The Beloved Couch Sleeve

October 03, 2012   //  Posted in: Decor, DIY, Living Room   //  By: Emily   //  27 responses
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I’ve had my eye on this wooden accent since I pinned it late last year, never truly knowing how the original artist BlisscraftandBrazen makes their beautiful hardwood accents so charming and well-constructed. Woodworking is an amazing skill. I want to be their student/best friend.

I want this couch wrap by BlisscraftandBrazen. Bad.

See, our couch has little squared-off arms that would nicely fit what one might call an arm rest, a couch sleeve, a built-in side table, a couch wrap, etc.

Sweet little couch arm, ready for a table sleeve.

I decided to try making my own sweet little couch-arm-wrap as a DIY project around the week that my Kreg Jig arrived, not actually realizing until I did some test runs with this project in mind that beveled edges and a Kreg Jig are not BFF. The fact is, a Kreg Jig is not designed to attach two beveled boards together into a right angle; there simply isn’t enough wood for a secure connection if it isn’t a lap joint. And I didn’t want a lap-type joint. I wanted what the other kids were buying for $250.

Head scratcher. 

I decided to give it a go my own way, buying a large piece of lovely Aspen on the cheap from Lowe’s (it was only $15 for a 15″ x 36″ x 3/4″ piece of clean, pre-sanded and factory-sealed panel lumber). We had some 8-10″ boards in a scrap pile at home which may have sufficed perfectly, but I wanted something to wrap around the arm of our own couch to provide enough surface area for, say, a bowl of ice cream, a book, or even the iPad or a laptop. The wider the board, the better I expected the proportion to the deep arm to be. This was the best piece of wood for the value, and I thought it would be a good place to start (only upgrading to something like premium plywood or cedar if this one went really, really well).

Step 1: Buy a big piece of wood. Mine was 3/4" x 15" x 36".

The aspen panel’s 15″ width was too large to go through our chop saw in one clean cut (and we have a single bevel, not double bevel, so I couldn’t even make it happen in two cuts boohoo). Plan B involved our new-to-us-old-in-general table saw that Pete’s Dad handed down to us last spring.

Testing out the new-old table saw!

In hindsight, a fresh, fine-toothed blade would have given us a better finish, but after a few test runs we were able to cut the boards with 45-degree bevels without cutting off any fingies or setting the house on fire. Aspen seems very susceptible to burnage, but I know very little about this type of wood. Or any, honestly. But it looks burny.

We used a table saw for the first time to cut the boards for our new couch arm accent.

To connect the pieces together, I tapped into some spare galvanized L-brackets and secured the beveled angles together as tightly as I could in four places. As shown in this next picture, the entire wrap-couch-thing stands 12″ high and 6.5″ wide. Damn you, BlisscraftandBrazen, you make it look so easy, proving you are truly worth the cost.

I connected the boards together with L-brackets on the inside of the frame.

I stained ours a dark, rich espresso brown using a General Finishes water-based stain, a decision that seemed fitting considering how much dark brown we have in our living room. After two coats and a few days in the garage, I brought our new little arm shelf inside to test her out.

It’s not perfect by any means, but for $15 and some leftover stain, it’s pretty cute. Functional too. Note: I only stained and polyed the outside in fear of it rubbing off onto the couch, but now I see I need to do at least a little of the inside because you can still see light wood edges if you look closely.

Cute new little couch arm. Perfect for holding our sips morning and night.

Alright professional and fellow wanna-be woodworkers, what’s a better way to connect beveled edges? Divulge your secrets. Maybe it’s time to take a class.

Comments
  • Amanda R
    2 years ago - Reply

    Love this, it looks great on your couch. Are you worried at all about the L-Brackets rubbing or snagging the fabric?

    • Emily
      2 years ago -

      Thanks Amanda! Not worried, only because the legs hug very snug (if you can tell in the unstained assembled photo, they bow in a little bit). It doesn’t seem to want to wiggle around on the arm, and I made sure the screws were flush with the brackets so if it were to be pushed or shift a little, I don’t think it would do great harm. Good question though!!!

  • daren r.
    2 years ago - Reply

    i had the same exact thought as amanda!

    i’m surprised you hadn’t used the kreg jig to do this.. maybe with some butt joints?

    as a hobby woodworker, i’d say cutting and glueing splines (or dovetails) into the mitered edges would be the optimal approach..

    something like this :
    http://vimeo.com/10602801

    you’re essentially making one of these boxes, with one side missing..

    i think it looks great if you make the spline inserts a different wood or color stain..

    • Emily
      2 years ago -

      Kregster was a no-go on this job because the screws don’t have anything to clamp on to (and I didn’t want lap joints), but I LOVE the video on the splines and must try that someday. It’s a great tutorial. Thank you!!

  • marty
    2 years ago - Reply

    I second the spline joint, but rather than creating splines that oppose the mitre joint, I’d run them along the length of the mitre, this provides more lateral support in the joint.

    My first choice would be a lock mitre joint, but you need some $$ router bits for that. You could also do biscuits if you have a plate joiner.

  • Emily
    2 years ago - Reply

    Instead of staining the edge of the inside, I might put fabric on the inside, cute pop of color, and no rubbing onto the cream sofa. A permanent spray adhesive would probably work.

    This is SUPER cute and I might need to do the same with our square armed sofa!

  • Stephanie
    1 year ago - Reply

    Love it! I can’t wait to make one for myself!

    • Emily
      1 year ago -

      Glad you like it Stephanie! It is SO USEFUL. I use it every night!

  • Tara
    1 year ago - Reply

    What a fun idea!! I have two sofas that this would work great on! I will definitely try this one day. To my amateur eyes, your arm sleeve looks fantastic!

    • Emily
      1 year ago -

      I’m glad you like it! It’s a useful little bugger!

  • Lois
    1 year ago - Reply

    Found you on the Pinterest challenge and I love love love this. One of the best projects. I don’t have a saw or a man to saw things, but I want to make this.

    • Emily
      1 year ago -

      Lois, I’m so glad you liked it! The man only helped out here because that saw blade was scary and rusty; I’ve since bought a new blade and have been having a field day. Pick up a table saw second-hand someday and give it a try! Also, this piece could totally be assembled with lap joints and a nail gun. Happy power-tooling!

  • Sarah @ The Ugly Duckling House
    1 year ago - Reply

    I picked up a small length of pine last night on a late-night run for stain (gee, I wonder what that stain was for???). I fully intend on procrastinating on studying tonight by making myself something that will hold my beer, but pretty sure I’m going with lap joints to make things easy on myself. And bonus: I get to use the stain again (Charlie: not a fan).

    • Emily
      1 year ago -

      You’re in luck. Holding beer is what it does best. I really love this little thing. It’s a game changer. Enjoy!! Love the stain that you chose. The only thing I regret is staining mine so opaquely dark.

  • Nikki Kelly
    1 year ago - Reply

    Hey! I did the arm rest wrap/side table thingyfor the last Pinterest challenge! It’s such a great idea that you kind of want to slap yourself on the forehead for not thinking of it first. I even have the same exact one pinned. As far as the mitered corners go, I had no clue and just went with the Kreg Jigg but joints. I think I would like to make a new one though that’s lighter (our couch is black and the one I made just blends in too much) and have the piece of wood on the outside go all the way down to the bottom of the couch, just to be fancy!

    Nikki Kelly @ the ambitious procrastinator

    • Emily
      1 year ago -

      Love it! Yours looks great, it was such a simple and worthwhile project! I knew many others may have attempted this and am so glad to see how you did it too!

  • Megan
    1 year ago - Reply

    Ok, this is awesome!! I really need one of these. I love it! I would LOVE for you to link this up at my Ginger Jamboree Link Party!!

  • Carmel
    1 year ago - Reply

    I want to be a cool woodworker! This turned out great!

    • Emily
      1 year ago -

      Thanks Carmel!! Glad you like it!

  • Blisscraft and Brazen
    1 year ago - Reply

    Great Job Emily!
    We were so happy to find your post.
    Mitres can be very tricky and you found a great way to accomplish the job expediently. We’re so glad that more and more people are enjoying couch-arm-wraps.
    Thanks for the shout-out!
    xo B&B

    • Emily
      1 year ago -

      Bravo to a beautiful product!!

  • Chelsea @ Riding Escalators
    1 year ago - Reply

    I LOVE this! I’m adding a length of board to my shopping list at Home Depot today! Glad I found this post before I left!

  • Josh
    1 year ago - Reply

    Cool idea, ive read the posts as far as others giving you ideas for doing the miters. Not bad but all difficult for the unexperianced. What you started with was good (mitering the corners) just work on the quality of the cut. Next once you have cut nice clean 45deg miters lay the 3 peices flat in the order they will b attached and the miters side by side. Left then middle the right. Have the edges sitting as close together as possible without overlaping and using some painters tape (yellow or blue are best but green will work) tape the peces together creating “tape hinges”. Flip the whole thing over and glue the inside of the miters and fold it all together. Use some tape to help hold it closed till the glue drys and there u go. Strong clean joint with no fancy work or hardwear. I should let u know im a ticketed joiner (wood worker) and use this method all the time with great results. Good luck.

    • Emily
      1 year ago -

      Just glue, no screws? I saw a tutorial recently on actually using joiner biscuits that seemed worth trying, but I don’t think our current joiner will allow me to cut on the 45-degree angle. Thanks for the tips, Josh, I really appreciate it!

    • Leslie
      10 months ago -

      what kind of glue, Josh?

  • Steph
    10 months ago - Reply

    Thanks for doing this! I wanted this Etsy piece so bad but def don’t have $250 to do it. I’ll be attempting it today. Wish me luck!

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