Flat Pack Folding Plywood Sofa

4,586

101

6

Published

Introduction: Flat Pack Folding Plywood Sofa

About: I love creating and making things. From leather wallets, wooden rings to DIY projects. I also make videos of everything I make, have a look at my YouTube channel.

In this guide, I'll show you how I made this flat pack, folding sofa from less than a single sheet of plywood. This modern design sofa is great for creating a bit of extra seating, while still being super low profile when folded away. It takes less than 10 seconds to set up and is all hinged so no need for any fiddle screws or bolts.

It should take around a day to make and can be made using really simple power tools. A circular saw and a drill. You can also use a table saw if you have one, or even achieve it with just a hand saw.

For this project you will need;

Download FREE PLANS here.

Step 1: Cut

This project can be made with less than one full sheet of plywood. I used 18mm thick plywood that I got from my local DIY shop. I can't fit a full sheet into my car, so like most big stores, they can often cut them down for you a bit.

I took my cutting guide and they did two cuts for me, the back section, the seat section and the remainder. You can download free plans for this on my website HERE.

Step 2: Piano Hinge

I lined up the seat of the sofa, to the top end of the back. These two pieces hinge along the bottom, so need to sit flush at the top. I used a piano hinge for the full length of the seat. This won't actually take that much strain but helps spread the load across the seat.

I did put one screw each end of the hinge and tested that it was all lined up and working well, then I went along the full width and screwed it into place.

I've always been terrible at fitting hinges, and one of the reasons is I can never seem to line up the holes with the centre of the hinges. I found these on Amazon, they are self-centring drill bits, or hinge drill bits. They have a spring loaded drill bit that pushes out and ensures that the holes are fitted in the middle of the hinges. It really helped when drilling loads of holes in the project!

Step 3: Screw

I used some brass wood screws and screwed down the piano hinge. The length was also quite important as the screws can't be any longer than the 18mm plywood.

Step 4: 15° Recline

I did some research online and found that 15° is the ideal recline for a sofa back. Now I'm pretty terrible at maths and working out angles. So I played around with the recline until I got something I was happy with, and leaned it against the wall so it was supported.

I then took a scrap thin piece of plywood and traced out this shape left on it. These are the legs that will support the weight of the sofa seat. This is quite an odd shape, so this was by far the easiest way to do this.

Step 5: Legs

Transfering this to the offcut piece of plywood, I then cut it out using the circular saw. I set up some guides to help me get a nice straight cut with the saw. To save as much material as possible I didn't run the circular all the way to the edge, and used a hand saw to do the final bit. I wasn't sure how much extra wood I was going to need for the supports, so I didn't want to waste anything!

Step 6: It All Hinges on This...

Next, I fitted the legs onto the base of the seat. So the seat folds up onto the back of the sofa. And on the underside of the seat, the legs fold out. I again used my self-centring drill bit to predrill the holes for the hinges and drilled them into the wood. These hinges are shorter than the long piano hinge, and each leg has 2 of them on.

Step 7: Folding

The main folding section is now done.

Step 8: Support

I cut down a thin strip of plywood to use for supports. There are 5 pieces. The most important is a long piece attached to the back, right underneath the seat in the middle. The bulk of the weight pushes down here so this one is quite important. I also added some 45-degree mitres to this piece so the legs wouldn't catch it as they swung open.

Then there are two more on the outsides of each of the legs. At the bottom, there are 2 more thin pieces that help guide and secure the legs in place when they are up. These are not as important as the ones above, but they do help it feel a little bit more secure overall!

I just used some wood glue and screwed these into place.

Step 9: Triangles

I wanted to add just a little bit more support at the back, this will help prevent it from leaning back too far. These were in my original sketches but halfway through the project I decided they weren't needed... then at the end, I decided they were. So using the same method as before, I held a bit of scrap wood against the outside and sketched this onto it.

Transferred this to the plywood again and cut this out. This time I used some 100mm tall hinges and screwed these to the back of the sofa.

Step 10: Finish

I used some clear matt polyurethane finish for this project. I went over the whole sofa with some 360 grit just to smooth it out a little and remove any pencil marks on the wood.

I brushed on two coats of the wood leaving a good 6 hours in between the two coats. I then did yet another very gentle sanding with 360 grit to smooth it out. This finish does add a lot of protection to the wood and leaves it with a smooth almost plastic like feeling.

Step 11: Leather

When moving the sofa around, the seat area had a tendency to fall open. I toyed with a few different ideas on fixings. I was going to use some magnets drilled flush, but I decided I didn't like how much they would stand out, so I decided to make a few leather straps.

I cut a few strips of veg tan leather and soaked them in water for 10mins. I added my logo to each strap, not strictly necessary but thought it would look cool! I then dyed them dark brown and attached some leather snaps. Then using some 5min epoxy I glued the other end directly onto the plywood. These look really classy and work a treat.

Step 12: Final Images

Here are the final images.

I’m really happy with how this project turned out. I love the way it looks and it is actually really comfortable. I will be making some cushions for this sofa in a few weeks, so make sure to subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss that.

Step 13: Video

This is entered into the Woodworking Contest. If you enjoyed this, please vote for me below :)

Woodworking Contest

This is an entry in the
Woodworking Contest

Share

    Recommendations

    • Make it Move Contest

      Make it Move Contest
    • Woodworking Contest

      Woodworking Contest
    • Casting Contest

      Casting Contest
    user

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.

    Tips

    1

    I'll do the same as your great realisation and i'll add short piece in the down of legs and a same size hole in the seat (in the place where the legs go down) to avoid the two pieces containning the legs from going right or left.

    Questions

    6 Comments

    First off, I am not putting this down as I appreciate any and all projects that show skill, but I have some reservations about the utility of this seat.

    This thing has to be heavy as heck being made from (basically) 3/4 inch plywood, so, to move it (especially with hinged pieces), has to be a hassle, not to mention storing it.

    With the raw edges of plywood it is very prone to splinters, even sanded and sealed.

    How resistant to lateral movement is it? Such as rambunctious kids. If it folds on you it could hurt.

    The price of this( in material alone) is about the same as two or three bag chairs so I don't get the advantage.

    Again, these are comments, not put-downs, God know in all my years of butchering wood I've made or turned many things that had people scratching their heads as to their purpose. I just really can't see any advantage here and would love to be enlightened.

    1 reply

    Hi, well first off it was a challenge to see if something like this could be done, and I think it can :)
    It's not that heavy, My 5ft wife can move it herself (albeit not too easy) but I can move without a problem. It was built with a very specific place in mind. My office / studio. I wanted some other places to sit rather than office, but then need a lot more space when doing a studio with the backdrop and lighting etc. So need it to fold up really flat against a wall. I used to heave some bean bags, but they still take up the same amount of room! I've had 3 full-size adults sat on it and it was pretty much wobbling free!

    It works for me :) but get it's not for everyone! It's still very much a prototype aha

    Thanks for your comment though!

    I started making mine this afternoon, and almost finished it! It comes together so quickly. I can't wait to finish it off and share some pics. Best of luck in the contest.

    This is a really great design! thanks for sharing

    Wow! Very nice. I voted for you.

    I probably won't make it, but it gave me some ideas for knitting miniature furnitures that must travel by mail :-)

    1 reply

    Thanks so much for the vote :D Awesome would love to see them must be tiny!