Basic Box Cushion Cover

Categories: Utility, Decor, Kid Friendly, Pillow, furniture, Cushions, Back to School

***MATERIALS AMOUNTS MAKE 2 CUSHIONS*** Divide amounts in half if you are making only one cushion.

Box cushions are SO versatile and are surprisingly easy to make.  They are great for recovering chair or sofa cushions that need an update or for making giant bean bags and floor cushions.  They’re perfect for home and school settings and can be folded, twisted and doubled up for relaxing in lots of positions.  Keep on to yourself or sit with a friend, the possibilities are endless.  We chose to keep ours as simple as possible without piping, but you could easily add piping to add a little extra bling and definition.  Adding a layer of Shield Moisture and Allergen Barrier Fabric underneath could also turn this in to a great dog bed.

We love the Cut-to-Size Upholstery Zippers from Dritz for this project…one of these zippers is large enough for both cushions, plus some extra zipper length left over for another project.

The contrast pillows included in the picture are made from anti-pill fleece using the Simple Zippered Pillow Tutorial here.

What you need to make this project

Materials
4 Yards Canvas Fabric (or other durable fabric) for Cover
3 bags - Poly-Fil® Bean Bag Filler 2½ pound Bag
***OR*** Poly-Fil® Bean Bag Filler 2½ pound Bag
***OR*** Soft Support Foam 72″ X 24″ X 4″ Thick
2 1/2 Yards 60" wide fleece for inner cushion if not using foam
1 Cut-to-size Upholstery Zipper from Dritz
Coordinating Thread
Supplies
Sewing Machine and related supplies
pins
rotary cutter, mat, and ruler OR sewing scissors
Serger (optional for finishing edges)

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Poly-Fil® Bean Bag Filler 2½ pound Bag

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Poly-Fil® Premium Fiber Fill 5 pound Box

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Instructions

Step One

***MATERIALS AMOUNTS MAKE 2 CUSHIONS.  However, instructions specify cutting directions for ONE cushion at a time.***

***Use a 1/2 inch seam allowance unless otherwise indicated.***

Many different fabrics will work for these cushions.  If you cushion is going to see a lot of use, I recommend something more durable like canvas, denim, or Cuddle fabric, or cuddle suede, depending on the look you’re going for.  We chose to use canvas with a fun print for this project.  The accent pillows use anti-pill fleece.

These instructions are for making a cover that is 21″x 35″ x 4 1/2″.  You can adjust the size and shape as needed to make a larger or smaller cushion.  Please see notes at the end if you’re calculating.

Cut 2 rectangles for the top and bottom of your cushion.  I used 22″ x 36″ inches.  I basically cut a 1 yard piece and then cut it down the center fold.  I did NOT bother removing the selvages, but you can if you like.  Standard fabrics very from 42″-44″ wide.  If your fabric is a bit narrower, your cushion will still turn out great.  The main thing is to make sure both of your rectangles are exactly the same size as each other.

Cut (2) 3 ” Width-of-Fabric (WoF) strips.  These are the strips we’ll be using on the back of your cushion with the zipper.

Cut (2) 5″ WoF strips.  This will reach around the rest of your cushion.

1 Cut-to-Size Dritz Cut-to-Size upholstery zipper will be large enough for two cushions.

 

Step Two

Stitch your two narrower strips together across their whole length with a LARGE basting stitch (since we’ll be removing this later.  Iron open and flat.  (I used red thread for photographing purposes, but you’ll want to use something that matches your fabric as much as possible.)

DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More

Step Three

Stitch your zipper with the RIGHT SIDE (the side with the zipper head) toward your fabric to the BACK of your seam.  Stitch as close as possible to the zipper.

DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More

Use a seam ripper to remove the basting stitches and expose the zipper.  Move ONE of your zipper pulls onto the portion of the zipper attached to the fabric.

DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More

Step Four

Cut a 4″ piece of fabric off of one of your 5″ WoF strips.  Sew this to one end of your zipper strip.

DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More

Stitch your remaining 5″ strips to the other end of your zipper strip.

DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More

Trim excess zipper from each end.

DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More

Step Five

Mark the middle of your zipper strip and the middle the BACK of your cushion and pin.

DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More

Step Six

Starting at the center pin, stitch one direction with a 1/2 seam allowance.  Stop 1/2 inch before you reach the end of your cushion top.  Snip your side strip near to, the needle (staying in the seam allowance) and pivot.  It’s also a good idea to back-stitch just a bit before and after your pivot.  Continue sewing.

On the end of the zipper with the short piece sewn to the end, stop and back-stitch about 3″ before the end of the zipper strip.  Leave this loose until the end to ensure we get the right fit.

DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More

When you get to the end of the zipper strip with the LONG strip of fabric sewn to it, fold the strip back under the zipper about 2 inches to make a fabric flap that will cover your zipper end.  Continue stitching with a 1/2 seam allowance.

DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More

Once you’ve sewn nearly around the whole cushion, leave about 6″ of cushion unsewn.

DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More

Match up your two strips and sew RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER so that you have about 2 inches of EXTRA LENGTH.  This will ensure a perfect fit and allow for a fold of fabric to cover up the zipper ends.

DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More

Use the extra fabric to make a fold that will cover the end of the zipper.  (This will keep the zipper pull from scratching and catchin on things, protect it from breaking off, and giving your finished cushion a more polished look.)  Finish stitching with 1/2 inch seam allowance.

DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More

 

Step Seven

Before you continue make sure your zipper is at least half open for during you cushion right side out.

To sew the second side of our cushion on, we’re going to start at one of the corners.  Find one of the corners on the side FULL zipper side of your cushion.  Make the seam allowance snip that allows for the strip to bend around your cushion corner.  Line it up 1/2 inch in from the bottom of your cushion.

DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More

Starting at that corner, stitch all the way around your cushion with a 1/2 seam allowance, being sure that corners are matching and the folds covering your zipper ends are matching.

DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More

 

Step Eight

Be sure to back-stitch at the ends and you’re done with your cover.  I made my own inner pillow and bean bags to fill up my cushions.  I made the inside from fleece because it is inexpensive, durable, slightly stretchy and comes 60″ wide.  This allowed me to make my inner sack 27″ x 39″ and get both sides from a single width of fleece, 39″ inches long.  My inner sack is just a simple rectangle.  I filled one of my cushions with bean bag filler and the other cushion with poly-fil.  They each have their own advantages depending on the feel you want.  Poly-fil offers the most spring but less support.  Foam offers the most support.  Bean bag filler has the shape-shifting effect and medium support.

Step Nine

If you’re making your box cushion cover to fit existing chair or sofa cushions:

Measure the size of the main cushion surface.  ADD 1″ to each dimension.  This is the size of the large rectangle pieces you need.

Measure the thickness of your cushion.  ADD 1″.  This is the width of fabric strip you’ll need for the full strips going around your cushion.  (For instance, if your cushion is 4″ thick, you’ll need 5″ fabric strips.)

For the zipper strips, DIVIDE your cushion thickness in half, and add 1″ to that.  (For instance if your cushion is 4″ thick, you’ll divide that in half and add an inch, so each of your zipper strips need to be 3″ wide.)

We used this method to recover the chair cushions.  In the case of this chair, the original cushion foam was fine, but the covers were ugly, so we reused the original foam.  In cases where the foam is worn out, you’ll want to cut new cushion foam to the same dimensions as the original foam.

Step Ten

These have lots of fun ways to use them at home.

DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More

DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More

DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More

DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More

Step Eleven

But ultimately these made their way to the kids’ school for a teacher’s reading corner.  He initially just asked us to recover his reading chair…but we surprised him with the floor cushions and accent pillows too.

DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More DIY Basic Boxed Cushions Covers - Perfect for Chairs, Bean Bags, Pillows, and More