I have been wanting to get this post together for a long time you guys! In case you haven't noticed my blog game has not been very strong...oops! I wish I had 10 more arms attached to me, then I'm certain I could produce content more efficiently for you guys. Having said that one of the key things I have learned about doing anything in a creative capacity is to do it when it feels right or when the creativity comes to you naturally, rather than forcing it.
So here I am today feeling refreshed after a Christmas break, ready to take on 2020 with exciting DIY's already in my mind to share with you all! Today I am bringing you a bit of an oldie, this bench was made last year. I actually didn't create a lot of content about it as I doubted myself a whole bunch when I was making it, thinking to myself am I completely out to lunch here?
Are people gonna think this is ugly? Is it gonna be a lemon of a bench? Luckily however it turned out not only beautiful but became one of my most asked about tutorials. I had put together a video about it on Instagram, but I think you will find this blog post provides much more information needed to create this beauty, so enjoy!
Fabric of your choice - I used 2 IKEA curtain panels that are no longer available but these are similar . Dropcloth would also work well!
Similar coloured fabric to your tube fabric or the exact same. You will need this for going under your tubes in case any shift you won't see the white batting peeking through.
Polyfil x 4 bags to start - Michaels, Walmart, or craft stores
Upholstery Foam - I bought a role at Michaels using a 40 % off coupon. You can also buy this on Amazon, Walmart or Joanne's
5 x 2x4" boards x 6 ft length - I used rough cuts, I wanted the legs very rustic looking
Plywood cut to 16" x 55 1/2"
Hot Glue Gun
2 1/2"Wood Screws
1 3/4" decking screws
Wood Stain or furniture paint in the colour of your choosing
You can also visit my Instagram story highlights under "DIY Bench" to see more video progress on this project.
The first thing you will need to do is hot glue your upholstery foam to your plywood board. I like to leave a 1-2" border all around the foam and the edge of the plywood so that there is room for your tubes to wrap around without bulking up too much. Then you will wrap a large piece of quilt batting over top of the foam and underneath the plywood. Use your staple gun to attach the quilt batting to the underside.
Take your extra piece of fabric and smooth it over your entire base over your batting. Staple it to the underside of the base. I learned the hard way how important this step is. I made a small stool using dark green chenille tubes and forgot to add green fabric over my quilt batting, so now every time the tubes shift I see the white batting peeking through and it drives me nuts!
Alright now that you have your main seat base finished, you need to start making your Polyfil fabric tubes. Not gonna lie, this requires a bit of time and work but it's actually quite easy if you have a sewing machine and can sew a simple straight stitch.
Lay your fabric out on a large space like a table or the floor. Start by deciding how many long tubes you will need for the width of your bench. For my bench, I used the full length of my 98" curtain panels from IKEA. I knew I would have a lot of extra overhang but I didn't mind as I knew I would need more material for the weaving process. I cut one of my curtain panels into 5 sections that measured 11 1/2" wide each. Then with each section, I would lay a bundle of Polyfil all the way down the strip.
I did leave space on each end empty to account for room for stapling at the beginning onto your plywood and for cutting off extra at the end. Then fold over your fabric to form a tube shape and use pins to hold them in to place.
Now, this part is a bit controversial, lol! I say that because I know if you are a true sewer or seamstress this part might make you cringe, however for me I found it the easiest way to sew my tubes. I grabbed my tube and fed the two seams together underneath my presser foot and started sewing all the way from the top to the bottom of the fabric.
Yes, you will have a raw unfinished edge showing, but to me, this doesn't matter as it will be facing the bottom and not be seen. If you would like to do this in a more polished way, you would sew your tubes first inside out to hide the seams, then flip them over to the finished side and then finish it by stuffing them with a long stick or object to push down the Polyfil.
To me, that seemed so much harder and I can be a lazy DIYer at times guys, haha! In the picture below you will see how I finished off one end with a simple cross stitch to make sure the Polyfil doesn't bust out.
Time to now make your smaller cross tube sections. I did this by laying my other curtain panel out on the floor and figuring out how to most efficiently get as many tubes out of the fabric I have remaining. I decided to work with the length of the fabric and cut the panel into 12 sections of 11 1/2" wide x 32" long.
Then just like I did with the longer tubes I filled them with Polyfil and used my pins to hold them into place. Sew your 12 remaining tubes now. Take your raw edge from each tube and run them through your sewing machine. Remember this doesn't have to be perfect. You won't be seeing this edge as it will be facing down. Also, don't forget to sew one end of each tube completely shut.
With your staple gun in hand, you will need to start stapling one end of each of your constructed tubes onto the back of your plywood base. I started with my five longer tubes and stapled the finished end onto the back of my base.
Make sure you have your tubes evenly spaced out fully across the back of the board before you attach them. After you've finished the five long sections it's time to start stapling your 12 smaller tubes all across the full width of the base.
Start by placing one long tube fully across the top of the bench.
Then take a short tube and feed it under the long tube and lay the rest flat across the bench.
Now grab another short tube and bring it around but this time bring it over the long tube instead of underneath, then lay the remainder again across the bench.
Repeat these steps with the short tubes until you reach the end of the short pieces. Then grab another long tube and bring it around to the top.
Then feed it through all of the short tubes but this time be sure to watch your pattern above with the previous long tube and be sure to do the OPPOSITE pattern this time!
Repeat this step for every long tube this time, until you are all done weaving. This may seem confusing but be sure to watch towards the end of my Instagram stories on this tutorial where I show just how easy it's done!
Once you've done weaving, give all of your tubes a good tug to really pull the fabric taught to smooth out any major ripples in the fabric. Also the tighter the tubes are the less likely they will shift around.
Now take each piece and staple it to the underside of the base. You may have extra fabric at this point or Polyfil even. Trim off any extra and discard if needed.
Now it's time to build a simple base for your benchtop. I chose to make an easy rectangular frame using 2x4's. Of course, you can get creative here and make any kind of frame you like, but I wanted something quite simple to make the focus be on the unique design of the top instead of the base.
So here is what I did. I cut 4 of my 2x4's at 45 1/2" in length using my mitre saw. Then I cut 4 more pieces at 15" in length and lastly I cut 6 pieces at 9 1/2" in length. Easy stuff right!?
Now you have 14 cuts made to construct your bench. I didn't take as many pics of my building process so I will add a photo of the bottom of the bench flipped upside down so you can see where the cuts are to be placed. Here you will also see I still have some staining to finish, lol....oopsie!
Again, I don't have many pics of the process of the construction, so I will explain it to you the best I can. In the image below you will see the two square end support legs you will need to make first.
I have them resting on top of the benchtop, but that was only to see how far inset I was going to be placing the legs. I do not have the legs attached at this point.
So all you need to do to build one of these legs is place one of 9 1/2" 2x4's down flat, then rest your 15" board flat and vertical against the end of your 9 1/2" piece that's laying down.
Using your drill, screw 2 of your 1 3/4" deck screws into your 15" board through to the 9 1/2" piece. My husband says deck screws are great to use because they insert into the wood and you don't really see them. Also if that small hole that's left behind bothers you, you can always buy screw plug caps to cover the hole in various colours.
Repeat these steps for your other 15" board on the other end. Now you should have a U shape to your square legs. Next take another 9 1/2" board and screw it into the open end of your U shape using your deck screws again, creating your square shape. Repeat all the same steps here to make your second leg.
Time to attach your support boards to the legs. Using your Kregs Pocket Hole Jig, you will be making 5 pocket holes on 2 of your 45 1/2" boards.
If you don't have a Kregs Jig I would highly recommend it. It's the best way to create a clean-looking project without having to see all those ugly screw heads popping out. In the image below you can see what the pocket holes look like.
Make 3 pocket holes going across each support board, and then 2 more holes going towards each end. See diagram below with arrows indicating the direction of the pocket holes.
These pocket holes will allow you to screw through your boards and attach them to the benchtop as well as each square end leg with your 2 1/2" wood screws.
Once your two support boards are attached to the end square legs you will now add your two middle support cross-sections with your 9 1/2" boards. See diagram below to see where you will need to add your 3 pocket holes.
The last two boards you need to attach now are your two remaining 45 1/2"pieces. These boards will need two pocket holes on each end. See the diagram from Step 10 for a reference. These boards will lay flat so it can be attached to the square legs.
Your base is all built, yay!! So now to finish it up and look pretty, stain it or even paint in the colour of your choosing. I mixed together Minwax Espresso with Minwax Classic Grey. I did not seal my wood but rather left it raw.
Now flip your benchtop over and attach your base to the plywood underside. Follow your pocket holes that are empty and use those to screw your 2 1\2" wood screws through to your plywood. That's it you are all done! Flip it over and marvel at your beautiful masterpiece!!
Well, this concludes my very long post guys...if you are still there??! Hopefully, this provides a lot of answers to the questions I've been getting on this bench.
I'm always so flattered when I get questions on these crazy ideas I've come up with, it really does mean so much! This bench has been at the foot of our king-size bed ever since I built it and I don't think I will ever move it. My kids love to sit here and watch tv and my little dogs have decided to use it as their means to get into our bed. It costs very little in total to make this beauty, although it does, however, take a bit of time and patience, but it will pay off immensely to have a unique handmade creation such as this to admire every day and be proud of.
Thanks for hanging in there guys,