Today we’re gonna make a sofa that turns into a chaise long a bed, has storage underneath and even a coffee table. Let’s Begin! I need a place for friends and family to sit when they come over. I made a few sketches and small scale models to visualize what I was looking for but none of them seemed to work both aesthetically and functionally Until I came up with this simple looking idea. I challenged myself to create this piece of furniture without using any specific metal hardware to flip. The width is around 1 meter and it was made to fit a specific place near my desk. So the way I built this is appropriate for small sofas and if your idea is to make it larger than 1 meter, you should reinforce the sitting board with steel bar or try some design changes.
I used 2 sheets of 21mm birch plywood and you can build the whole project using just a circular saw and a drill. I will use some other power tools because I have them. I got the main cuts done at the lumber store and now I am getting everything perfectly sized. To join the pieces together I utilized a doweling jig from Rockler that is really easy to use and I get perfect results with it. I just simply created lines on the pieces to be connected and then aligned the mark on the jig with the pencil line. Clamp it and drill the hole. The same goes for the vertical holes. Then I grab some 3/8th or 9,5 mm dowels and glue everything in place. Since I don’t have many clamps, I had to wait for every joint to be glued to move on to the next one. The back of the bottom module will be closed and I thought it was better to insert the back piece in place and trace the pencil line so I could later repeat the doweling process and get it nicely fitted.
This bar clamp came out very convenient I could slide off the jaw, insert the bar in the tight space between the other clamps and then reattach the jaw in the correct position. On the bottom module I screwed two strips of plywood instead of a full board because it just wasn’t necessary and would make the whole box much heavier for no good reason Checking for fit and seems good that I can still slide out the bottom module with me stitting over the main module, which means the birch plywood doesn’t flex that much.
I cleaned the burned edges a bit before going ahead and cut the triangles for the backboard. I just quickly made a jig for my table saw to easily cut the diagonals for these two rectangles. I always like to check how things are going before attaching and gluing them together. I marked the ends of the triangles so I knew where to glue them and repeated all the doweling jig procedures. Just pay attention to how deep you are drilling the holes so you don’t end up going all the way through the material. I used the complementary triangle to help with the clamping. While the glue was drying I added a back piece to the main seat module. I just want to take a few seconds to thank all my patreon supporters I’m actually providing the plans for this project to all my patrons as a manner of saying thank you for all the amazing support and being waiting so patiently I’ll put the link below in case you want to take a look. I scraped off the glue and flushed everything with a block plane.
To make the drawer I wanted to use some scraps of plywood and hardboard that I had, since they didn’t matter as much in terms of aspect. So I brought the table saw out, like I usually do to avoid making big quantities of dust inside and was actually quite hard to find a moment to make these cuts since it was raining so much all the time on the last weeks here in Porto.
So I cut the two sides for the drawer and the false front from the same birch plywood I used in the project and the front and back from the other random plywood I had. I needed to create a groove for the bottom piece to fit in so I removed the splitter from the insert plate and sneaked the cut until I got it right.
You can also use a router to make this groove or even the circular saw as I mentioned before that this project can be done just using it along with a drill. I didn’t want any nails or screws showing up on the sides of the drawer so I created sort of a rabbet to join the pieces together with pin nails and screws that will later be covered by the false front. The drawer was pretty big so I thought it was a good idea to add some hardwood strip in the middle So I created some pockets for the wood strip and finally glued and attach the drawer pieces At this point the drawer didn’t fit inside the module spacing adding the drawer slides So I had to remove a bit of material on each side At first I was really annoyed but then I accepted the mistake and ended up turning it into a nice visual detail.
So I painted it white because the inner plies don’t look as good as the outer faces of the plywood and also painted the hardboard for the drawer bottom and cut it to size by removing all the edges that weren’t in good shape. Made some final touch on the drawer side and then I inserted and screwed the bottom board. I wanted to get rid of that dark spot on the face of the drawer so i cut the hole for the hand with that intention in mind. I don’t have a vise and these handscrew clamps come really handy when holding workpieces to the table.
These strips will bring the top of the module fairly leveled to the main sitting module so you don’t feel uneveness when you set it up to bed mode. Here I traced the contours on both parts to find the exact center of the squares. Then I drilled some holes and sliced a 15 mm dowel to fit in half of the holes. Those little bumps will allow the strips to engage with the module. Now it’s time to figure out the correct spot for the pivot point. There are endless options but in my case, I wanted to preserve as much as possible of the sitting surface as well as getting the smallest gap possible when the backboard is positioned horizontally. I had to make sure I got enough clearance for the pivoting action to happen so that the backboard doesn’t hit the horizontal board. Also, when we push the backboard down, the square angle of the triangle wants to go below the floor, which, in fact, makes the sitting module lift a bit when the rotation occurs.
But that doesn’t really matter and it will work just fine. Just make sure no one is sitting on the sofa when you push it down This is what I used to hold the backboard to the sitting module. I don’t know how these are called, but I guess they are very commonly used in outdoor wooden furniture. I clamped a piece of wood to prevent tear out and threaded the metal fasteners with two hex keys. Turned out that the triangles were a bit too small to match the height of the sides of the sofa so I had to glue a strip of wood.
I also painted it white to match the detail on the sides of the drawer and this way everything seems more connected. Before painting, I filled the nail holes and some wood defects and let it to dry. I then sanded everything nicely and masked the areas for the paint. This is a jig I made specifically to drill holes in the exact same place on each edge of different pieces. I will be connecting the triangles with powerful magnets but at this point I wasn’t sure I would need something else to assure it’s stability. So I had the idea of having some wedges reinforcing the connection of the triangles but then I realized that the magnets were holding both pieces very firmly so there was no need to use the wedges.
I needed to add a little dowel though, just to prevent the outer triangles to slide off while the rotation occurs. I finally sanded everything smooth by hand and applied four coats of acrylic matt varnish with light sanding in between. I reattached the backboard to the sitting module and made sure it was working just fine. Then I traced the thickness of the false front so I could screw the drawer slides in the proper place. I put some scrap plywood and two metal strips inside the cabinet to raise the drawer just a tiny bit and screwed it to the slides.
I removed some material from the inside front to clear out the hole for the hand and installed the main front in place. Now let’s work on the fluffy part of the project. Yet not so fluffy for my patience… I used 8 cm good quality foam and wrapped it with some polyester batting. I used spray adhesive to stick the materials together and repeated the process for the three foams pieces. This is the fabric and here I was trying to figure out how to sew it.
It wasn’t easy and I was lucky to have an old floor cushion to study how the folds were made. Still, I couldn’t figure it out just by looking at it assembled, so I tore it apart to clearly see what was going on on each fold. I inserted and removed the foam three times to make sure it was going well in each sewing step and I must say it is a pain in the ass to insert them but it the end it worked really well. I just didn’t want to make the cushions all separate because I was afraid they would wiggle around too much when sitting and laying on the sofa, so that’s why I ended up making sort of a mattress that is foldable. Aaaand it’s done. I feel proud of being able to bring this idea to shape that is full of small details that you might not see when looking at the overall piece. And I am really happy that I turned the small mistakes into design details that actually give the whole piece an unique look and personality.
So I hope you enjoyed this project as well as the story of how I built it even though it came out pretty short and compressed. For more details check out the Plans that can be found in the description. The sofa is plenty strong for the purpose and I accomplished the idea of turning a sofa into a multi functional piece of furniture without using any specific metal hardware, and I hope this can be interesting to you as well.