How to Make Cockpit Box Cushions

Item # X-HT-200618

The cushions in your boat’s cockpit see a lot of wear and tear. They are frequently sat on and exposed to wind, rain and sea spray. So it’s no surprise that after years of use or when you purchase a pre-owned boat, you almost always need to replace the cockpit cushions. Making your own cushions not only will save you money, but it will also allow you to choose all the materials to create the most durable, longest-lasting cushions possible. This how-to video will walk you step-by-step through the process of making your own custom cockpit cushions.

Make cockpit cushions for your sailboat following this video tutorial

Cockpit cushions have to be more durable than your typical box cushions, so the performance qualities of each of the materials you select for your cushion should be carefully considered. For the cushions on our Islander 37 sailboat, we chose Sunbrella® Marine Grade Fabric in Jockey Red to match the rest of the canvas on the boat. Sunbrella Marine Grade is the perfect choice for cockpit cushions because it is water resistant, durable and breathable.

Since the cushions will see a lot of moisture, we used CushionRite™ Dry Fast foam, which is an open cell foam that won’t trap water and moisture. We also used a cushion underlining material as the bottom plate of the cushion. Cushion underlining is an open weave polyester with a vinyl coating that keeps the cushions from sliding around and also allows for water to drain out of the bottom of the cushion. It’s also a great way to save a little money, because the cushion underlining fabric is very affordable.

In this video, you’ll learn how to pattern your own cushions from scratch, sew piping, create a zipper plaque, and assemble your own cushions.

Video Chapters:

  • Patterning - 0:28 min.
  • Calculating Fabric Required - 1:56 min.
  • Cutting Plates - 3:46 min.
  • Sewing Piping - 5:32 min.
  • Cutting Boxing - 8:57 min.
  • Creating Zipper Plaque - 11:56 min.
  • Sewing Boxing - 15:51 min.
  • Sewing Bottom Plate - 20:09 min.
  • Cutting Foam - 23:36 min.
  • Materials List - 27:59 min.

Materials List:

  • Boat Exterior Fabric (we used Sunbrella® 46" Jockey Red #4603-0000)
  • Dura-Skrim® Pattering Material #122463
  • Cushion Underlining (optional, we used White #768)
  • Piping (we used Deluxe Vinyl Embossed Piping in White #103291)
  • V-69 or V-92 Polyester Thread
  • YKK® #5 VISLON® Continuous Zipper #28218
  • YKK® #5 VISLON® Single Pull #103178
  • CushRite™ Dry Fast Antimicrobial Foam (Firm) #124204

Tools List:

  • Sailrite® Edge Hotknife Package #103800
  • Deluxe 5-1/2" Magnetic Sewing Guide #103597
  • Sailrite® Blade Foam Saw #121244 or Electric Kitchen Knife
  • Sewing Machine
  • Marker
  • Yardstick
  • Tape Measure
  • Calculator
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

Have you ever made your own cockpit cushions? How did they turn out? What weather proofing techniques did you use? Share your experiences and ideas in the comments!