though, make sure your zipper is at least partly open so you can turn your fabric inside out when complete!
At one edge of the zipper, with the fabric folded together, sew a perpendicular seam over the edge of the zipper and then continue the seam toward the fold in your fabric. (This seam will only be about 5” long.) Repeat on the other end of your zipper. Tip: Curve the end of your seam toward the fold just a bit, only an inch or two, to soften the corner.
Step 9: Finish off the raw edges by your zipper with a zigzag stitch.
Step 10: Fill bean bag chair with “beans.” Turn your bean bag right-side out, fluff out the corners, and begin to fill with the foam beans. These things are static, so I found it most effective to cut a 6” hole in the plastic sack, stick the whole thing down inside my sewn bean bag chair, and work the beans out that way. Find what works for you.
Step 11: Zip it up and enjoy! Congratulations! You have just created a cute and comfortable relaxation spot for your kids (or yourself!).
I’m sure you’ll soon find them lounging and reading their favorite books in no time…
…or taking a nap.
I hope you enjoy this DIY kids bean bag chair project and reap the many benefits of having a designated kid-space this summer!