#834 Building an amazing couch cushion fort

Sturdy and strong

[digg=http://digg.com/educational/How_to_build_an_amazing_couch_cushion_fort] Building a family room stronghold is no joke.

No, it’s a kindergarten lesson in teamwork, trust, and the art of war. Follow these six steps to construct your domestic defense:

Step 1: Clear and collect. Get the coffee table, throw rugs, and plastic toys out of the way, then begin hunting for materials. Couch cushions are your obvious first targets but pillows, sheets, and sleeping bags will be needed too. And I don’t need to tell you that if your family just got a new fridge delivered, grab that giant cardboard box, because your fort just got a den.

Pouring the foundation

Step 2: Main construction. Some people opt for the sleeping bag carpeting technique. Others move directly into building sturdy walls and laying down a roof. Wall possibilities include turning chairs and couches around, tipping coffee tables sideways, or just piling up cushions. As for the roof, carefully toss a few sheets over your castle walls and hold the corners down firmly with Trivial Pursuit boxes, barbells, or an iron.

Good, well-fortified view

Step 3: Add-ons. Now it’s time to ammo up. Your fort needs windows to spot your enemies, a secret back door getaway in case of surprise attacks, and plenty of flashlights to navigate this harsh carpet-burny terrain. Plus, don’t forget a TV with Nintendo in the barracks for those long, lonely nights.

Step 4: Hiding spaces. All forts should include several hiding spaces in case of surprise enemy break-ins. Plan a couple behind false wall cushions or underneath a pile of dirty blankets. These also serve as excellent jail cells, where you can trap your victim, give them noogies, and force them to watch you play Zelda for three hours.

Trench food

Step 5: Rations. You will need a hidden pile of snacks to get through the day. See if you can make do with a pile of Cheddar Cheese Combos, open Froot Loops boxes, and warm cans of soda. Hey, we’re at war here, people.

Type fast for quick entry

Step 6: Finishing touches. Finally, it’s time to add extra perks like a Speak & Spell doorbell, cardboard periscope, or a wide strip of bubble wrap laying outside as an Intruder Alert System.

After that, you’re pretty much done. Your family room fortress is a tall, plush tower of strength, and you can just crawl in and enjoy defending your cozy new confines.

Just imagine what the inside looks like

Yes, as long as nobody’s parents buy the pre-packaged Super Fort from the Cranium buzzkills, cushion forts sure do give kids a great burst of creative energy on rainy days. They plan and design and build and ultimately sit back and relax deep in the bowels of their secret sanctuary. For kids, it’s nearly impossible to get away from it all, so the amazing couch cushion fort serves as much more — it’s an army barracks, a bat cave, a weekend at the cottage, and a trip down South, all rolled up in a pile of stained cushions, old blankets, and big ideas in middle of the room.


Together we are strong

Photos from: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here

80 thoughts on “#834 Building an amazing couch cushion fort

  1. Memories from childhood and recent experience with my own young kids makes these facts quite clear:
    Glow-in-the-dark anything, puppies and beans and weenies for lunch make the whole pillow fort/blanket sanctuary experience much more dynamic.

  2. As a bit of a sofa-cushion-fort-building conniseur myself, I’m going to go ahead and grade each of the forts above:

    Picture 1: B+. Strong points include overall size (takes up half the room), good use of sheet roofs and blanket flooring. Look how much they appear to be enjoying themselves. Great fort. Only negative point is the use of the giant primary-color “instant fort”. Basically that’s cheating.

    Picture 2: C-. I really feel for this little guy. First of all, he’s building it all by himself, which I can tell you from personal experience, makes the whole project a lot harder. You don’t have anyone to help you stretch the roof over vast expanses of rec room. All that being said, there are some major structural flaws with this fort. The lack of a couch is a big deal, as it doesn’t provide him with a lengthy section of wall. All of the furniture also looks really uncomfortable and hardwood. Easy to bonk your head. Plus, he’s totally boxing himself in. Even when he’s done, he’ll have maybe 8 inches of mobility inside his fort. In short, this guy needs a lesson on the art.

    Picture 3: B-. These kids have got the basics down. Strong use of couch cushions (look how high the cushions are stacked, to defend from aerial attacks.) This is easily the most structurally sound of the forts pictured. The only thing that stops this from getting a higher grade is that, from this angle at least, they’ve really boxed themselves in and limited mobility. Sure, nobody is going to be able to get to them in that solid fortress, but they’re not going to be able to hang out in that dark cave all day, without some space to move.

    Picture 4: A. Today’s winner. Now, these kids did it up right. They used the back of the couch (an advanced technique), to maximize interior space, but create a solid barrier on one side). The double blankets laid over-top is key. Look at all that interior space they’ve got there! I’ve lived in smaller studio apartments! One side of the fort faces the TV in the background, so they’ll have entertainment. They’ve even solidified one of the exits with an old box of Dad’s tax documents. Great work here! The only vulnerability is to attacks from above. A single, flying cabbage-patch kid, and that roof is coming right down. Still – great planning and execution here.

    Freddo – Aspiring member of the WSCFBS.

      If you are a parent, I’d have to call you a “Cool Dad!”

  3. This is truly an awesome thing! I spent hours doing just this with my sister as a little kid. Unfortunately ours looked more like Picture 3 (right down the the funny looking ’70s style couch cushions), which just got rated a B-. I can attest to the fact that we did indeed spend the whole day in the dark, small space. We thought it was waaay more fun to hide out inside our fort with our stuffed animals than to practice the piano yet again.

  4. My 5 year old girl and 14 year old boy love buiding forts together – one of the few things they actually like to do together. However once it’s constructed anytime one enters the fort I hear:
    “That’s not the door.”
    “Yes it is.”
    “No it isn’t.”
    “Is so!”
    “Is not!”

  5. the children in Photo 1 look mysteriously Photoshopped into the picture. Either that or their growth has been stunted by a steady diet of Cheetos and Tang

  6. is this a learned (or taught) behavior, or did we just come up with these things on our own? like some jungian collective unconscious shit.

  7. Oh that was the best thing ever. My cousins and I would turn our entire den into a fort. Good times. I believe on one occasion when our fort covered the entire den we sectioned it off into our own little rooms and spent the night in them and told ghost stories in our “community area.”

  8. What wonderful memories this brings back.
    Our 4 kids all did this, as well as our 9 grandchildren…..not only indoors, but outdoors, as well, usually with the help of a clothesline or two…and clothespins, of course…Would be fun for all of us to go back into our past, and enjoy this once again! Do kids today still have this much fun? Lets hope so…

    1. my name is dhruv arman and rohon are my little cousins we built a fort in the family room it took u the whole room!But arman knocked it down so he said that he was the dog i got mad. please comment./i am on face book

  9. What I love about this blog is that it makes your remember things you forgot – couch fort building was freakin great! It’s big on imagination. I used to love it and you can go for a whole day.

  10. 1998.

    My basement. Creepy chairs with faces.
    One huge blanket against the Barbie house.

    ..and then an infection of earwigs crawling around sending three young girls screaming up the stairs.

    Good times!

  11. Figured I’d add that fort building has just been endorsed by the First Family. Apparently, in O Magazine (Oprah’s mag), Michelle Obama confessed that they were redecorating the White House, and they wanted to make sure that the couch cushions could be made for fort building. “Everything needs to be fort worthy.”

    There you have it. Fort’s get the thumbs up from Obama.

  12. I remember building forts with my best friend. We would move the furniture around and drape blankets and sheets over it, anchoring them with heavy books. One time, we even strung a length of string across the living room and draped a sheet over it to make a wall! Don’t remember how we anchored the ends of the string, though–we probably took some pictures off the walls and tied the string to the nails. We made huge forts that covered half the living room so nobody could get through. It was great! Oh, and we tried persuading the cats to stay inside them with us, but that didn’t always work.

  13. What a fantastic post! My brother and I were world-class pros at fort building back in the day… we had the spy holes, secret compartments, and alternate entrance through the little back door that you could only get into if you were small enough to get back there and you knew the pass code. The best ones were against a bed that you could fit under, because the fort instantly became twice as big.

  14. Forts are the best! One of my fondest and happiest memories of my childhood. Building forts with my brother and cousins. And I even enjoyed the snow ones during winter :) I’m gonna go build a fort tonight just for fun!!! :)

  15. Forts were quite possibly the highlight of my childhood. My two brothers and I made a fort out of a ping pong table that was not being used. The rook therefore was solid against and and all attacks, leaving left over resources to create some heavily fortified walls. That fort lasted for months, we even had an original Playstation in there!

  16. Don’t forget the floor lamps and a couple of dad’s golf clubs wedged into the couch for extra height! Once you get the height you can start thinking about the TWO STORY FORT!

    Then of course once someone moves the wrong way one of the lamps tips over and the entire thing comes crumbling down creating a mess of sheets, cushions and screaming kids…

    Those were the days…

  17. What about a fort that started at the top of the stairs and continued down under the pool table made out of old camping foam rolls? Those were the days. I actually still have “The Blanket” that served as the carpet for the master bedroom on my bed. talk about security issues…. hehe.

  18. While watching my cousins over the summer, my aunt called to say she would be home late, the kids got extremely bored, then this happened.

  19. We used to have a long series of shelves for storing lps (vinyl records to you young things) along one wall and there was just enough room between the bottom row of lps and the next shelf that you could crawl along the tops of the lps. I would position my wall carefully so that this became my secret entrance.

  20. I still remember the best fort we ever made when I was a kid. I was about 10 years old and my sisters and I built one that covered the entire family room. It was all tunnels with brooms and stuff propping up the blankets everywhere where they would start drooping. My parents even let us sleep over night in it. It was literally 20 years ago and I can still remember what is looked like!
    Thanks for this blog. It’s so awesome!!

  21. I remember my best friend, my cousin and I built a huge fort out of sheets, pillows and chairs that took 2 days. We literally lived in that for for about 3 days. Good times.

  22. My roommate and I have 6 pillows on our couch. I invariably have them around me all the time – it’s like a little nest.

  23. Lmao. This is great. I just made a fort for my little brother. Ungrateful Butthead he is! Didnt even look at it or attempt to get in! Then my big siberian husky ran through and the whole thing crumbled. Lmao.

  24. haha, and here i was thinking me and my brother were the only ones that did it. :P He just made a cubby the other day and hes 11 haha. but the ones we used to make didnt have much allowance for mobility at all… and i always brple them coz im bigger than him lol

  25. We still call my parents’ back walk-in closet the “batcave” – when we first moved into our house, all the boxes that weren’t unpacked right away got moved in there, making an AMAZING maze of little spaces to hide out and paths to get through. It was the sweetest place to go and hide out or read or just sit and pretend to be BatGirl!

  26. I love this post, it so reminds me of when my kids were small, oh boy the camps they built in the front room or their bedrooms were just works of art.

  27. The structure of the camp in the first image is a architectural marvel, I just admire the way the “builders” have used existing structures to add extension like extra pace to the existing “sheet tent”.
    Good job..lol

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  30. YOU think of everything. So well written, with lots of laughs. Thanks.
    Forts are great in stormy weather, like today.
    I took a few too many books, cabinets and irons on the head, so I’ll admit it, for my grandchildren I sewed a table tent in hopes they will “save heads” and yet still have hours of fun!

  31. those days were so fun with my sister.we always did half of the living room:)then our dogs would run in knock some books down and BOOM!!!we would rebuild it over and over again.

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