How to Make a Mario Bellini Camaleonda Sofa Replica Out of Foam

Today, we’re going to dupe the most desired couch in the world. There is no star who does not have one of these in their living room. That’s right - we’re going to make a DIY Mario Bellini Camaleonda sofa replica!

Tools and materials:

  • Foam (thick and thin)
  • Wood pieces
  • Fabric
  • Marker
  • Tape measure
  • Precision knife
  • Scissors
  • Spray glue
  • Drill
  • Metal thread
  • Thick thread
  • Sewing needle
  • Buttons
  • Hammer
  • Grommet tool kit
  • Rope
  • Carabiner keychain clip hooks
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Screwdriver
  • Screws

Just in case you live on a different planet, here are some pictures of the beautiful and versatile Mario Bellini Camaleonda sofa. The cool thing about these pieces is that you can arrange them however you want and mix them up when you like.

I needed foam sheets with a 30cm (11.8 inches) thickness, but it was too expensive. So, instead, I’ll triple foam that is 10cm (4 inches) thick - it worked out cheaper. I also have some thin sheets of foam to go on top and make the shape more rounded.

Foam and materials

1. Measure and mark

The dimensions are 90cm x 90cm (35.5 inches), so measure and mark 30cm, 30cm, and 30cm (11.8 inches) along each edge and connect the marks with lines. This way, you can see where the indents will go.

Measuring and marking the foam

2. Cut out the piece

Cut the excess off with a knife. Do this 3 times so that you have 3 pieces of the same size.

3 layers of cut foam

3. Glue the pieces together

Apply spray glue to the surface of one piece, wait 20-30 seconds, then stick the second piece to it. Repeat with the third layer.

Spray glue

4. Cut the edges

Continue the 30cm (11.8-inch) lines down the side of the foam. We’ll need this later.

Marking lines down the side of the foam

Cut the edges with a precision knife to make them rounder.

Cutting the edges of the foam

Also, cut into the sides, as shown below…

Cutting into the sides

… as well as the points where the lines meet. This is where we will press the buttons inside. You need about 5-6cm of depth (2 inches).

Making holes for the buttons

5. Measure, mark, cut, and drill the wood

Draw the same 30cm (11.8-inch) lines on your wood, then drill holes where the lines cross.

Tip: In hindsight, I wish I had rounded the edges of the wood as well.

Drilling holes in the wood

6. Glue the foam to the wood

Apply spray glue to the wood and foam piece, then stick them together.

Gluing foam to the wood

7. Cut the fabric & foam sheets

Next, measure your fabric. I needed 2m x 2m (2 x 2 yards), but most fabric stores didn’t carry that width, so I had to sew 2 pieces together. I cut the sheet foam to the same dimensions.

Measuring fabric

8. Attach the buttons

Using a metal thread, thread it from the top hole to the bottom, through the foam and sheet foam.

Using a metal thread

Pull the fabric over, and sew the button to the fabric with super-strong thread in the same place as the metal thread. (I got my buttons made out of the same fabric as my couch at a button store).

How to attach the buttons

Make a hook in the metal thread and tie the thread onto it. Then, pull the metal thread back through the bottom of the couch.

Attaching the buttons

At the bottom, remove the metal thread and pull the fabric thread as tight as you can. Attach a bottom button to keep it in place.

Attaching a button at the bottom

Repeat for the other holes.

Making buttons on the couch

9. Make holes and attach ropes

The separate sections of the Camaleonda sofa connect together with ropes, so that’s what we need to add to our pieces to hold them in place.

Using a grommet tool kit, make holes in the fabric, on the sides of the sofa pieces, then hammer in a grommet. You need two holes per side; they should be placed 30cm (11.8 inches) from the buttons.

Hammering the grommet

Thread your rope through the two holes, tie knots, then attach the ends to carabiner keychain clip hooks, as shown below. Repeat for each side.

Attaching the carabiner clips

10. Staple the bottom

Staple the fabric and foam to the bottom of the couch. Get creative with folding and stapling the fabric at the corners, where there is excess fabric. Pull the fabric as taut as possible.

Stapling the foam and fabric

Trim the excess foam, then staple more.

Stapling the fabric to the base

This is what you should have so far.

How to make a sofa out of foam

To make the half-sections of the Camaleonda sofa, repeat the same process, but with the dimensions of 90cm x 60cm (35.5 x 23.5 inches)

12. Make the back of the sofa

Repeat again for the back of the sofa. The dimensions are 90cm x 30cm (35.5 x 11.8 inches).

Making the back of the sofa

Tip: Shape the foam

One thing I learned is that you should spend more time shaping the foam at the edges to really get that rounded shape.

Shaping the foam

13. Make the arms of the sofa

To make the arms of the sofa - you guessed it - we’re using the same process, except that the pieces are 20cm high (7.8 inches), which is only two layers of foam, and 60cm long (23.5 inches).

Making the arms of the sofa

The arms also have indents at 30cm (11.8 inches), so tie a rope around the foam (covered in the foam sheet) at those lines.

Making the indents by tying rope

I needed to sew the fabric anyway, so I made sure that the seams lined up with the indents. Wrap the fabric around the arms and pin it in place, ready to sew.

Pinning the fabric ready to sew

Add holes and grommets for the rope. I placed them close to the seams, but they would have been better spaced out, as this gives more stability.

Sew the fabric with a sewing machine, then pull it over the foam. Add ropes and carabiner clips, then tuck in the excess fabric and hand-sew the ends in place.

Hand-sewing the ends

14. Attach the legs

Screw in the legs. I used five: one on each corner, plus one in the center.

Attaching the sofa legs

Put anti-slip stickers on the bottom of the sofa legs to ensure that the couch won’t move.

Anti-slip stickers

Mario Bellini Camaleonda sofa replica

Here’s the finished Camaleonda sofa dupe! It’s so soft to sit on. I made this for a friend, but I would love to have one of my own. Look at all the ways you can arrange the pieces.

What do you think of my Camaleonda sofa replica? Let me know in the comments below.

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