I’m telling you, this camper project has had its share of make it work moments. As we’re nearing completion I can look back and see a time I felt pretty sure that we’d ever have a dinette and bed area.
Tim and I talked and talked about how to go about these camper cushions, and we were facing a few problems.
Let’s back up and talk about the dinette situation. I guess you could say that was the first problem with the cushions. Since there was no dinette in camper when we bought it, we had to build one in, and make it so we can convert it to a bed. This is the basic idea of how we made that (mostly) work.
We needed the table and two benches to take up the whole width of the dinette area so we can lower the table and use the area for a bed. We used the wall to the left of the dinette area to base the size of the benches on. To figure out the width of table, we added up the width of both benches, and then subtracted that number from the total width of the area. Below is how all the dimensions came out.
Let’s get back to the cushions. Once that figuring was done, we were stuck until we could find some foam, but we weren’t having any luck finding the right stuff. Everything we found was either not big enough, not thick enough, or too much money. We finally went with this roll of 3″ thick foam from Home Depot. I wasn’t sure 3″ would float my boat comfort wise, but I am impressed by the quality and plush feeling of this foam.
Obviously the cushions need to cover the top of benches, but if you make the seat cushion the same size as the bench you have to stack the back rest cushion on top of the seat cushion instead of setting it behind. Here’s a little math… The cushions will be 3″ thick, so the back rest cushion will take up 3″ of the top of the bench, leaving 21 inches for the seat cushion to cover. (24″ – 3″ = 21″). Since both benches need a seat and back rest cushion, we’ll need four cushions total. AND since we can’t really sew, and wanted to keep that process simple, we decided to make all the cushions the same size. 21″ wide, 45″ long, 3″ thick.
When the table is lied down for the bed we need the cushions to cover the whole area, but lying the four 21″ cushions down beside each other only gives you 84″ when we need 86″. That ends up not making much a difference once we made it to our next issue which I think I’ve mentioned before.
We don’t really sew
Basically we were looking for a way around having to sew the cushion covers or pay someone to do it. Even with the help of friends and family, I just wasn’t confident in our abilities. On top of that, Tim and I couldn’t decide on a fabric to use anyway. So I was researching some other options.
A chat with my sweet sister in law Suzie led me to look into body pillow covers. The widest body pillow covers were 20″, so we decided to be optimistic that we could fit our 21″ wide cushions in to body pillowcases, especially after I found some cute ones on sale at Kohl’s. (I tried posting a link, but they’re out of stock.)
Once our foam and covers were delivered, it was time to get cracking.It was definitely a trial and error process, but
Here’s what we used for materials
- Four 20″ x 54″ body pillow covers
- 3″ thick roll of foam
- Safety pins
- Four elastic woven straps
And here is how we made it work.
- cut your foam into four 20″ x 45″ sections
- Place the body pillow covers on the foam pieces
- use your scissors to slice down the middle of the cover, not cutting through either end. This will allow the foam to lie flat and will create an opening in the fabric on the bottom of cushion.
- Pull excess fabric to one end of the foam and pin it in place; make sure the fabric on top of the cushion is pulled tight and looks right.
- Cut strips of elastic slightly shorter than the opening on the back of the cushion.
- Pin one end of the elastic on to the opening.
- pull the other edge of the opening tight and pin the other end of the strap.
We lost some width when trimming the cushions down to 20″. It doesn’t affect much on the benches, but when you lie the table down for a bed, there ended up being quite the gap. We’re filling that in with a body pillow! Problem solved and cushions done.
I hope this will help someone out there making their own camper cushions, or even someone renovating their own vintage camper! Tim and I are learning a lot and having some fun creating the best little camper we can.
Here’s a shot from our Instagram account @smith_family_renovations
More coming soon from our camper reno adventure! Don’t forget to check out our instagram by clicking the photo above!