Saturday, February 6, 2016

DIY Midcentury Modern Bench

We are working on downsizing and preparing to sell our house and move in the spring. So why am I making new furniture? Staging! One of our spare bedrooms (in the basement) is currently a junk storage room and we need to stage it as usable space. It's large. Very large. It has a queen bed in it currently that you can't use because it's covered in "storage." We are going to swap our king bed from our master with the queen in this room since they are more size appropriate for the spaces. I have a junky bench currently at the foot of our master bed for the dog to jump up on, but it really is a piece of crap. I've wanted to replace it for ages and especially before we list. It's boxy and has bins in the bottom and visually looks unappealing. I wanted something open that will feel more airy in the room. Plus, I love MCM style and always need more of it..... and plus plus, I want (need!) a project. ;)

This beauty from West Elm for only $299

My shopping list was short and easy since I already had most of what I needed. 

Here is my Home Depot shopping list:

4 - 12" table legs, 4 - brackets, and a 3" thick piece of foam came to $52 and free shipping.

I also used a 12" x 36" by 3/4" board that was previously used as a shelf in my craft room (I took the shelves down so we can stage it as a kids room)

About a yard of fabric, vinyl, or leather (I have a massive fabric stash)

One button making kit (Like this). Usually around $3 - $4 in craft stores.

String or rope to make piping, if you want to use it (you'll need a sewing machine if you do)

Staples and a staple gun

A drill and around a 1/2" or larger bit (I used a 7/8" spade bit bc it's the first one I came to in the tool box)

A looooooong needle and some strong thread or string

Some craft adhesive (I used spray adhesive)

Quilters batting, about a yard

I would guess a thrifty shopper (with Joann's coupons!) could buy all supplies for around $120 or less. Hopefully you already have the tools.

I started by deciding where I wanted my tufts to be and drilling large holes in the back of my board. The larger the better because you're going to have to blindly poke a long needle through them later on.

Spade bits make a mess. Wear your safety goggles and go outside or in the garage!

Next I cut the foam about 1/2 inch larger on all sides than my board. An electric kitchen knife is by far the best way to cut foam. 

I then used a spray adhesive to affix the foam to the board. This will just make sure it never shifts around when a crazy dog goes running and jumps up on it! 

The next step for me involved the sewing machine. You don't have to know how to sew to do this project. You can just skip this part and wrap fabric with no sewing - but I wanted piping on mine, so I had to sew that first:

And then sew the piping to my cover:

Then come the staples! First I highly recommend you wrap the foam and board in batting and put a few staples in that. The batting helps smooth the edges of the foam and will keep the fabric from rubbing the foam over time. You CAN skip this part, but I wouldn't. It just gives it an overall better shape.

Then wrap the fabric and pull it tight, stapling on the underside. I forgot to take a photo of this step, but you know how it goes!!

Then I lined the bottom of the board with the bottom strip of piping that I made and stapled that to the edges. Again, you can feel free to skip this step if you aren't into sewing or piping. After all that, here is what I had:

If you are doing piping, this is how I start and end mine:

And here is a closer look at the side with the piping on the bottom:

Next it's time to tuft. First I had to cover the buttons:

Then I measured out where the buttons go and marked them with pins

Next I used long upholstery needles and a thick quilting thread doubled over to attach the buttons. 

To attach the thread in the back I just stapled it in and then bent it in the opposite direction a few times with more staples. Those suckers aren't going anywhere!

Before I put the staple gun away, I took some broadcloth and cut it about 1" larger on all sides than the bottom of the bench. Then I stapled it on to cover all of the ugliness

You can screw on the feet brackets right over the fabric:

Screw on the legs (which I previously stained), flip it over, and voila!!! (Don't mind the messy craft room!)

I can see where my seams were a bit off when I sewed the cover, but that's ok. Once it's in the room with everything else it's going tog look AH-MAZE-INGGG!!!  I'll update this with a much better photo as soon as we get everything organized and staged in the new downstairs master bedroom. =)

I also recovered my upholstered headboard to match!

How to recover an upholstered headboard

I bought a king size upholstered headboard on Cragislist for $50 years ago. It was tan and kind of boring. I've wanted to recover it for ages but couldn't commit to what color - until today!

Here it was - boring tan. Almost the same color as the walls - so it vanished.

And here it is now! A beautiful charcoal gray.

This was a SUPER easy process since this was already an upholstered and tufted headboard. I started by taking the legs off, and then taking the felt-like covering off the back - I just ripped it off. This exposed the wooden back of the headboard.

Then I cut off the old buttons.

Because this is a king sized headboard, my craft room was almost too small to work in! So I spread my fabric out on the kitchen floor and plopped the headboard down on top of it. Pull tight and staple around the edges - it's that easy!!

Now it was time to tuft. I bought button blanks and wrapped them in matching fabric. It took three packs of 4 to get all 10 buttons covered. Each pack was about $2 at Walmart in the craft section.

With tufting I use a super long upholstery needle and thin string or really thick thread.I had the headboard sitting on it's side with the button side facing me. I wanted this really tufted, so once I got the needle and thread through, I pushed the button in as far as I could with my knee and tied the string really tight in the back. I usually use large washers or other buttons on the back side to keep the string from sucking back through the hole. (When I removed the old buttons they had these little metal pieces they used, so I just reused them this time. Washers are cheap and work great - just be sure to get washers bigger then your holes!)

To make sure they were extra secure I tried the string in three knots. Then I bent the string back and forth between some staples to make sure it cannot come undone. Voila! TUFTS!!

I decided not to put fabric over the back to hide the ugly. It's always going to be against a wall, so no one will EVER see it. No sense in worrying about it.

Reattach the legs and it's done. Super quick and easy! Here it is all done in our current master bedroom. I'll post a new "after" photo once we move the master bedroom downstairs into the basement bedroom and get it all set up!