bench-outdoors-front cropped

How to Make an Upcycled Vintage Cast Iron Claw-foot Bathtub Sofa

This amazing cast iron vintage clawfoot bath can be transformed into an upcycled vintage sofa couch. The bathtub is surprisingly comfortable; after all, it’s designed to have people lounging in it! No matter the condition of the bathtub, you can transform it into a conversation piece couch that is as practical as it is funky.

Step 1: Start by outlining a cut out on the edge of the bathtub.

Cut Cast Iron bathtub

Step 2: Cut out with an angle 4.5 inch cut-off wheel on an angle grinder. This puts enormous strain on the grinder, so work slowly and carefully. Wear gloves, protective clothing, goggles and a face mask.

cast iron claw-foot bathtub sofa couch

Here is a video of the cast iron cutting to give you a better idea of how to proceed.

Step 3: Sand down any rusted areas and clean cast iron bathtub surface prior to painting.

painting ball and claw cast iron bath

Step 4: Paint the bottom of the claw-foot tub with Krylon paint. When it is completely dry, turn the tub over and pain the interior.pain claw-foot bath

 

claw-foot sofa couch for green living

Step 5: Sand and paint feet separately.

Step 6: Place a cushion in the bottom of the cast iron claw-foot bathtub sofa

Enjoy the blog? Need good karma? Now you can get all our blog updates and more good karma than you can poke a sharp stick at… Just ‘like’ us on Facebook! Click here.

About

Nikki is a Toronto green living blogger specializing in green living ideas and tips, upcycling, recycling and all things green. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives with her husband and a very bad dog.

29 thoughts on “How to Make an Upcycled Vintage Cast Iron Claw-foot Bathtub Sofa

  1. Nikki Fotheringham Post author

    Hi John,

    Thanks for your question. The cut will depend largely on the size of your bath, but mine is 14 inches from the top rim and 45 inches wide. Be sure to cut the bath at the bottom just after it starts to curve up – leaving too much space above the curve means it will cut into your legs when you sit on it. Use a level to ensure that the lines are straight.

    Reply
  2. Kristen

    I love this!! I have wanted a “holly golightly” sofa for a long time and your blog makes me feel like this is a project I can take on. How long did it take you? Do you feel like it could be used outside or needs to be an indoor fixture? Thanks, K

    Reply
    1. Nikki Fotheringham Post author

      Hi Kristen! I love this sofa, its my favorite piece of furniture and a real hit with visitors. I use it inside, but you can just as easily leave it outdoors too. From start to finish, the sofa took about a day to complete. It does depend on the condition the bathtub is in when you start. Ours had been outside for decades and was covered in rust. We had to sand it down and that took some time. We also used a primer and a couple of coats of paint to get it up to scratch. If your bathtub is in a good condition, it should only take you a couple of hours. If you make this sofa, please send us a picture or a video – we would love to see your handy work. Good luck and let me know if you need any help along the way.

      Reply
  3. Erik

    Great work! Can you post a video of the full cut? I’d like to see how long it took, how many blades, and how you cut the curves.

    Thanks!

    Reply
      1. Lisa

        What kind of grinder do you have? I’m trying to cut, but after 2 hours, i’ve only made it 4 inches. I’m aghast that it only took you 30 minutes. According to the guys at Home Depot, i’m using the right disk. I’ve blown through 2 in that 4 inches :(

        Reply
        1. Nikki Fotheringham Post author

          Hi there,

          I was using a very standard Bosch 4.5″ 6A grinder (http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/bosch-6a-angle-grinder-4-5-in-0547054p.html#.UtWGoZ5dU2E)

          The trick is to use as thin a cut off wheel as possible – (something like this: http://image.made-in-china.com/2f0j00LCMTPEBaqtpw/Super-thin-Cut-Off-Wheel.jpg). The thinner the wheel, the less material it has to cut through – when I say thin, I mean like 2-3mm thick – anything thicker and it will take a very long time. Be sure to have a clear and as accurate a line as possible to follow, cut along it and use a thicker (like the one you have been using) wheel to round the edge afterwards. Do not force the grinder against the cast iron either, as this will put undue resistance on the electric motor of the grinder and can burn it out very easily, ruining it.

          No offence to whoever recommended whatever to you – but I made it all the way through on one disc (which I was very surprised about)…and it wasn’t fancy – it was the cheapest (10 for $9) one I could find…

          Another point of note – grinding cast iron creates a TON of tiny iron particles. these particles are tossed all over the place seeing as that is the nature of grinding. if you’re doing this out of doors, these particles will rust during the first rain, creating rust stains. I did mine on a paved area – which ended up getting CRAZY rust stained….word to the wise – either thoroughly clean up immediately after, or do the grinding somewhere of no consequence…

          Reply
  4. Sheldon

    my daughter saw this and wants one for her room. thanks for the instructions! picking up a tub tomorrow.

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Our favourite upcycling projects of the week | 1 Million Women

  6. Pingback: 1 Million Women

  7. Jen

    How long did this take? Is it a weekend project or something that needs a lot more time? Absolutely beautiful finish! I love the boldness of the red. FANTASTIC!

    Reply
    1. Nikki Fotheringham Post author

      Thanks Jen – I love this couch! It took my husband a weekend to make it, but its surprisingly easy to make. He spent a lot of time working on rust removal because the tub was in bad shape to start with. If you start with a rust-free tub, you could cut it and paint it in a day.

      Reply
  8. Pingback: DIY Christmas Gift Ideas You'll LOVE!

  9. Pingback: Your Old Bathtub is Not Washed Up | The Storage Blog

  10. Pingback: What was once a tub… | aeholstein

  11. Bathtub Reglazing Orlando

    Hi! I know this is kinda off topic however , I’d
    figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa?

    My blog discusses a lot of the same topics as yours and I believe we could
    greatly benefit from each other. If you’re interested feel
    free to send me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you!

    Terrific blog by the way!

    Feel free to visit my web site Bathtub Reglazing Orlando

    Reply
  12. Christine Bowden

    I’m about to embark on making one of these tub couches, and am really excited about it! I will definitely post pictures along the way.

    Wondering, if I wanted to fill the holes where the faucets were how would I go about doing that?

    Reply
    1. Nikki Fotheringham Post author

      If you would like to plug the holes, the first thing to do would be to create a substrate in them, that would allow you to apply body filler. I would suggest you cut two pieces of sheet metal, one for either side of each hole, cut these two pieces just slightly larger than the diameter of each hole so that each circle could not be pulled straight through. Then drill a hole through the center of each circle and pass a short countersunk head bolt through them both and secure on the other end with a thing nut. Cut off any excess bolt passing through the nut using your angle grinder. You should now have the hole ‘plugged’, yet beneath the surface of the cast iron, as this will generally be ~1/2 inch thick. Now apply a layer of body filler (Bondo or the such) and smoothly apply it to the surface of the tub around and over the plugged holes using a rubber straight edge to smooth over the holes, blending them into the surface of the cast iron. Allow for the body filler to dry, then sand it smooth to the surface of the tub. Good luck with it – the tub couch is my FAVORITE thing and its really comfortable. We would love to see the process and finished product so send us some pictures. If you have any problems or questions, just drop us a line and we will be happy to help!

      Reply
    1. Nikki Fotheringham Post author

      You can use sofa cushions that you already have or upcycle some sofa cushions if you prefer. We got a piece of foam from a mattress store and covered it with upholstery fabric which matched our living room. The thickness really depends on how comfy you want it to be. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>