Does the thought of making a box cushion seem intimidating to you?
Then you are in the right place!
We’ll share tips that will make sewing a box cushion easier and with a perfect fit.
Let me tell you, I wanted to have this bench cushion for the reading nook custom made by a professional!
With all of the DIY projects we had going on with the basement family room, this was not a project I really wanted to do!
However, I was too slow and with a 5 week lead time it wouldn’t be ready in time for the room reveal.
So, that meant we’d make our own box cushion.
It’s not like we’re total newbies at it, my mom has sewn box cushions for several pieces of furniture.
But with all we had going on, we just didn’t want one more project.
Today we’ll share tips that will make sewing a box cushion easier and with a perfect fit.
Now this post may seem really long but we wanted to have a picture of every single step.
Because I believe a picture is worth a thousand words!
But never sewing a box cushion.
So today’s the day!
- What You’ll Need to Make a Box Cushion
- The Foam Cushion
- How to Make Piping for a Box Cushion
- How to Measure and Cut Fabric for a Box Cushion
- How to Sew a Box Cushion
- Sew in Box Zipper Section of Cushion
What You’ll Need to Make a Box Cushion
Before you start to make your box cushion, you’ll want to gather all of your supplies.
And you may find it helpful to get some of your supplies from a furniture/upholstery supply.
That’s where we purchased our cording, dacron batting, zipper and foam spray adhesive.
It’s also a good place to look for foam, but with the size we needed even at the furniture supply, it was over $200 for the foam alone!
Luckily after a trip to The Home Depot I spotted camping foam.
We’ve used it before for cushions, but we wanted our cushion 6″ thick, so we’ll layer it to achieve a thicker cushion.
- foam cushion
- dacron batting
- foam spray adhesive – optional (we used National Guards 633 Foam lock)
- thread (upholstery weight is helpful)
- cording (if you want piping on your cushion)
- measuring tape
- quilting ruler
- Something to cut the foam (we used the table saw and it worked really well, but in the past we’ve used an electric knife or a serrated knife.)
- sewing machine
One more thing I want to mention is that we used a regular sewing machine for this project.
I’m sure an upholstery machine would’ve made it much easier, but a regular machine will work.
Although if you’re trying to match stripes like me, a walking foot for your machine would be very helpful.
The Foam Cushion
First you’ll want to get your foam cut to the size you need for making a box cushion.
Since we needed to make our cushion longer and we wanted a 6″ deep cushion we purchased 3 pieces of foam from Home Depot.
The camping foam at Home Depot is 72″ long by 30″ wide and 3″ deep.
First we marked the foam to cut the additional length we needed.
Then to cut the foam we used the saw.
It’s the first time we’ve used the saw to cut foam, but it worked and it was quick and accurate.
You can also cut foam with an electric or a serrated knife.
Next we attached the foam pieces together with spray adhesive that’s specifically for upholstery foam.
It works like contact cement.
First you’ll spray both sides that you want to adhere together and wait until it’s tacky, then press the two sides together.
This is the first time we’ve used this spray adhesive and we were really impressed with the strength of the bond.
It bonds instantly and we couldn’t pull it apart.
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In addition to adhering the pieces to the length, we also used the spray adhesive layering the two pieces of foam together to get our 6″ depth.
By purchasing our foam at The Home Depot we spent around $60 for the foam which is a lot less than $200!
Wrap Foam with Dacron Batting
Finally you’ll want to cover your foam cushion with a layer of dacron batting.
Personally, I think the dacron batting from the furniture supply is a much better quality than a quilt batting.
We simply wrapped it around our foam cushion and whip stitched it together with thread.
How to Make Piping for a Box Cushion
Certainly you can make a box cushion without piping, but we love the look with piping.
In fact, we even decided to make our piping for our box cushion a contrasting color.
We purchased 3/4 of a yard of denim fabric for the piping and it was more than enough to do both sides of our boxed cushion.
Piping should be cut on the bias or diagonal of the fabric.
This will allow for some give and stretch to the piping, which will make for a neater looking cushion.
First we cut our fabric in half on the diagonal.
Next place right sides together aligning two of the straight edges.
Then stitch together with a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Now open the fabric and using a quilting ruler make lines every 2″ along the length of the fabric.
Next you’ll want to align the first line on one side with the second line on the other side.
This will off set it by one row and allow you to make a continuous bias strip of fabric.
Then stitch together forming a tube. This may be easier to understand watching it in the video.
And finally cut along the lines.
This will form one continuous strip of bias fabric for making your piping.
At this time, place a zipper foot on your sewing machine.
Then place the cording in the center of the bias strip and stitch as close and you can to the cord.
How to Measure and Cut Fabric for a Box Cushion
Once you have the dimensions of your cushion, you can begin to cut your fabric for making a box cushion.
For the top and bottom of your box cushion you’ll take the length and width of your cushion and add 1″.
For instance our cushion measures 86″ x 30″, so we cut 2 pieces of our striped fabric to 87″ x 31″.
This will allow for a 1/2″ seam allowance around the cushion.
For the side or box section, the depth of our cushion is 6″, so we cut strips of fabric 7″ wide and approximately 182″ in length.
Also, you’ll need to cut 2 pieces that are the length of your zipper and half the width of the box section, plus 1″.
For example our box section is 7″ wide, so half will be 3 1/2″ + 1″.
Just to be safe I cut my two pieces 72″ (the length of the zipper) by 5″.
This will give a little extra width after the zipper is sewn into place that can be trimmed to the 7″ size needed.
How to Sew a Box Cushion
First we prepared the pieces that will be stitched to the zipper.
Begin by folding over 1″ along the length of both zipper pieces, press with a steam iron.
Next align the pressed fabric with the center of the zipper and stitch to the zipper.
Repeat with the other side of fabric.
Then center the box piece on top of the stitched zipper piece and trim off any excess.
Sewing the Box Section to the Cushion Top
Now it’s time to assemble all of the pieces for making a box cushion.
We will begin sewing the front edge of the cushion, because this is the area that we will want to have that pattern neatly aligned.
Because we’re going to start sewing the front, you’ll want to pin the box strip of fabric along the sides and have excess for the back of the cushion.
Place the piping, matching the raw edges, then place the box piece on top, aligning the pattern.
Then place a few pins along the front edge of the box cushion to keep everything aligned as you sew.
Place the pinned cushion cover at the sewing machine and begin sewing near the front corner.
Stitch along the front edge almost to the corner.
If you’re matching stripes, frequently check and make sure your pattern is still aligned.
Also if you don’t have a walking presser foot for your sewing machine, it’s likely you’ll need to pull the bottom fabric forward to keep everything aligned.
We found we needed to keep that bottom fabric taut or the stripes didn’t match.
Clip Fabric at Corners
Stop sewing a few inches before the corner.
Clip the piping up to the stitch line 1/2″ from the edge of the fabric or at the point where you’ll pivot and turn to stitch the side.
You’ll also want to clip the box piece at the same location.
This will allow the piece to give a little at the corner as you pivot.
To pivot, put the sewing machine needle down, lift the pressure foot and pivot around the corner.
Pull the piping piece and align the box piece and stitch the side.
Repeat at the next corner.
Along the back edge of the box cushion, stitch an inch or two and stop.
Clip your threads and pull the box section to the side and continue stitching only the piping along the back edge of the cushion.
Stop stitching when you’ve stitched about 3/4 of the piping along the back.
Now you’ll flip your piece over, and begin stitching the remaining side, starting at the front corner.
This time the box piece will be on the bottom and the top of the cushion will be on the top.
Repeat the corners as before.
Stop stitching so that the piping is free for about 4″ on each side.
Connecting the Piping
Lay the two pieces of piping next to each other allowing it to overlap by about 4-5″.
Then cut the piping.
Now you’ll need to open up the seam of the piping with a seam ripper.
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Then trim the cord so that there is no overlap.
Now take the bias strip of fabric you’ve opened up and fold it at a diagonal.
Then place the stitch piping on the piece of folded fabric.
Fold the side over the piped piece.
And stitch to the cushion cover.
Sew in Box Zipper Section of Cushion
It’s now time to add the zipper section to the back of the box cushion.
Place the stitched zipper section along the back of the cushion cover.
Then fold back the box fabric section.
If you have a lot of extra box fabric, trim it so there’s about 3-4″.
Then fold over the box fabric piece about 1/2″.
And then fold it again another 1/2″, covering the end of the zipper.
Now stitch this cased covering over the zipper in place.
Repeat this same process at the other end of the zipper.
Now you will fold back the box section as you flatten out the zipper section.
Stitch the zipper section in place.
This creates a little pocket that folds over the zipper at each end.
Creating a neat and professional looking zipper for a boxed cushion.
Sewing the Back to the Box Cushion Cover
If you’ve stayed with me this long, hooray!
We only have one more piece to stitch and that’s the bottom of the cushion.
First you’ll want to mark the corners.
This will ensure that the corners are all neatly aligned.
Fold the box fabric at each corner and make a little clip.
Then pin the bottom piece of the cushion to the box section, aligning all four corners with the clipped marks.
And finally stitch in place.
Now it’s time to turn your cushion right side out and stuff it with your cushion.
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We love the way the cushion turned out for our reading nook.
It’s hard to believe that we used just a basic sewing machine and the box cushion looks so good.
We hope you found a little inspiration here today.
Are you ready to make your own box cushion with a zipper and piping.
Have you toured our completed basement family room yet?
It’s full of so many inspiring DIY projects!
Do you have a project you’d like to see us complete?
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