What is a dorm room without a bean bag? Stark. A simple bean bag can offer an oasis of comfort in a dormitory filled with furniture seemingly designed to thwart theft and discourage smooching. It’s an ideal seat to study and nap. A beanbag is also an inexpensive furniture option.
In this Back-To-School season, I thought to help teens & college students offering some beanbag craft solutions. Beanbags are incredibly easy to make and offer a sense of comfort (and an extra seat) that will make a dorm room a tat more like home.
I’ve done the research for you, and am giving you 3 excellent bean bag options:
A. Make Your Own 70’s Pear-shaped Bean Bag
B. Make A Groovy Baseball–shaped Bean Bag
C. Simply Buy a contemporary pear-shaped Plush Bean Bag
A. ’70s Pear-shaped Bean Bag
This bean bag chair is the real deal. IF you want the TRUE ’70s retro version, I have found you a free online tutorial of this classic quirky beanbag, that is very clear. It’s easy to make, and actually a fun video to watch.
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Materials Needed for this Bean Bag Chair
3.5 m fabric ~ be sure to use retro fabric….
3.5 m cheap fabric for lining
2 x 50 cm zippers
beanbag filling approx 6 cu (old t-shirts, beans, batting, etc)
scissors, pencil and thread.
Free ’70s Bean Bag Video Tutorial
Mark out your first panel on the back of the fabric. Measure:
• 63cm (24.8") at the bottom
• two 113cm (44.5") edges
• a 29cm (11.4") top end
1. Cut all panels allowing a 1 cm (2/5") seam. The first panel will be your template for the other three.
2. Draw a circle of 29 cm (11.4") diameter (bean bag top), and a circle of 63 cm (24.8") diameter (bean bag bottom) – both with 1 cm seams on all sides. Tip: to cut a perfect circle, attach a string of 1/2 the circle’s diameter to a pen and whirl it around.
3. Mark the length of your zipper onto your big circular beanbag base, by draw a line right down in the middle.
4. Pin the zipper to the back of the fabric. Do this so that the Sew in a Zipper is under the cut. Stitch the zipper fabric in place, and then go back and double stitch it.
5. Sew the long sides of your side panels together, ensuring the stitching is on the inside.
To make the bag extra strong, double stitch it.
6. Take your inside-out tube and pin the top panel in place again. Do this so that the fabric back faces outwards. Stitch in place, and do exactly the same with the bottom panel.
7. Turn the bag right-side out by pushing it through the zipper.
8. Fill. To avoid making a mess, use an inner bag, so do everything again but with a cheap thin material. Insert the lining into the bag and leave the end hanging out.
9. Funnel in the beans until it looks comfy.
10. Zip up the bag. Your beanbag chair is complete.
See this free craft tutorial on video (3 minutes)
Even though you can’t tell from the final product image in this video, this is a classic pear-shaped beanbag design.
B. How to Make Your Own Groovy Baseball-shaped Bean bag
Not too keen on all that 70’s stuff?! OK. If you want a more contemporary, feminine bean bag version instead, this free online pattern & tutorial is for you.
The detailed steps are on this Threadbanger video craft tutorial, along with some other decor ideas to cozy up your dorm room, but in a nutshell, it’s as easy as the other one:
1. Trace a 12 inch circle
2. Draw another 12 inch circle a bit further out
3. Draw lines connecting the outer lines of the circles
4. Draw 2 other lines 6 inches from those lines
5. Draw an arc from the widest points on those circles, using the inner line as a guide for the crest of the arc
6. Now cut out your patterns, cutting along the arc and the circles
7. Cut 4 pieces of fabric using this shape, seams are already included
8. Sew 2 of them together for the lining, and 2 for the outer shape. Fill them up and sew it to close.
See the 5 minute tutorial here:
C. The Plush Version: Get a Good Ready-Made Bean Bag
Running out of time or simply prefer to do other back-to-school craft activities? Just buy a bean bag, as there are many good ones around.
As you are likely spend many hours studying in this chair, I suggest you choose the classic ‘pear-shaped’ design. It provides back and neck support whereas the baseball shape doesn’t. I think this is important for students.
These two really nice bean bags are just the right size, weight and colors. E.g.. the first one measures 34 x 27 x 34 inches, weights 8 pounds, and besides black, it actually also comes in a lovely magenta. It is also inexpensive, and has an easy-to-clean fabric. You can’t really go wrong with that. The one on the right is made from a lovely soft suede-type fabric and is a tad wider and looser.
Just for kicks, this article was featured in some wonderful craft parties. Click the link to check them out.