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how to make a bench cushion without sewing! at all! and also a pillow!

Hey! Remember when I redid our office? And I promised to share details on how I made the cushion in the window seat? Yeah, so I completely forgot about it… sorry, man. LIFE. BUT HERE YOU GO!

Disclaimer: I do not sew, and I am really not all that crafty. I went into this Make A Cushion thing hoping for the best and fearing the worst. And the only reason I did it at all is because the window seat was a really weird size and to order a custom cushion would have probably cost me my marriage, so I opted to make one. I have no idea if I did it the best way possible (probably not!) and you may have a better method and are laughing at your computer screen at my ridiculous idea of Making A Cushion. But this is how I did it and it worked pretty well, at least for my purposes. It’s not a high-traffic room and nobody really sits on that cushion much anyway. If it were in our living room or something, my guess is it might not be holding up so well by now. But hey. It looks cute and it was easy and relatively cheap to make so I call it a WIN.

Okay! On to the tutorial!

The cushion is made of this fun, green foam stuff.

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You can find it at the craft store and, as I found out, it comes in a dizzying array of shapes and thicknesses and it comes in different sized rolls and packages and ZOMG MY HEAD JUST EXPLODED. I had to do math in the foam aisle at the craft store and let’s just say it involved lots of sketching and scribbling on the teeny tiny post-it note I had with me. I finally settled on a few pre-cut/measured squares and decided I would just cut the extra squares to fit.

What did I cut them with, you ask? A bread knife! Worked great. I cut the pieces and fit them together like a puzzle, then glued them all with Gorilla Glue. Simple.

And underneath the foam you’ll see the batting. This is where I really wasn’t sure of the best thing to buy. I went with a roll of basic batting, middle of the road price and thickness from what I could see in the aisle of quilting stuff. I grabbed it and ran to the checkout. (I was still a little shaken up from my Math Incident in the green foam aisle.)

I dabbed some Gorilla Glue on the batting like so. Very precise and neat, as you can see (SNORT. I had this crap all over my hands by the end. DON’T BE LIKE ME. WEAR GLOVES OR SOMETHING.)

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But really, it doesn’t have to be neat and clean. Just get some glue on the edge (you could use just about anything, I’d guess- fabric glue, etc. Or even double-sided craft tape? That would definitely be less messy!) and fold your batting up over the foam.

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I did the same thing for the other side, then folded it up to meet the first side.

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Obviously it doesn’t quite reach, but it doesn’t matter, really. This is the bottom! Once I added some glue to other two ends and folded them like I was wrapping a present, the top is just fine.

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(You’ll see some rips in the batting there. I had a false start on my methods. Ignore those. Also, I ended up going back to the store and getting a second package of batting because one layer just wasn’t enough cushion-y softness. I just did the exact same thing with the second layer- glue, fold, voila!)

Now the fun part! Covering the whole thing in the pretty pretty fabric. Once the glue was dry, I laid out my (ironed!) fabric on the floor and placed the cushion on top, lining everything up so that the seam would be on the bottom.

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The first thing I did was make a clean seam on the top edge of the fabric. I ran a bead of fabric glue along the underside, then folded it under. Then I put another bead of glue along the underside of THAT edge, then pressed that whole thing down onto the cushion.

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See? Clean seam. Probably not necessary since it’ll be covered up, but all the ragged edges were driving me bananas.

I let the glue dry a bit on that first edge that was attached to the cushion. Then I flipped it over so I could make sure it would all wrap around okay when I did the next edge.

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Starting to take shape! Yay!

Flipped it back over, and made another clean seam with the fabric glue- this one’s important because it will be on the outside.

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Then I ran a bead of fabric glue all along that edge…

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…and then folded it all over!

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Okay. Now. This is like showing the internet a picture of me in my UNDERPANTS, because… well. It’s not very pretty. But it doesn’t matter. I folded and tucked the other edges over and under a few different ways, trying to avoid too much bulk and make it clean and neat. Then I glued the crap out of it.

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Ugly. BUT LOOK.

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Perfect.

office: after

One final secret: I stuck a few of these velcro-doo-dads on the bottom, just because immediately Maggie picked the cushion up and tried throwing it around the room and NO WAY MAN. And now it doesn’t move around when she climbs up there, either.

no-sew bench cushion

And just a fun add-on: I had extra fabric when I was done making the curtains for the room (using the No-Sew Method I found at Young House Love) and after I did this no-sew cushion I got a little crazy and decided to try covering a pillow with the fabric, using nothing but fabric glue and a prayer.

You guys. I JUST MADE THIS. #marthafreakingstewart

IT WORKED. I didn’t take any pictures along the way because I SERIOUSLY did not think it was going to work. But basically I just bought a pillow form at the craft store and followed instructions similar to these. Except instead of using a sewing machine, I used glue. And mine is permanent- I didn’t think ahead about making a nice flap so I can remove it and wash it. But since this particular pillow is just for show in the office, it’ll work. I love that little pillow.

19 Comments

  1. keli
    @kelihoskins

    this is all sorts of awesome. you could re-model your whole house with gorilla glue, i think!! so damn sticky! :)

    Jan 27 9:28 pm


  2. That looks awesome!

    Jan 27 9:37 pm


  3. Kelly
    @Tooptumber

    You did a great job! I think I asked before, but I can’t remember: do you have a link to that fabric? And can we have twinsies fabric in our houses? Would that be weird? :)

    Jan 27 9:54 pm


  4. You did an awesome job! I love Gorilla Glue – it fixes ANYTHING.

    Jan 27 10:11 pm


  5. Tracy
    @overmom

    Looks great!

    Jan 28 9:00 am


  6. That’s my kind of crafting- glue it all together! (And I even know how to sew and own a sewing machine and everything. I’m just lazy.) The finished picture looks great!

    Jan 28 4:32 pm


  7. Jesabes
    @Jesabesblog

    Both the bench and pillow look amazing. I tend to not even attempt projects like these because I go into them thinking if I can’t do it “right” (i.e. sewing) I won’t do it at all. Except then I never do anything and you have all this awesome stuff!

    Jan 29 7:06 pm


    • Jen
      @jayesel

      Thanks- and I had to get over that issue myself. I would be paralyzed by fear of screwing it up… this was a good practice project I think, because it’s not a main living area so if it turned out crappy, I could just hide it upstairs behind a closed door ;)

      Jan 30 11:14 am


  8. So cute! Very inspirational for when I break down and make fabric decisions. Those are the hardest to me – I feel like you have to be married to fabric since it’s such a pain to change it out. Yay you!

    Jan 30 11:11 am


    • Jen
      @jayesel

      oh TOTALLY. I walked around the fabric store a billion times and I think at one point I had 5 different possibilities sticking out of my cart, practically knocking people over. Then I put them all back and ended up with something completely different when it was all said and done. ha Paint is SO MUCH EASIER for me to pick for some reason… I guess because it’s just color, not pattern/texture, etc?

      Jan 30 11:13 am


  9. Denise C.

    Thank you for posting this! I looked at so many sites before this and they were much to complicated. Yours is perfect. I will now attempt to make one as nice as yours!

    Feb 5 7:40 pm


  10. We must be crafting buddies because I also follow the “Don’t Sew If You Don’t Have To” rule. Iron on hem tape and fabric glue are where it’s at.

    Lovely job!!!

    Feb 6 10:15 pm


  11. That looks completely awesome!

    Feb 9 10:46 am


  12. Dodie

    Looks great! You inspired me to make a cushion for my porch swing. I like your Gorilla glue idea – cheaper than iron-on stuff!
    My mom taught me a neat trick years ago for cutting foam – use an electric carving knife (you know, the one that stays in the drawer until Thanksgiving!) I have to draw a line first with a yardstick and felt marker so I can cut straight, but it makes a nice clean edge.

    Apr 26 1:29 pm


    • Jen
      @jayesel

      I saw that somewhere too! But I don’t actually have an electric knife (travesty!) so I improvised with the bread knife, since it has a serrated edge. It worked pretty well! I love coming up with ridiculous ideas for crafts. Bread knife, gorilla glue… ha

      Apr 26 3:02 pm