How to Make Bean Bags

  • 01 of 08

    DIY Bean Bags

    How to Sew Bean Bags
    Mollie Johanson

    Follow these instructions to learn how to make bean bags for games, juggling and more! This is a great, simple sewing project that's perfect for kids learning to sew. But it's also a useful one for anyone who wants to DIY their own bean bags!  

    Buying commercially made bean bags is often surprisingly expensive, so making your own is more economical. But even better than that, you get to choose exactly what your bean bags look like!

    You can adapt these bean bags lots of ways, changing the size, shape, and materials as needed. The basic process remains the same. 

    For best results, read through all of the instructions before starting. 

    Continue to 2 of 8 below.
  • 02 of 08

    Gather Tools and Supplies

    Bean Bag Tools & Supplies
    Mollie Johanson

    For this project you will need:

    • Fabric
    • Muslin
    • Cutting ​mat
    • Ruler
    • Rotary cutter
    • Straight pins
    • Thread
    • Sewing machine or needle and thread
    • Scissors
    • Measuring cup
    • Dried beans

    A note about fabric: Choose your fabric weight based on the intended use of the bean bags. For gentle play or lighter weight bean bags, quilting cotton works great. If you plan on using them for games like cornhole, use a heavier weight fabric, like twill. 

    Continue to 3 of 8 below.
  • 03 of 08

    Cut the Fabric and Muslin Squares

    Cutting the Bean Bag Fabric
    Mollie Johanson

    Start by cutting the fabric and muslin. Cut two pieces of fabric and two pieces of muslin for each bean bag you are making.

    The bean bags in this tutorial use 4-1/2" fabric squares and 4" muslin squares.

    You can adjust these dimensions to the size you need. In fact, they don't even need to be square! The important thing is that the muslin pieces should always be at least 1/2" smaller than the fabric for the outer shell.

    Continue to 4 of 8 below.
  • 04 of 08

    Sew the Inserts and Outer Shells

    Sew the Bean Bag Insert and Outer Shell
    Mollie Johanson

    Lay the 2 pieces of matching fabric pieces on top of each other, with the right sides of the fabric facing each other. Match up the edges as close as possible. Do the same with the muslin. Pin the layers to keep them in place.

    Now, using the sewing machine or a needle and thread, sew around the sides and leave a large opening. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of the sewing.

    If you are making a different shape, sew around most of the shape and leave an ample opening.

    If you are hand sewing, use a tight backstitch.

    Use your scissors to clip the fabric at each sewn point. Be careful not to cut the thread! This simply helps the fabric lay in the corners a little smoother.

    Now, carefully turn the bean bag and muslin insert right-side-out. You can use a chopstick to gently push out the corners if needed.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Fill the Bean Bag Insert

    Fill the Insert With Beans
    Mollie Johanson

    Add beans to the muslin insert. 

    Use as many or as few as you need to reach the weight and feel you want, but avoid overstuffing them. For best results, use the same amount of beans in each bean bag. 

    These 4-inch bean bags each hold about 1/2 cup of beans.

    Continue to 6 of 8 below.
  • 06 of 08

    Finish the Bean Bag Insert

    Place the Insert in the Bean Bag Shell
    Mollie Johanson

    Once your muslin bag is filled with beans, fold the seam allowance at the opening down into the bag. Push the beans away from the opening and sew it shut. Don't worry about how it looks because you will not see it once it is in the bean bag.

    Slide the muslin bean bag into the bean bag shell. Make sure that it lays flat within the outer shell.

    Continue to 7 of 8 below.
  • 07 of 08

    Sew the Bean Bag Shut

    Top Stitch to Close the Bean Bag Opening
    Mollie Johanson

    Just like with the muslin bag, fold the seam allowance at the opening down into the bag. Pin the opening shut so it stays in place while you sew.

    Sew around the entire bean bag, about a 1/8" from the edge. Carefully pull out the pins as you sew so you don't sew over them. This top-stitching closes off the opening while giving the bean bags a finished edge.

    Continue to 8 of 8 below.
  • 08 of 08

    Ideas for Using Handmade Bean Bags

    DIY Rainbow Bean Bags
    Mollie Johanson

    Now that you know how to make bean bags that will hold up through lots of play, what will you use them for? Try these ideas:

    • Keep a few bean bags in a basket for a quick and easy tossing game when you have a few minutes to spare. Or, sew a little target to go with the bean bags!
    • Learn how to juggle.
    • Print out a list of bean bag games and include it with a stack of bean bags for a fun and easy gift.
    • Make your own cornhole game boards and enjoy playing this fun lawn game! Be sure to make the beanbags at least 6 inches with heavy fabric and filled with about 2 cups of beans.