How To Build A Couch

Most people go to a furniture store when they need a new couch but what if you could make one yourself as a DIY project? We look at how to build a couch out of plywood and foam with just a few power tools. 

How To Build A Couch

Not only will you have a unique piece of furniture, but you will also have the satisfaction of knowing that you made it yourself. 

Tools & Materials Needed

  • Circular saw with plywood blade
  • Cordless drill
  • Orbital sander
  • 2.5 sheets ¾ inch plywood
  • Foam for cushions
  • Leather cushion covering

How To Build A Couch

Rip the plywood into strips using the circular saw and a straight edge for guiding the cuts. 

Rip Cuts

The first sheet of plywood will be cut into the following sizes:

  • 3 x 8 foot lengths at 4 ¼ “, 4 ½“ and 4 ¾“ respectively
  • 1 x 8 foot length at 3”
  • 1 x 6 foot length at 3”
  • 1 x 5 ½ foot length at 4”
  • 2 x 12” lengths at 30”
  • 1 x 5 ½  length at 23”
  • 2 x 27 inch lengths at 3”

The second sheet and a half will be cut into the following sizes:

  • 1 x 8 foot length at 7 ⅜ “ 
  • 1 x 8 foot length at 3 ⅝ “
  • 7 x 8 foot lengths at 3”
  • 1 x 5 foot 6” length at 25”
  • 2 x 25” lengths at 3”
  • 2 x 12” lengths at 25”

Making The Beams

After the rip cuts, the longer strips will be cut to length with the circular saw and a speed square. 

For the back beam of the couch, trim the 3 x 8 foot lengths of 4 ¼ “, 4 ½“ and 4 ¾“strips of plywood down to 7 ½ feet and glue together into beams.

Then add the 5 ½ foot length at 4”. Clamp the strips together until the glue has set. 

The front beam is made from the 8-foot length at 7 ⅜“ which has been trimmed down to 7 ½ feet. This is glued to the 8 foot 3 ⅝” length which has also been cut down to 7 ½ feet. 

For the under beam two 3” wide strips cut down to 6 feet are glued and then clamped together. 

Assembling The Frame

To assemble the frame of the couch and join the beams to each other a combination of the strips are used. 

First, the 12” x 25” piece is laid between the front and back beams to connect them followed by 2 of the 12” x 3” pieces on either side of the first piece for added strength.  

These are glued or screwed together followed by another 2 of the 12” x 3” strips and a short lateral strip perpendicular to them. On top of this is laid the 12” x 30” piece. 

This process is repeated at both ends of the couch to form the arms and connect the front and back beams to each other. 

Assemble The Base

To make the base of the couch six of the 27” x 3” strips are glued together on each side of the couch and clamped until set. 

The under beam is then placed on top of these two legs and another two layers of plywood strips at 3” put on top. These are cut to fit either side of the beam. 

Once set a further three layers are glued on, clamped and left to set. Once done, there will be eleven layers of plywood strips making up the base. 

Back Piece & Seat

Back Piece & Seat

The back piece of the couch is the 5 ½ feet x 25” strip of plywood. The seat is the 5 ½ feet x 23” strip.

Put them both into the frame and mark where you need to place the supports and measure for them. You will also need to make a filler piece for the front of the seat. 

The back supports are made from triangles cut from the 3” strips. Five or six triangles are glued together and clamped until set.

You will need three of these supports, one for each end and one for the middle. 

These are glued and screwed to the backrest for support against the frame. The supports are not attached to the frame so that the back can be folded down for transportation. 

A triangular filler piece for the front of the seat is cut from a length of plywood. Take one corner off to achieve a flat top where it can sit flush to the bottom of the seat. 

The seat and backrest can now be screwed into place. Use the orbital sander to smooth all edges and neaten up the frame. 

Finishing Touches

When everything is fixed in place you can seal the plywood with a suitable polycrylic to protect the frame. 

Measure the space where the seat and back cushions will be and buy the appropriately sized pieces of foam.

You will need to cover this with some fabric, suede or leather. 

You can either make these yourself or ask someone to make them for you. If you are not confident with upholstery or using a sewing machine it may be best to have this part done professionally. 

For a simple cover you could buy a piece of leather and punch holes in the edges.

Add some reinforcing grommets and then lace the holes with some string or leather cord. Do this for the seat and backrest and place them on the couch frame. 

Now sit back and enjoy your hard work. 

Final Thoughts

There are many designs of DIY couches available and this is just one of them. You can make a couch from pallets, 2 x 4, old repurposed pieces of furniture. The list is endless, and the only limit is your imagination. 

Of course, you need to be relatively confident with your woodworking skills. Experience with upholstery helps too. 

We hope you have enjoyed our guide on how to build a couch.

Joel Adams
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