Wooden Sofa Sleeve with Cup Holder
I was so pleased with how this sofa sleeve turned out, and how easy it ended up being to make, that I'm already planning on making more as gifts for my friends who also have Ikea Karlstad sofas. Chances are you don't have a Karlstad sofa, but I'll walk you through figuring out the sizes of wood you'll need to make a sofa sleeve perfectly customized to your own sofa or chair.
This project has optional steps and materials you can skip!
If you are intimidated of using pocket holes with a Kreg jig, shown in steps 4 and 7, don't worry! I determined that these steps are truly optional, as wood glue provides a very strong hold for wooden accessories like this that are gently used. Just don't let your kids frequently use it as a step stool, and it should hold up fine without completing steps 4 and 7.
-clamps (at least 8" long)
-hole saw in diameter of your choice (based on your most used cup diameter) A larger hole saw will require the use of a drill press. I used a 3 7/8" hole saw that I attached with this arbor. My hole saw was too large to manage with just a power drill, so I opted to use a friend's drill press to cut the hole. See step two for more info.
-power drill (You only need this if you're using pocket screws and/or a hole saw smaller than 2.5".)
-Kreg pocket hole kit - This is an optional tool shown in steps 4 and 7 that will add to the strength and life of your sofa sleeve, but is most likely unnecessary for a gently used sofa sleeve.
-wooden board cut into three equal lengths—see step one for info on sizes to choose
-piece of thin plywood—see step one for size information. You can find thin 1/8" plywood in the wood section of your local craft store.
-wood stain (I used a mix of Minwax's Early American stain and Minwax's gel stain Antique Maple.)
-150 grit sandpaper or 180 grit sandpaper
-grade 0000 steel wool
-veneer tape—this is an optional way to finish ugly cut edges of your lumber if you aren't using high quality hard wood such as maple, oak, or poplar. Softer wood like pine will soak up more stain on the cut edges, which will make them dark. You may choose to iron on veneer tape before staining to avoid this.
-1.25" Kreg screws—you will only need these optional screws if you plan to add the additional support of pocket hole screws in steps 4 and 7. Otherwise, wood glue will suffice.
Top piece of wood—length: 14" / width: width of arm 1.5"
Side pieces of wood—length: 14" / width: height of arm from cushion—you should round down to the nearest board width.
1/8" plywood piece—length: width of arm / width: width of arm (This is the piece that goes underneath the cup hole.)
My measurements for an Ikea Karlstad sofa: I used three 14" lengths of 1x8 board, and simply trimmed the width of one length to 6.25", which is the width I needed for the top piece of my sofa sleeve.
Step Four: This step is optional. Clamp your Kreg jig as shown above to drill pocket holes on either end of just one side of each side board. These pocket holes will only be visible from the inside of the sofa sleeve. Using the pocket screws will provide for a very secure connection when you join each board together, but is probably not necessary for the end use of the sofa sleeve.
It is always a good idea to practice pocket hole placement on scrap wood before completing them on your finished boards.
You should use a damp rag to wipe away all seeping wood glue immediately. Wood glue is very difficult to remove after it's dried, even with heavy sanding.
Step Six: Clamp the glued side board to the bottom of the top board (making sure your pocket holes are facing the inside if you chose to make pocket holes). Before you tighten the clamps completely, make sure the boards are perfectly lined up on the ends and flush at their corners.
Step Eight: After both side pieces have been glued and clamped into place, give the hole piece a really good sanding. I used 150 grit sandpaper for this, but if your wood is really soft (like pine), you might want to finish up with something closer to 200 grit to avoid any scratch marks that would be highlighted when the stain is applied.
Step 11: Seal the sleeve with two light coats of polyurethane. This will protect it from the moisture of cup condensation.
Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Valentine and Stella from the Signature Collection.