Friday, January 18, 2013

DIY Bench Tutorial

First of all, thank you so much for all your sweet comments on the master bedroom reveal I shared last week!  I mentioned in that post that I'd be sharing a tutorial on how to make the bench that my husband and I put together for the end of the bed.  I meant to get it out sooner, but it's been a long week around here.  The bench is a pretty simple building project that can come in handy if you can't find the right look or size of bench for the end of your bed, entryway, etc (or just want to save some money and build your own).

We decided to build one for both reasons as the $75 Craig's List bed and pillow top mattress we have was really tall and any kind of bench or ottoman online or in a store was just too short.  We ended up taking a couple inches off the bottom of the post of the bed so that everything (bed skirt, nightstands, and bench) wouldn't seem too short in comparison.  This tutorial is for the particular bench that we made, but can easily modified for your own measurements.  I also tried to make this as detailed as I could for those who don't have much building experience...
Materials List:
2 - 1''x 4''x 8' pine boards
4 - 21-1/4'' table legs (Found at Lowe's - they have several heights available)
MDF, Plywood Board (I used 5/8'' plywood that I already had) This can be cut to size at your local Home Depot or Lowe's.
Size 10 - 2-1/''2 & 1-1/2'' Wood Screws
1 pkg. of 1/2'' Wood Buttons (found in decorative wood accents aisle at Home Depot)
Drill with 9/64'' and 1/2'' bits
Miter Saw or Miter Saw Box
Nail gun or hammer and finishing nails
Quick Square or right angle tool
Wood filler
Wood glue
Paint/Stain, Brush
Upholstery Foam (I bought mine at Hobby Lobby with 40% off coupon)
Quilter's Batting
3/4 Yard Fabric of Choice
Staple Gun
Optional: Wood Trim (at least 16')

Step 1:  Each 1" X 4" should be cut down into three separate boards.  One 50" L board, 17" L board, and one 15-1/2" L board.  This will provide you with the four sides as well as some extra support boards for under the bench cushion.
Step 2: Determine placement of screw pilot holes on your two sets of 17'' and 50'' boards to attach to the table legs.  It is important to drill pilot holes so your screws don't split your board or the table leg.  It is also important to offset (not line up) your screws to avoid splitting the table leg as well.
Step 3:  After determining the placement of your pilot holes, use the 9/64'' bit to go ahead and drill in your pilot holes...
Step 4:  A counter-sink hole is also needed to hide the head of the screw and also to avoid splitting the board or breaking the head of the screw off as you attach the boards to the table leg. Take the 1/2'' drill bit and slowly drill a deep enough hole for the 1/2'' buttons to fit.
Step 5:  After drilling the pilot and counter-sink holes for all four boards, it's time to put together the rectangular box that makes up the bench seat.  Using a right angle or Quick Square, line up the boards and put in at least two finishing nails through the corners to hold everything together.  It definitely helps to have a second set of hands hold the corners while the other is nailing.
Step 6: Attach the table legs in each corner using the 2-1/2'' wood screws and cover the screw and counter-sink holes by filling them with the 1/2'' wood buttons (apply with wood glue).
Step 7:  Use those 15-1/2'' boards from the initial cuts to place inside the bench to provide extra support under your cushion.  Simply nail them from the outside.  We also applied a little wood glue to the edges.  As you can see below, pilot holes were also drilled in preparation for attaching the bench cushion.  If you want to add that decorative trim around the top of the bench, now is the time to add this. I think it makes the bench have a nice finished look. (Sorry for the night pics here)
Step 8:  Use wood filler to fill any nail holes, mitered corners, or rough edges for a smooth finished product.  After the wood filler dries, sand, and apply your finish (stain or primer and paint).  I used the wall color in my bedroom (a very pale blue-green) and added a hint of dark wax with the clear wax to seal.
Step 9:  Cut the MDF or plywood (or have cut at the hardware store) to size for the top of the bench.  Measure and cut foam to size.  I traced around the plywood with a marker and used a serrated knife to cut the foam.
Step 10:  To have smoother edges under the cushion fabric, wrap the plywood and foam with batting and staple it in place.
Use your fabric of choice to then wrap around the batting.  I usually do this in two steps, but it can be done in one. I also like to have a clean fabric edge under the cushion, so I simply fold the fabric under before stapling.
Step 11:  After upholstering the cushion, simply attach it to the bench by drilling the smaller (1-1/2'') wood screws through the pilot holes in the support boards shown in step 7 and you have your own custom bench!


Linking up to:


Blondie's Journal said...

The bench is beautiful, Kristen! You did a wonderful job and are so handy with tools, something I'm not! lol! I really love the all looks fabulous with your room decor!

Happy Weekend!


Ashli Herself said...

Turned out great! Thanks for the tutorial, will be pinning for later :)

Ashli Herself said...

Turned out great! Thanks for the tutorial, will be pinning for future reference :)

Unknown said...

It turned out wonderful! Thanks for sharing your tutorial too!

At The Picket Fence said...

Beautiful bench and awesome tutorial Kristen! Impressed with you guys! :-)

Shabby chic Sandy said...

What a wonderful job you did--it looks fantastic!

Sherry @ Thrift My House said...

Wow! The bench is awesome! I have a tall bed so we would have to build something too. A fantastic tutorial! You did a great job!

Abby said...

Very nicely done! I might give this a go...I can't find the perfect size bench anywhere!

Jennifer said...


Unknown said...

That is beautiful! I think you might just be my new favorite blog! :) Going to pin!

Shirley@Housepitality Designs said...

Kristen...the bench is so beautiful...Thanks for the tutorial...It is wonderful that you can customize a bench for the perfect size you need....Great job!!

Christy @ Our Southern Home said...

Love the bench project! Going to show this to my hubby to make for our bathroom for the front of the tub! Found your blog through From My Front Porch To Yours! I am a new follower and fellow southern gal from SC. Christy

Unknown said...

I love the bench. I would love to make one at the end of my bed when I redo my bedroom in the near future. Your master is so pretty. Great job!

Lina - Fancy Frugal Life said...

Ok so the bench is beautiful, great job, but man the room is A-mazing.
What a gorgeous space!

I'm just starting the process of redoing mine :)

New Follower,
Stop by Fancy Frugal Life sometime :)

Jeannie and Linda said...

Hi Kristen, Thank you so much for the good info. I have been wanting a bench, and your's is lovely. Looks very expensive, beautiful job. Lovely bedroom.
The French Hen's Nest

Unknown said...

Love how this turned out - beautiful job and great tutorial!
Thanks for sharing :)

Unknown said...

Great Tutorial! I wish I had room in my bedroom for a bench. I love it! We are also neighbors...well sorta - I live in the Charlotte area.

I'm having a STRUT YOUR STUFF Social hop. I'd love for you to hop on over, grab a button and come show off your best projects. Or, just come link up your blog!!

I'm also looking for Pinterest Pinners to feature every week. If you are on Pinterest and are interested in being featured come link up! Who knows you might meet some other great pinners and gain a few great ideas.

Dina said...

As soon as I know the right place for it I will have to try that! Or maybe a little smaller. I usually don't have the guts to make furniture from scrap but I see that it actually IS possible.
Thank you!! (:

The Honeysuckle Bus Stop said...

Wow! I love everything about this room. You did a fantastic job! I am a new follower- love your blog!

lynn cockrell said...

Great job! Your bench is beautiful.

MaryAnn Switzer said...

Hello...I love your bench. Beautiful! I was wondering what the dimensions were. Width, and length particularly. Thanks!

MaryAnn Switzer said...

I love your bench! Beautiful! What are the dimensions of it? length and width particularly.


Sarah said...

I LOVE this fabric, where did you find it??

Unknown said...

I just finished building it. I cant believe how perfect it turned out. Amazing tutorial!!! Thanks so much :)


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