Saturday, February 26, 2011

Build your own bench...

Okay, so not an imaginative title. :p But nonetheless..I promised a tut for this a million years ago, and it's time to make good.. :p

Tools and supplies needed:

Board or boards, the width you want your bench, and enough length to make two legs and the seat...Mine is about two feet high, by three feet across. So, a total of seven feet in length.

A board or a couple boards to make the supports..I used a piece 2" deep, 8" wide, and 12" long. This was large enough to make both supports.

Wood screws x 10

Sandpaper, med grit (100 grit)


Waterbase varnish (optional)



Electric sander (optional)

Measuring tape or ruler

Wood glue


Kraft paper and pencil

Start with your board...mine was an old, painted shelf we had no need for. Bonus, was already pre-distressed. :D Lay across your sawhorses or whatever you use to hold a board for cutting with a saw. 

Measure out your sections, and mark off. 

Using your paper...draw out an attractive curve for the sides of the legs. I used the edge of the paper to match up the straight edge of the board so I could do it evenly. Trace it onto the board, and flip and repeat for the other side. 

I wanted this decorative detail at the foot of the legs, so I added it in.

Cut out your design details, using the jigsaw. For the side scroll pattern, start at the point, and saw through the curves and off the edge. For bottom, it's a little more tricky. First, cut out the curved bottom. Ignore the little square. Once that is out, move on to the square. 

Starting at one bottom corner of the square, start cutting up, and curve through the corner, straightening at the top, and ending at the corner. You should end up with half that square cut at the top. Repeat on the other side.Clean up any uneven-ness across the top by making another pass along with the blade. Ask me what the heck I am talking about if I am unclear. :p

Cut off that section along your previously marked line, and repeat for the next leg.

I totally messed up, and didn't get pics of this part, but you are going to make supports for each side of the seat. You will make them pretty much the same way you made the legs, but only cut on one side, and leave the other side flat, to support the seat. Please refer to the pic six spots down for a better idea. Heh.

At this point, I find it easiest to sand the pieces before assembling. I smoothed the edges, and then rounded the corners, to give a more worn appearance. Yes, I totally sucked at cutting that little square out. Sue me. :D

Using the ruler, find the middle point of the leg, along the top edge. 

About an inch or so down, pre-drill in a screw, but don't let it go all the way through. Make another one about 1.5 inches below that. 

Take your wood glue, 

..and smear it all over the side edge of the support, on the area that will be against the legs.

This part is fiddly, and maybe someone else has a kickass idea on how to do this, but I don't, so, put the glue end against the inner side of the legs, behind where the screws are, brace the board somehow, and complete the screws. Make sure the top edge of the support is flush with the top edge of the leg. Repeat on other side.

On the seat board, predrill three screws, along the outside edge, where the legs will be. 

Apply more wood glue along the top edges..

..and put the seat onto the legs, screwing down completely. At this point, if you really care, you can fill in the screw heads with putty, let dry, and sand smooth, ready for painting. I, um, don't, really..

Painting: So, I was using a prepainted shelf, so I already had two coats of paint I had applied at some previous time. If you aren't, you are going to need at least one coat underneath for texture and smoothness on the paint. Let that dry, rub over with a wax candle on the high wear areas, and then paint on your contrast color. I used high gloss china red, cause 1. I loved it, and 2. I had a looot of it. :p 

When the paints are all dry, give it a sand...I sanded it all over, to give a smooth and worn appearance, and paid special attention to the high wear areas. The wax you previously smoothed on will help the paint you applied over it to flake off, giving a very vintage, aged look. Beautiful. :D From there, I gave it two coats of varnish, cause it's intended destination is outdoors, and I wanted it to last. You may choose not to, if you want.

Install in your desired location, step back, and don't sprain your elbow trying to pat yourself on the back, cause you did this!! Woohoo!! :D

As usual, let me know about any glaring mistakes, and PLEASE show me if you make one, too!! :D :D


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UPDATE: If I am joined to your linkie, but you don't see your button here, let me know, so I can manually add the link. For some reason, my blog is rejecting the code for a lot of them. I just tried to add one three times, and not once did the code take, though the gap where I kept placing it kept expanding, with nothing in it. ARGH.


Liesl said...

It looks fantastic. I think I will have a go at making one too! Thanks for the excellent instructions.

Anonymous said...

You've inspired me to repair my son's's in storage. He used it when he was 3 years old now he's it's about time to bring it out and fix it up and use it. Thanks a bunch for the instructions. Mel's Cabin visited your post from Under the Table and Dreamin' party.

Unknown said...

Your bench is simply cute! Thanks for sharing the great turtorial too!! Would love for you to share this with my followers, link to my blog bash K.I.S.S. Happy to be a new follower. :)

Jill Ison said...

holy cuteness! i love it.

Jamie @ DIY Home Sweet Home said...

What a cute bench. It turned out fabulous. I'm your newest follower. I would love it if you linked your project up to my link party.
More The Merrier Monday.

Ann @ makethebestofthings said...

Wonderfully done, you clever woman and I love the bright red color! The curved pieces really give this bench some style.

Danielle @ The Mad Ryno House said...

it's like you read my mind. last night I was trying to figure out how i could make a bench for my entryway. the space is so limited that none I've seen so far work. so glad I stumbled upon your place!


Michelle said...

"If you can't find it....BUILD IT!!" I LOVE IT!!! Very cute. You should come link up at DIY Thrifty Thursday @

Manjari said...

You know what? I had a dream you were making benches. It didn't look like this one, but hey, nobody's subconscious is perfect.

Audrey said...

Love this! Nice touch with the lemonade! I'm a new follower!!

Laurel {Make and Takes} said...

Wow - quite impressive! I'd love for you to submit this to the M&T Spotlight:

muralimanohar said...

Manj-Or maybe you remember me showing you my awesomely awesome bench while you were still over here, and are now picking up on the subconscious waves coming from my brain while I percolate a version meant to be my new little bistro-ish table by the pool. :P

Manjari said...

Oh, hey! That sounds more plausible. I've never been very clairvoyant.

muralimanohar said...


Suzanne@thriftstoredecorjunky said...

Thanks for this! At first I thought..."yeah right, like I will ever be able to make one", but looking at your detailed instructions, I might just do one...

Unknown said...

Love your creativity, thanks for linking up to my blog bash K.I.S.S. @ The Tattered Tag. Please link up more of your great ideas tomorrow. :)

Drop by The Tattered Tag

Audrey said...

I received the Stylish Blogger Award and I am passing it on to you!! Love your work! Audrey :o)

Unknown said...

thanks you! this is exactly what I need!! I will let you know how mine turn out! :o)

Erin said...

Loving this project...and loving your blog!

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