DIY Newborn nest tutorial

For awhile now I’ve been admiring those newborn posing bean bag chairs but I’m cheap and I just couldn’t shell out $95+ for an unfilled bean bag chair. So I set out to make my own and I took a few pictures along the way in hopes of helping someone else. I used Nikki Sue Photography’s site, she was nice enough to post dimensions and general instructions here. Please don’t be intimidated by this project. If you’ve got access to a sewing machine and you can figure out how to thread the bobbin you can do this. It’s that easy.

I bought 4 yards of vinyl at Joann Fabric with a 50% off coupon for $20. I would highly suggest vinyl because it can be wiped clean in the event of accidents.

Then I traced out a 42″ circle on the back of the vinyl by marking a center point and using a tape measure to draw a curved line 21″ away from the center (think giant compass). Then I cut out the circle I had traced.

Next, I traced the circle on the remaining vinyl and cut it out. Now I had 2 matching circles 42″ in diameter.

Then I cut out 2 16″ wide stripes out of the remaining fabric. It’s okay if they are not the same length. You could even use 3 or 4 stripes of fabric if you needed to, you’d just have a few more seams.You will need the total length when sewn together to be 132″.

I placed the 2 side panels together with the “bad” sides of the fabric facing out and stitch them together.

Now there’s one long piece with a seam in the center.

Then hem one end of the long piece and sew one side of the Velcro near the hem.

I added 2 rows of Velcro just to be on the safe side.

Now for the assembly! I sewed one of the circles to the long piece of fabric. I just slowly worked my way around adjusting the material every couple of inches. Then I did the same thing with the other circle. Once I finished I sew the other side of the Velcro on. I waited till the last minute because I wanted to make sure the 2 pieces lined up. Next, I flipped it inside out. You should have a flat puck shaped thing.

I order 4 bags of bean bag fill at Walmart. This is the expensive part. The bags are $15 a piece.

This is the easiest way I could find to fill the bean bag. I took a toilet paper roll, taped the bag to one end and stuck the other end in the “puck”.

Here’s the finished product! I’m not the best seamstress so if you look closely you’d find a lot of errors but it works for what I need.

Hope this helps someone save a few bucks.


38 thoughts on “DIY Newborn nest tutorial”

  1. Thanks for the tutorial. I was so excited to find a lot of different options for fabric on the clearance table at Joanne’s, and with a 20% coupon on top of that! I followed your instructions, but I got a used bean bag from a friend and got the filling out of that, so it was a lot less expensive if you can find a bean bag someone doesn’t want anymore. 🙂

  2. Shana…can you please tell me what kind of Vinyl fabric did you use? I went to Joann over the weekend and seems like there many choices of the Vinyl. There were some that are Vinyl with Fanel Backing (for like $7 per yard) and there were some that looked like leather (like $20 per yard). Didn’t know which one to buy. Do you have any suggestions?

  3. I just saw this post today so I went & got the vinyl, it is a $9.99 vinyl that you picked, the really thin one… you don’t want to get the thick one or else you won’t be able to sew it unless you get a really heavy duty needle but with the thin vinyl (its rolled up on the back walls) then you’ll be able to sew it just fine with your standard sewing machine needle. I’m going to try to make it over the weekend for a newborn twin shoot that I have on Monday, so wish me luck..I hope it turns out just as good as yours!! I’m loving this option of doing it myself, it only cost about $50 instead of costing $100 so thank you very much for this idea!! I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before.. I guess I didn’t really look at Joanns in the back so I didn’t even know they had this kind of stuff in the back… so thank you haha you opened me to many many possibilities!! 😉

  4. I just had to share…I was at Joanne Fabrics today, buying Vinyl to Make a Large Newborn Bean Bag Puck. My Mom and I were debating on the quality of Vinyl to buy when a woman approached me and asked what I was making. I explained it to her and she continued to tell me that she owns a company that makes pretty much Vinyl She offered to have me visit her shop and Sew my measured and Cut pieces together for me! No Charge…how Amazing is that. I just love Business owners in this community! She even showed me the Clearance area, and I found $19.99 a yard Marine Vinyl on sale for just $8 a yard. Total cost of Materials, $32.

  5. Thanks for sharing these instructions. This is great for new photographers or anyone who wants to make this on their own. I can’t sew, but I have someone who knows how and I will have her make this for me. THANKS again!!!!

  6. I wanted to say thank you for this tutorial. I followed your plans, made a few tweaks, and I’m very pleased with the results of the bean bag! So glad I did this on my own… thank you!

  7. Hey I am so excited to make this but I have a question regarding the vinyl fabric, the fabric that you used does it have a soft foam from inside (if you turn the fabric is it foamy)? I went to joann and picked out the same fabric and it was for $10.99 but I got confused if I was buying the correct thing I don’t wanna waste any money. Please reply soon I have to make it tomorrow, I have a session on this Saturday.

  8. I am looking to order filling now and you didn’t post how much was in each bag 🙂 Please let me know how much total “cubic feet” I need. THANKS!!!!

  9. Thanks for the how to for this. Have just finished making mine but put a zip in instead of velcro and I also stitched mine a second time all around to ensure a second seam in case of burst. I’m in Australia and have emptied 7 bags of beans into mine and it’s still not full enough. Hopefully just one more will do it (8 all up). Just thought some Australians might want to know that.

  10. Further to above. Purchased another bag of beans (that’s 8 in total now) and it still didn’t fill it firmly and it was getting way too high. Decided to take four inches of the sides making it a cut height of 12 inches. To achieve this I had to empty the newly sewn bag, unpick one of the rounds, cut down the side 4 inches, resew the round section back on and refill. Just in case anyone has to do this put the bag inside a Queen size doona cover (which was pulled inside out so that balls wouldn’t get caught in the seams or any cotton particles that gather in doona seems wouldn’t end up mixing with the beans) stand on a chair and keep shaking (better of you have someone to help). To get the beans back into the bag I sewed a large stitch across the top of the doona (to close it) and unpicked a corner. I have one of the postage cylinders with about a 5″ opening and that is what I have been using to tape the plastic bags to and then pour into the bag so I figured this should work with the doona also and that is why I selected the corner to tape it into. Needless to say all went well. Bag is now full and I have a little left over to top it up at a later date or to make some smaller pillow props. Hope that helps someone and I would suggest only make the sides 12 inches instead of 16 unless you want the bag to be really high. Cheers

  11. I’ve heard using packing peanuts from the shipping store works well as a filler too. You can get a HUGE 26 gal bag (3.5 cu ft) of the S-shaped peanuts for $11 on Amazon. They resist breakage, and are ANTI-STATIC!!!! Your bag should retain its shape nicely for a long time, and you shouldn’t have much mess to clean up 🙂

  12. I just made mine!!! Thank you!!! Took me couple of hours and saved me over $80!!! Now I have to order the bean bag fill. You said you ordered 4 bags from Walmart… any idea how much one bag held/how big the bag was? Trying got get bulk fill…. Thank you!

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