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Thursday, September 6, 2012

How to Build a Simple Bench

      Last week I showed you our entry way updates including the bench I made with my dad. My dad is such an amazing carpenter {in his spare time!} and I went to him for a lesson!

     Today I want to show you how simple it really is to build something like this. DO NOT be intimidated! This really wasn't hard!

1)     The first step was to conceptualize what you want your bench to look like. Start by determining what you want your bench to do. {Just a place to sit? Does it need to provide storage? Is it functional, or just for looks?} Scour pictures online to get some ideas.

     For our family I wanted a place to sit and take boots or shoes off, a place to store some baskets later for  hats & mittens, and something that wasn't visually weighty.

2)     Once you have an idea of what you want its time to take some measurements. I started by measuring the space it was going to go. I knew I didn't want it to be as wide as the hutch next to it or so long it interfered with entering traffic. {My bench is 18" high, 15" deep, and 41" long} With these measurements and your sketch of what you want the design to be you can purchase your wood. Pine is probably the most inexpensive and readily available at a Home improvement store. I used white cedar for most of this bench because my dad brought some home from my grandparents property in Maine. {Gramp had it chopped down on his property and planed~I love that this little bench already has a story!} We did use one piece of pine for the bottom board because we were a little short.

3)     With our concept and our wood we began cutting our pieces. I didn't take pictures every step of the way because I was in this for the learning and not necessarily a step by step. These principles however could be easily followed to make your own bench.

You can see by the picture above that this is a very simple concept. Each joint was first glued with wood glue then screwed in place. We used a square to make sure that the bench was true along the way.

     Under the center we added a piece just to help provide support. Below you can see how the legs and cross piece were put together.

      Here's the completed bench, ready for paint or stain. {Minus the pine bottom piece I had to purchase later}

     I decided that I wanted to do a combination of paint and stain on this bench. I had finished painting my hutch not too long ago and it sits next to the hutch. I didn't want it exactly the same as the hutch so I decided to stain the top and paint the bottom.

     This is the stain after the first coat. That wood was so thirsty it just drank the stain up! It only took two coats plus a coat of poly.

     Here's a little secret! I tried out two colors on the bottom to see what I liked more. I went with the left stain because it matched the floor better. I also let the kids carve their names in the bottom too~just for fun!

     One lesson I learned was that you can't put a water based stain on top of an oil based one but you can put an oil based stain on top of a water based one! After the staining I primed and painted the base, and then it was time to whip us some cute pillows!

     To protect the floor and my new bench I added these felt pads I found to the basket and on the feet of the bench which were found at my local grocery store.

     Thank you dad for the great lesson and a place to land when we get home!

Thanks for stopping by!

I'm sharing this here:
tatertots and jello
Too much time
Between naps on the porch
Skip to my Lou
My Uncommon slice of Suburbia
Not Just a Housewife
DIY by Design
At the Picket Fence
The Shabby Creek Cottage


  1. Christine Vande GuchteSeptember 6, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    It is a high possibility that I could end up with a bench like this...been needing something just like that. And I will put my dad to work on it, as well. ;) Looks great!

  2. You are so lucky to have such a super talented Dad. The bench looks great.

  3. What a beautiful bench. I am so impressed. Thanks for sharing at DIYbyDesign.


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