Making an Upholstered Bench – in progress

I wanted to show you something I’ve been working on, and unfortunately have run out of energy at the moment to complete it.  Maybe next weekend?

I’ve been working at turning this headboard into a bench.

Twin Bed Guest Room

Twin Bed Guest Room

I felt that the fabric was too modern when paired directly against the antique bed spread.  I like both of these fabrics independently, and want to keep both in the room.  The gray on the walls is a more modern tone, which goes great with the Ikea fabric, but I wanted to tone down the room some too and introduce some softer, older elements.  The bed spread quilt has colors in it that are all found in the Ikea fabric, and I love the large, graphic design.  I am hoping to soon have my childhood bed, which was originally my grandfather’s.  It should look good with the quilt.

At first, I thought it was going to be an easy project and just add some legs.  Well, that part was really easy, but it doesn’t look quite right.  It’s not stable either, so I definitely need to bolster the legs.  Here’s Peanut checking it out.  She wouldn’t even jump on top of it.

Peanut Says "It's Not Done"

Peanut Says "It's Not Done"

So to add to it, to make it appear more in balance and to actually be stable, I’m going to buy a few pieces of lumber cut to size, and basically make an apron secured to the legs.  I’ll probably add an extra brace between the shorter distances towards the bottom as well.

So far, to get to this point, first I made the top.  You can read my tutorial for making the headboard here.

The materials list is:

-1 piece of plywood cut to size –  I used the left over piece from the king sized headboard they cut for me at home depot.  The dimensions are 48″ wide by 20″ tall.

-Foam – I like the feeling and depth of 2″ foam.

-Spray Adhesive – to attach the foam to the plywood.

-Batting – for this project, I bought one yard of batting.

-Fabric – Apx. 1 yard.  (If you buy a pattern, be wary of which direction you want the fabric to go and how much you’ll need).

-Staples and Staple gun.

-4 Heavy duty plates with screws

-4  (15″) Legs (depending on how high or low you’d like it)

-Stain or Paint

-gloves if using stain

-Paint brush or foam brush for paint/stain

-Clean rags for stain

-Lumber for apron 2 pieces 34 1/2″ long by 3″ wide, 1″ depth, 2 pieces 14 1/2″ long by 3″ wide, 1″ depth.

-Lumber for leg support, 2 14 1/2″ long by 1″ or 2″ square.

-Screwdriver and screws

-Wood glue

I decided to stain the legs black.  I thought about paint, but I wanted to try this stain and seal all in one by Minwax.  I originally bought it to try out on my cheese boxes.  That project was a fail, but I had plenty left over for this project!



To compliment the modern fabric, I went with a modern parson leg.  Each leg and plate together was under $7.

Unstained Legs

Unstained Legs

And about 5 minutes later…

Stained Legs

Stained Legs

This stain was incredibly easy to use.  You brush it on, wipe it off.  Done.  I would only say, be careful of what you are choosing to stain.  It’s best to probably hit your wood with a very light sand, or clean them well and let them dry thoroughly before painting/staining.

Heavy Duty Top Plate and leg

Heavy Duty Top Plate and leg

I realize that I probably came at this project completely backwards.   Oh well, I’ll do the best I can.

This picture explains the anatomy of the top:

Anatomy of an upholstered top

Anatomy of an upholstered top

After upholstering the top, I added the heavy duty plates to the underside, measuring about 1″ in on either side.  Screw into place.

Screw plate down

Screw plate down

I was disappointed that these did not hug the legs as tightly as I wanted them to.  At first, the legs felt very sturdy.  But within minutes, you could tell they weren’t.  Some don’t want to thread right, some felt like they just kept spinning in place.  Another reason to bolster the legs with supports.

Attach Legs

Attach Legs

Aaaaaaand that’s where I am.  I have my measurements, and just need to get to home depot.  I could do it this week…or I might not.  To tell you the truth, sometimes I’m just too tired.  I work full time, and commute about 2 hours (total) a day.  By the time I get home, most of the time I feel like just curling up on the couch with my laptop, or a book.  Sometimes, I just want to watch some HGTV.  Does anyone else feel like that?

I’ll let you know as soon as I’ve finished this project, but please don’t hold your breath.  :)



Spray Painted Wicker Furniture

Detail of Chair back

Chair Detail


This was a fairly quick and easy project.  I got these vintage wicker and rattan pieces from the studio where I work.  Someone abandoned them years ago, and I managed to fit them into my car to take them to their new home, my front porch.  Having virtually no money to spend on proper furniture, I welcomed anything that was cute, quirky, and best of all FREE.

Wicker chair before being painted.

Wicker chair before being painted.

Years of accumulated grime had to be removed first, and I brushed them off very well, before giving them a real light wipe off wtih a slightly damp cloth.  Giving them a few minutes to dry, I then spray painted them bright pink.  I chose spray paint for this projects because of all the tiny crevices and hard to reach angles.  Spray paint was able to get into every nook and cranny.  After drying, I arranged them on the front porch.  I planted some complimentary flowers in the bed, and voila.  Instant cute.

Wicker chair after being painted

Wicker chair after being painted.

View of the painted furniture on the front porch.

Painted wicker and rattan furniture on the front porch.

Sadly, because these pieces are vintage, I don’t feel comfortable sitting on them.  I can put my weight on them, but they groan a bit.  They are delicate and until I can afford cute furniture that I can actually sit on, I’m happy for them to live on my porch.  Update:  two years later, still there, but I have different and prettier flowers.

View of the painted furniture on the front porch in Spring of 2011.

Front Porch Spring 2011

*Second Update* I can hardly believe it’s been three years since I wrote this- my first post! The chair and settee successfully moved with us to Richmond and have been living outside permanently since. They have a nice home on the lower deck, but some planters, nicely shaded by the upper deck and some shrubs.


Linking up to these parties:  Remodelaholic