Part lounge spot, part tumbling mat, part fort, a Nugget Couch has become the hottest kid toy in 2020. It’s so popular that you have to win a lottery to even have a chance of purchasing one or sign up for a back order with shipping dates well into next year. Now while super versatile and open ended in its use, it is extremely simplistic in its construction; it’s large pieces of foam with a micro suede cover. So that has had some families considering DIYing their own Nugget Couches (i.e. a fake nugget or “fugget” or as I like to call it a nugget knockoff).
You can do this a handful of ways. Most commonly, people have been ordering the pieces precut to size direct from foam companies (here for the square pieces and here for the triangles) and covering with a Nugget brand cover (they are a lot easier to come by). This is a great option for a less hands-on DIY, but it actually ends up being a bit more expensive than the Nugget Couch itself. A small price to pay for having a nugget couch lookalike under the Christmas tree. However, Brad and I decided to try a little more hands on approach to DIYing an imitation Nugget that actually yields you two Nuggets using a single foam mattress and save a little bit of money in the process.
Here’s how we did it!
The key ingredient to DIYing your own imitation Nugget is an 8″ king-sized foam mattress. I highly recommend this bed from Amazon for $230. The key to this particular bed is it’s foam makeup. More on that in a minute. We actually got a steal for a new in box one off Facebook Marketplace, but it didn’t have the foam makeup like this linked one, so it ended up making the project rather difficult.
Now it just so happens that an 8″ king-sized mattress is the perfect size to cut all the foam pieces you need to have two full sets. The couch configuration is:
– Two (2) thick squares (33x33x5) (x2)
– Two (2) thin squares (33x33x3) (x2)
– Two (2) triangle pillows (14x14x14x21.5) (x2)
Now a couple of notes about this knockoff. First, actual Nugget couches are made from a high density foam. Mattresses are generally made out of a less dense, softer memory foam. So if you are a stickler for the firmer foam, this DIY may not be for you. We have found that the pieces still work well with the memory foam core, but there were a couple of builds that we couldn’t accomplish with the memory foam (such as the spaceship). That is one of the reasons why I liked the bed I linked above because it is not all memory foam, but I can’t guarantee it will have the exact staying power of high density foam on all the builds.
Also, Nugget thick pieces are technically 5 1/8″ thick and the thin pieces are technically 3 1/8″ thick and triangles are technically 14 1/2″ on the triangle sides, but in this DIY (and if you order the pieces directly from a foam company), you’ll need to round down to the nearest inch. From past experience working with foam, I can assure you these small discrepancies will not affect the outcome of your DIY.
The last point I want to make after having gone through this whole process ourselves, is that your cuts are not going to be perfect like a Nugget’s laser precision. If you are looking for a perfect imitation, unless you are confident in your ability to cut very straight, I would look back at those precut foam pieces. Again, this is why I highly recommend the bed I linked above because the foam makeup actually helps you ensure straight, even cuts.
Okay so now to the DIY Process.
Step One: Like most foam products, your mattress is likely to arrive tightly compressed in a box. You are going to want to unwrap and let it sit out for a couple of days to expand. When I unboxed our mattress it was only 4″ high and I may or may not have had a small panic attack that this wasn’t going to work at all. I gave it a few days, and thankfully it rose to 8″ high.
Step Two: Most foam mattresses come covered in a fabric, fire retardant casing or two. You are going to want to take these off, whether by unzipping, ripping, or cutting, so that you are working directly with the foam piece itself. Note that you do not need these covers later in the project, so you can go ahead and toss or repurpose.
Step Three: Now you’ll want to measure out and mark your cuts for the piece widths and heights directly onto the foam using a permanent marker and the drawing I provided above. Note that the pieces only fit one way on the mattress (you need the 14“ leftover on the long 80″ side of the mattress for your triangles). So measure twice and double/triple check your drawing before moving on to the next step.
Lesson Learned: I actually recommend drawing the outlines on both the top and the bottom ensuring that they line up. This will help for cutting evenly in the next step because you can follow the guidelines on both sides to ensure you have an even cut.
Step Four: Now you are going to start making cuts in the foam. I recommend using an electric turkey carver / bread knife for this step. If you don’t have one, I suggest getting the one with the longest blade you can find, which helps when making certain cuts to do as much in one slice as possible. Here is a reasonably priced electric carver with a 9″ blade. Just carefully cut along the lines going down the full 8″ through the foam being as careful as possible to cut straight down.
As I mentioned above, with a 9″ blade you could draw lines on both sides, suspend the mattress on sawhorses or boxes and be sure you are cutting the line exactly on both sides to help stay straight up and down.
Note that this step is going to yield you four squares that are 8″ thick (basically a thick and thin piece stuck together at this point) and then three smaller rectangles 8″ thick for the three sides of your triangle.
Step Five: Now this is probably the trickiest step in the process. The next step is to split your squares into 5″ thick and 3″ thin pieces. This is harder because you have a longer way to cut freehand and try to keep level.
There are two ways to go about this. I highly highly recommend getting the mattress I linked above. Here it is again just in case. So as you can see from the picture below, the foam is actually broken into layers, which will be visible on the mattress. These layers are adhered together, but it’s actually fairly easy to pull them apart. You would simply, but very carefully peel the green and peach layers apart from each other (colors on the foam will not necessarily match this, but I am referring to the diagram below). Then you would be left the blue and green combined together to form the 3″ thin piece and then the 5″ peach piece. Speaking from experience, I highly, highly recommend this route! You will save so much time and come out with much more uniform pieces. You may have to use the electric carver to assist in splitting, but then you have a line to perfectly follow as well.
We did not have this luxury with the bed we picked up from Facebook Marketplace. So our trick was how to cutting evenly through the middle of the piece with no guidelines. To combat this, my husband built a guide from some scrap wood and a long thin 1/8 inch metal strip (you can see more details on this in our video). He made it so that from the bottom of the guide to the top of the guide was exactly 5 inches so that we could follow the metal guide with the electric carver. In the end, we ended up with one 5 inch thick piece and one 3 inch piece from one section of foam.
Now you have all your squares!
Step Six: Now to make your triangles. You are also going to want to split your smaller rectangles for this, but you are going to split in fourths and after drawing some more guidelines, you can do these cuts by hand. After doing this, you should have twelve (12) 14×21.5 rectangles; three (3) for the three (3) sides of one triangle times four (4) triangles equals twelve (12) side pieces.
Next, you are going to want to cut angles on each end of the rectangles so you can fit them together into a triangular prism like pictured above. Instead of measuring out the angles using anything formal, I snatched an equilateral triangle from my kid’s shape sorter. Holding the corner to the bottom corner of the foam and lining up the other side’s middle of the triangle to the bottom of the foam, I drew and angle that continued to the top of the foam. This should end up about three inches in from the edge, which I marked to be visible on the top. Then I did on the opposing side and connected to the two in a straight line across the top.
Now you can take your electric carver and line it up with the bottom corner and the top line and run carefully across the length of the piece cutting out your angle. I actually found this cut fairly easy because I could see both ends of the knife and keep in lined up.
Try to do in one whole cut because you may want to reuse that piece you cut off to stuff your triangle. More on that in a moment. Once you make all those cuts, you will have four sets of three trapezoids that are going to fit together to form four triangles.
I recommend using this 3M adhesive spray for fixing the ends into place. It’s super easy to use. Just spray on the angled ends, stick together, and let dry. And it holds up very well!
Now at this point your triangles will be hollow. You can actually use the 6 pieces you just cut off to stuff your triangle (see example below) and be done. The inside doesn’t have to be perfect at all, just make sure its filled to help the triangle keep it’s shape but not too full to bust your adhesion. Another idea is to cute 6x6x6 triangles from the leftover long 10″ piece you have from your original cuts. This was my preferred method after trialing the two even though it meant extra cuts. I just held up to the hollow section to mark and cut the angles using the same process as above.
Lesson Learned: In contrast to the 1/8″ difference on the squares, which was completely negligible, the 1/2″ difference between the actual Nugget triangle and the imitation triangle was noticeable to me. It could just be my sloppy cuts because two turned out okay and the other two were a little on the small side. So we ended up buying a 1″ foam twin topper from Walmart for $10 and encasing the triangles using the spray foam and the wrapping around the outside.
Step Seven: Now that you have all your pieces fashioned, all you have to do is cover them. Nugget sells covers separately for $99 (plus tax). Because of this and because they are smaller and easier to ship than the actual couch itself, there is a healthy secondhand market for them as well, which is not insanely marked up like the couch. I recommend searching Mercari and Facebook Marketplace for a good deal!
Note that you could sew your own, but honesty I don’t think it’s worth the hassle. A quick tally of yardage revealed that I’d be spending roughly $100 on micro suede fabric anyways.
And there you have it; your own “Nugget!”
Here’s a breakdown of the cost (which includes taxes and shipping):
- 8″ King-sized Foam Mattress = $230
- Two Nugget covers at retail = $210
- Adhesive Spray = $15
- Twin Foam Topper (if needed) = $10
- Total Cost = $465
- Total Cost Per Nugget = $232.50
- Cost of Actual Nugget (including taxes/shipping) = $250
- Cost of DIYing Nugget through Foam Factory = $355
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