Sunday, January 8, 2012

Dabbling In Furniture Making

     I have absolutely no experience in furniture making.  However, I am in the middle of making a kid-size sofa.  Some of the templates (made from an old cardboard box) have been drawn and cut out.  I figured, if it turns out, I'd be able to duplicate it without too much trouble.  I know how I want it to look but am having difficulty getting my ideas to work.  I know the framework won't be seen but I'd like it to be secure AND tidy. 
     The foam was ordered from using a 50% off coupon a couple of months ago.  Due to all the to do of the holidays, I didn't open the box until today.  I now know how they got all that foam into such an itty bitty was rolled and vacuum packed.  It's opened and unrolled.  I sure hope it regains its' shape.  Otherwise, the sofa may just wind up being an unpadded bench.
     Since this is an experimental piece, I am using scrap wood left over from other projects.  The back and from pieces were cut from a half sheet of 3/4" plywood (it has splotches of various paints and stains from where it was used as a surface to place other items on while painting them).

The back panel template.  On the left, I've marked it for tufting (if I'm going to be experimenting, might as well experiment with a variety of techniques, right?).

The front panel template (laying on the cut out pieces of plywood).  You can see the holes have been drilled in the back piece, for tufting and the front piece has also but cut.

Because of the thickness of the foam and batting, a longer needle was necessary.  Being that the nearest store with the possibility of an upholstery/tufting needle (I don't know its' actual name) in stock is almost 30 miles away, I used what I had on hand - stiff stainless steel wire and masking tape. A workable length was cut, the end looped, and taped to itself to prevent snagging.

The underside.  Thick bamboo skewers (again, using what I had on hand) were cut into approximately 3" lengths and used to secure the knotted tufting threads

The layers used were, the 3/4" plywood,

4" thick medium density foam,

high loft fiberfil sheeting,

2 layers of high loft quilt batting (I thought I was buying more of the fiberfil sheeting but, as it turned out, there is a difference...the fiberfil sheeting is loftier, more like what one would use in a comforter and the quilt batting is denser or more tightly compacted.  Here, I thought high loft was high loft.  I'll be sure to check closer should I purchase it again)

Red piping, cut into approximately 3" pieces, folded over, to use for the tufting.  I had originally planned on using just fabric covered buttons but, after looking at them then, assessing the task for which they were to be used, I decided the buttons didn't look like they could handle the strain of tufting and will add them later as adornment only.

I love the look!

After all the pulling was done, I acknowledged what I could've/should've done differently (that is a big factor of this experimental project afterall) as well as realized how much work goes into tufting and have a new found admiration and appreciation for those that do it all the time.


  1. You make it look so easy!!! waiting for some more.
    Question...I take ,it is a headboard? what are the openings at the bottom for?

  2. It is the back portion of a child-size sofa. The unfinished areas on either side are where the arms will fit. The round areas at the bottom of the front and back pieces are there mostly for decoration (and to hide the support legs of the framework that will ultimately be there.).


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