DIY Modern Sofa or Loveseat

A tutorial by .


Hairpin Legs 3-Rod


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Tape measure
Circular saw
Orbital sander
  • 4 – Hairpin Legs, 3-Rod, 3/8" diameter, in desired height and finish (we used 8" and 10" to create a slight angle)
  • 2 – Sheets of 3/4" plywood
  • 2 – Cushions (you can make your own by covering 3"-thick foam with canvas or another material)
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Circular saw
  • Speed square
  • Trim board to guide cuts
  • Clamps
  • Wood glue
  • Adhesive trowel
  • Wood putty (matching the color of your plywood)
  • Putty knife
  • Chisel
  • Orbital sander and sanding discs, or sanding block
  • L brackets (we used 2" double-wide corner braces)
  • Drill/driver and bits
  • Screws (such as 1-1/4" and 3/4" wood screws, 2-1/2" finish screws)
  • Washers
  • Finish (we applied Varathane water-based polyurethane in crystal clear matte)
  • Brush to apply finish
  • Safety gear such as eye protection, a mask/respirator and gloves
6 Maker Tutorials

Ben Uyeda

HomeMade Modern | @benjaminuyeda

Ben Uyeda stepped away from the award-winning architecture firm he co-founded, as well as an Ivy League teaching position, to develop media companies that deliver affordable designs to the masses. In the last four years, Ben’s design ideas have reached more than 50 million people and the free designs he gives away are being built on six different continents. Despite the populist and affordable nature of his work, Ben’s designs have been featured in an exhibition and workshop at the Vitra Furniture Museum in Germany.

This modern DIY sofa is angular, and designed to fit a 24-inch-wide seat cushion and a 16-inch-high back cushion. You can adjust the sizes to suit your needs. The sofa frame is made from two sheets of 3/4-inch plywood.

Step 1:
Create the side panels

Cut the first sheet of plywood into four pieces. Stack two on top of each other, and draw lines with a pencil. Clamp the boards together, and cut using a circular saw.

Step 2:
Glue the pieces together

Use wood glue and clamps to attach two pieces together for each side panel. (Note: You can glue the pieces together in Step 1 prior to cutting, if you like.)

Step 3:
Cut the seat and backrest

Cut the second piece of plywood to match the length of your cushions. Then cut that piece into two—one for the seat and one for the backrest.

Step 4:
Reinforce the seat board

Cut two-inch-wide strips of plywood, and use glue and clamps to create a frame around the perimeter. Let the glue cure for at least two hours before removing the clamps.

Step 5:
Fix any gaps or divots

Use wood putty and a putty knife to fill in any hairline gaps or small divots. Once the putty cures, sand it all smooth with an orbital sander or by hand.

Step 6:
Prepare the seat panels

Use one of the side panels to set the angle of the blade on your circular saw. Cut the seat panel to that angle to fit right into your backrest.

Step 7:
Assemble the parts

Use a drill/driver, L brackets, and screws to connect the panels. Draw a line on the inside of the side panel where the backrest is going to go to leave room for it. Make sure everything fits together nice and flush.

Step 8:
Place the back panel

Fit the back panel against the side panels and seat board, and secure using L brackets and screws. You can skip the L brackets if you don't mind the screw heads showing—just screw from the outside of the side panel into the seat board and backrest.

Step 9:
Finish the plywood

Wipe the dust off with a microfiber rag, and apply two coats of Varathane water-based polyurethane in crystal clear matte.

Step 10:
Attach the legs

When the finish is fully cured, flip over the sofa frame, and screw in some additional plywood at both sides. Use a drill/driver to attach 10-inch Hairpin Legs at the back, and eight-inch Hairpin Legs at the front.

Step 11:
Cover the cushions

Wrap your canvas around the foam, allowing an extra inch on each side (seam allowance). Cut, then mark a line one inch in from each side. Fold the fabric over to the line, iron it, and then fold and iron it again to prevent fraying.

Step 12:
Sew the covers

Snip off the corners so that the seams aren’t quite so bulky at each end. Then sew the entirety of the seam.

Step 13:
Add hooks

Center the foam width-wise, and fold the canvas over. Measure the cut of the fabric so that the two seams touch but don't overlap. Sew fabric hooks along the edge, about four inches apart. Sew hooks on the ends as well, with a simple cross stitch at the corners.

Step 14:
Add the cushions, and voila!

Now you're ready to enjoy your new couch or loveseat!

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