Upcycle Progress: Climbing Crash Pad to Couch

I have been seeing some good progress in my upcycle project to repurpose my rock climbing crash pad into a couch. So far, I have fully fleshed out the design, planned on my materials, and now just need to fabricate the frame.

In order to minimize cost and materials, I spent some time working out how I could get all of the pieces to be cut from one 4’ x 8’ sheet of plywood. I scaled all the pieces and drew out a way for all the cuts to be done so that this would be possible. This will make the fabrication process very straightforward and simple, and ensures that I will be ready to make all of the cuts correctly now (measure twice, cut once!). 

I plan on cutting all of my frame pieces from a single sheet of plywood similar to the one above. I am planning on the thickness of all of the frame pieces to be 0.5”. I will be discussing the best way to make the cuts with Idea Forge staff tomorrow. Since I work there, I am hoping to utilize the makerspace tools to fabricate my couch frame. I went to Resource Central in Boulder last week to consider the option of renting tools and buying scrap material, but I think it makes the most sense to utilize the Idea Forge since I have access to it right now, and to probably just buy a single sheet of plywood to ensure the quality and uniformity of the wood. I will likely be cutting the frame sometime next week. 

Now that everything is designed, really the last step is just to cut the frame pieces. Since the design doesn’t require any fasteners, it should all fit together like puzzle pieces. And, the crash pad should be able to just sit on top of the frame without any extra fastening too; although the straps that go from corner to corner that can be seen in the photo above should help it keep the shape needed when adjusted correctly to prevent the pad from slipping off of the frame. If a lot of slipping does occur, I may end up adding an upturned piece of wood to the seat part of the frame to hold the pad in place.

I have also collected stickers for decorating the frame with climbing brand logos after I have put it together. A commenter on my last post made a good point that while the stickers add to the climbing aesthetic; I should be careful with my placement of decoration/stickers in order to preserve the sleek minimalist/modern look of the couch frame. I will be keeping this in mind when making the final touches on the couch.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • You’ve done a lot of great work on your project so far and I am excited to see how it all comes together. I was wondering if you had considered staining the wood or even painting it? And if so, what was the reasoning behind leaving it raw. I understand that there can be a variety of reasoning like money or it matches the aesthetics you already have, but I am still curious. All in all, I think this will be a great way to have add another piece of furniture to what you already have.

    • Hi Hannah, I did end up staining the wood just a bit with boiled linseed oil. I didn’t want to take away from the aesthetic with the light baltic birch, but I did want to add a protective coating, so the stain I went with is very subtle.

  • Natalie Jagelski
    February 15, 2021 9:10 am

    This is a really cool project! It’s awesome that you’ll be able to cut all of the couch frame pieces out of a single piece of plywood and that they’ll be able to fit together like a puzzle piece rather than needing to use fasteners. Why did you decide not to use fasteners? If you decide to go out rock climbing, will you just detach the crash pad from the frame and take it with you, or do you have another crash pad that you can use for climbing instead? Will the upcycled couch match the aesthetic of the rest of your living space? Excited to see how this turns out!

    • Hi Natalie, I decided not to use fasteners because I thought that it would look really clean and sleek with everything fitting together like puzzle pieces, which I felt fit the minimalist aesthetic I was going for. Also, it makes the whole piece collapsible/portable which is a nice functionality. And yes, the pad is just sitting on the frame so its super easy to take inside/outside whenever I need to use it for climbing. And I think the upcycled couch definitely matches the aesthetic of the rest of my living space, which is already decorated with similar bright colors and has a lot of outdoor themed decor.


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