Beanbag Cushion

Image of a finished beanbag cushionThese large floor cushions are ideal for children and grown ups alike, not to mention the family pet.

Filled with polystyrene balls, beanbags are both warm and comfortable as they mould to your shape.

As an alternative, they can be filled with foam chippings but these tend to make the beanbag lumpy.

Remember that whatever filling you decide upon it should comply with the fire retardant rules and regulations of your country.

The filling is encased in a separate inner bag which is made from an inexpensive strong fabric such as calico or ticking so that the cover can be easily removed for laundering.

The outer cover is cut in separate panels which is ideal for utilizing spare pieces or off cuts of fabric to make a multi-coloured beanbag.

Image refers to colour code key for the diagrams


  • Hardwearing fabric for the outer cover. 4 pieces, each measuring 25" (64 cms) wide and 31" (79 cms) long plus 2 pieces, each measuring 29" (74 cms) wide by 15" (37.5 cms) long.
  • Calico or ticking for the inner bag, 6 pieces cut to the same sizes as the outer fabric.
  • Strong matching threads.
  • 20" (50 cms) zip.
  • Polystyrene balls for the filling (approximately 6 cubic feet). This can be purchased from
  • Large sheet of paper for pattern.
  • Pencil, ruler and length of string.

Making the Paper Pattern for Side Panel:

  1. Image refers to making a paper pattern for the side panelCut a piece of paper 24" (60 cms) wide by 30" (75 cms) long and mark the centre point along the top edge.
  2. Measure 20" (50 cms) up from each bottom corner and mark.
  3. Draw an arc from each side mark to the top centre point and cut along this line.

Making the Paper Pattern for the Base Pieces:

  1. Image refers to making a paper pattern for the base piecesCut a rectangle of paper 14" (36 cms) by 28" (71 cms) and fold it in half to make a square.
  2. Using a length of string attached to a pencil, draw a quarter circle with a radius of 14" (36 cms).
  3. Cut around the curve and open out.

Making a Beanbag:

  1. Cut out 4 side pieces and 2 base pieces using the paper pattern adding 0.5" (12 mm) to all edges for seam allowances.
  2. Image refers to steps 2 and 3 of making a beanbagLay 1 side piece on a flat surface, right side up, and lay a second side piece on top, wrong side up, matching the raw edges.
  3. Starting 0.5" (12 mm) from the top edge, pin and stitch down one side edge, 0.5" (12 mm) in from the raw edges.
  4. Repeat for the other side panels to make a cone of fabric.
  5. Press all the seam allowances to one side.
  6. Backstitch through all the layers at the top point to strengthen.
  7. Place 1 base piece on a flat surface, right side up, and lay the other piece on top, wrong side up, matching the raw edges.
  8. Pin the long straight sides together, 0.5" (12 mm) in from the raw edges.
  9. Insert a central zip into this seam and open the zip.
  10. Image refers to steps 9 to 12 of making a beanbagLay the base section on a flat surface, right side up, and lay the fabric cone on top, wrong side out.
  11. Pin the bottom edges of the fabric cone around the edge of the base piece, 0.5" (12 mm) in from the raw edges.
  12. Clip the seam allowance around the curve so that the fabric lays flat and stitch 0.5" (12 mm) in from the raw edges.
  13. Turn right side out through the zip and press.
  14. To make the inner bag, repeat steps 1 to 13 omitting the zip and stitching the 2 base sections together along the straight side, 0.5" in from the raw edges. Leave an opening, of approximately 6" (15 cms), in one side of the fabric cone for filling. To strengthen the seams, work a second row of stitches within the seam allowance.
  15. Using an improvised funnel made from a piece of paper, pour the polystyrene balls into the inner bag until it is half to three quarters full.
  16. Turn in the seam allowance on the opening in line with the rest of the seam and work 2 rows of machine stitches across the opening to secure.
  17. Insert the bag into the outer cover and close the zip.

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