The Recreation of a Free Sofa


January 20, 2013 by magpiemenina

Goodness! Time does get away from me. I was fairly consistent with blogging while we were living in an apartment; the house seems to constantly distract me from it! I have a number of things to share, it is merely the sitting down and blogging that eludes me.

Here’s the story of the sofa in my craft room. Jaybird and I picked up the wooden sofa frame from the side of the road this summer while we were jaunting around the country. We hauled it two hours from where we found it to his parents’ house, twelve hours to my parents’ house, eight hours to Virginia, and eight more hours to Kentucky. (No one said we were sane. And there is a reason that the magpie, with its tendency to take up interesting things, is an appropriate bird name for me.) That’s thirty hours of hauling a sofa frame around.

It wasn’t a pretty frame. The finish was peeling, there was dirt in all the crevices, the rubber straps intended to hold up the cushions were stretched and broken, and the darn thing had 1970s-era colonial-style wings on the side. But it was free.

The sofa frame we found by the side of the road before being reincarnated.

The sofa frame we found by the side of the road before being reincarnated.

The state of the cushion supports on the sofa. Not terribly supportive.

First of all, I gave it a good wipe-down. Then I took a screwdriver and a crowbar and I went to work on those wings. I took out the accessible screws attaching the wings to the back and side, then used the crowbar to loosen the wings. In the end, they wouldn’t come off without some good whacks. I sanded the whole thing and filled in the gaps left when the wings broke off with wood filler. Without those wings, it already looked better.

The next step was painting. I used two coats of Valspar Signature Paint + Primer (Eggshell finish) in Night Shift. It’s a fun color, very purple in the daylight but almost black at night. I used painter’s tape to isolate some of the turns on the legs and used Martha Stewart Living Precious Metals Specialty Finish Gold Base for the accents. Then the tape came off and the whole thing was polyurethaned. (I hate polyurethane. This is probably the only time I’ve used it where the project doesn’t look worse after I do it. It protects the paint, though, so what am I going to do? Seriously, I’m open to ideas.)

That’s it for the frame. Next, we needed some cushions.

Cushions in place in the drop-cloth sack. The first "knot" in place.

Cushions in place in the drop-cloth sack. The first “knot” in place.


Cushions in place on the couch, before the cloth cover.

We purchased a drop-cloth and cut it to fit the bottom of the frame, folded double. I seamed it shut. We stretched the fabric taut and stapled it to the frame, placing the staples diagonally to avoid straining the fabric in one spot. I found some Cynthia Rowley decorative pillows at TJ Maxx and sewed them into drop-cloth sacks. With the addition of some ribbon to attach the sacks to the frame and some quilt knots to keep the cushions in place, the couch was ready to go. (By quilt knots, I mean I cut two short pieces of ribbon for each pillow and stitched from one side to the other, using the one ribbon piece on either side to anchor the thread. This keeps the cushions from bunching up in the sack.) I threw a piece of fabric I acquired years ago from a thrift store over it.

The finished sofa

A view of the finished sofa.

A view of the finished sofa.

The sofa is really comfortable and has become one of Mew’s favorite places.


5 thoughts on “The Recreation of a Free Sofa

  1. Nancy Tuttle Hart says:

    This couch re-do is lovely! How lucky this stray couch was to find a home with you!!

  2. […] just found a few more pictures of the process for my last post, the sofa re-do, and have added […]

  3. jnice3871 says:

    Oh, your recipes are as good as your couch re-do

  4. Margaret says:

    In case someone else hasn’t already told you, this sofa was part of the Ethan Allen Old Tavern Pine collection from the 1960s – 1970s. Sounds as if you made good use of it. It’s interesting how you got the wings off. I think it will last you a long time!

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