How to Build a Wood Sofa

Cover the sofa in furniture foam to make it more comfortable

Building an exposed wood sofa involves creating a rigid wooden frame from pieces of solid wood. This can then be lined with plywood or other hard woods, to form the basis of the support for the soft cushions the user will actually sit on. You can build your own exposed wood sofa from standard DIY materials, pieces of furniture foam and some upholstery fabric and the end result will last for many years without breaking the bank.

You Will Need

  • Two-by-four lumber
  • Circular saw
  • 3/4-inch thick plywood sheets
  • 4-inch long screws
  • 6-inch long screws
  • L-brackets
  • One-by-two lumber
  • 2-inch long screws
  • Varnish
  • Paintbrush
  • 1 1/2-inch thick furniture foam
  • Ruler
  • Craft knife
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Craft scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • 5 long zippers

Building the Sofa Frame

Step 1
Cut three pieces of two-by-four lumber 43 1/2 inches long using a circular saw. Cut one piece of two-by-four 18 inches long. Cut two pieces of two-by-four 25 1/2 inches long. Cut six pieces of two-by-four 21 1/2 inches long. Cut eight pieces of two-by-four 35 inches long. Cut one 3/4-inch thick plywood sheet 72 inches long and 23 1/4 inches wide. Cut one 3/4-inch thick plywood sheet 72 inches long by 18 inches wide.

Step 2
Screw a 21 1/2-inch piece to either 2-by-4-inch face of the 18-inch long piece, using two countersunk 4-inch long screws per joint. Screw one 43 1/2-inch long piece to the other end of the 21 1/2-inch pieces so the bottom edge of one of the 21 1/2-inch long pieces is flush with one end of the 43 1/2-inch long piece. Again, use two countersunk 4-inch long screws per joint.

Step 3
Screw a 21 1/2-inch piece to each of the remaining 43 1/2-inch long pieces so it is flush with one end of the two 43 1/2-inch long pieces, using two countersunk 4-inch long screws. Measure 18 inches up from the end of the piece with the 21 1/2-inch long piece screwed to it, using a ruler. Screw another 21 1/2-inch long piece to the wood at this point using two countersunk 4-inch long screws.

Step 4
Screw the 25 1/2-inch long pieces to the opposite ends of the 21 1/2-inch long pieces to the 43 1/2-inch long pieces, using two countersunk 4-inch long screws per joint. You should now have three approximately “b”-shaped frames. Screw the 35-inch long pieces to one side of the 25 1/2-inch long pieces using two countersunk 6-inch long screws per joint.

Step 5
Ensure the 35-inch long pieces are at the same height on the wood as the 21 1/2-inch long pieces when screwing them in place. Screw 35-inch long pieces to the 43 1/2-inch long pieces on the same side of the frame as the other 35-inch long pieces and at the same heights, too. Screw the remaining “b” frame to the open ends of the 35-inch pieces using L-brackets, to form a basic sofa frame.

Step 6
Cut two one-by-two inch lumbers to 25 1/2 inches long. Screw one end of each one-by-two piece to the top of the 25 1/2-inch two-by-four pieces on the ends of the sofa frame using 2-inch long screws. Screw the other end of the one-by-two pieces to the 43 1/2-inch long pieces using L-brackets on the underside of the one-by-two pieces.

Step 7
Screw the 72-by-24 inch plywood sheet to the top of the sofa frame using 1 1/2-inch long screws. Ensure one 72-inch long edge flush with the front edge of the frame before screwing the sheet down. Screw the 72-by-18 inch sheet to front face of the back rest using 1 1/2-inch long nails. Varnish the sofa frame using a paintbrush. Wait 4 hours, then varnish the sofa frame once again.

Making the Sofa Cushions

Step 1
Cut three pieces of 1 1/2-inch thick furniture foam into 24-by-24-inch rectangles using a ruler and craft knife. Cut two pieces of 1 1/2-inch thick furniture foam into 36-by-25 1/2-inch rectangles. Cut three sheets of upholstery fabric 61 inches long and 27 1/4 inches wide using craft scissors. Cut two sheets of upholstery fabric 75 inches long and 28 3/4 inches wide.

Step 2
Fold all five sheets in half lengthwise, so only the “inside” face of the fabric is showing. Stitch the now half-width-long sides of the sheets together using a sewing machine, to form “envelopes” of fabric. Sew a long zipper into the open end of each envelope to finish off the cushion covers.

Step 3
Turn the cushion-covers right-side-out, so the “outside” face of the fabric is showing. Stuff the upholstery foam into the cushion covers to create the sofa cushions. Zip up the zippers. Stand the two 72-inch wide cushions against the back rest on the sofa frame. Sit the three 24-inch wide cushions on the plywood seat of the sofa frame.

Please Note

  • If exposed wooden arm rests are not quite comfortable enough for you, consider gluing a thin piece of upholstery foam to the top of each arm rest. Cover the foam over with upholstery fabric, which can be nailed or stapled to the underside of the armrest in order to keep it in place, and you then have stylish padded arm rests.
  • Always keep your hands away from the saw blade while cutting wood, especially with a circular saw. This prevents cuts or accidental severed fingers due to the wood or saw blade slipping while you are working.

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