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Thursday, February 21, 2013

DIY Tufted Bench

Still in the throws of working on our master, we've been searching for a bench to go at the foot of our king size bed that was sizable but didnt cost a king size ransom. The cheapest we could find @ 4ft long with the look we wanted was $400-600, for just a bench that is pushing it and hey, we're kinda good at this stuff soooo, out come the tools!

Time: 4-6 hours (not including drying time)
Cost: $75-$120 depending on the parts chosen
Difficulty: Mid-level

Tools Needed:
Power miter or circular saw

Materials Needed:

The Legs:
  • These can be purchased ready made for anywhere from $10-$20 EACH  or
  • (2) 2x2x36" Poplar/Oak strips for about $5 each which will make two 18" legs per.
If you have decided to make your legs, you can either leave them in a shaker/craftsman style which will retain the square shape of the wood, or you can go for a more professional tapered look which will require a bit more planning easiest completed with a power miter or circular saw.

To begin you will need 4 pieces of 2x2 wood each 18" long. We went with the Poplar 36" 2x2

Mark a measurement of 1/4" from the left edge

Line the mark up with your blade

Pressing the wood up against the miter fence, tilt the unmarked end it 3-4 degrees so that it is slanted to the RIGHT

Cut the wood and smile at your first taper cut

Now flip the wood one quarter turn to the right, mark a measurement of 1/4" from the left edge, pressing the wood up against the miter fence, tilt the unmarked end it 3-4 degrees so that it is slanted to the RIGHT, and cut.

This means each leg will have a taper on 2 touching sides. Repeat for the next 3 legs.

The Seat:

2'x4'  - 3/8" plywood
(2) 1"x4"x8' pine or plywood strips
(2) 1"x2"x8' high quality pine/poplar/oak
(1) Screen Molding
(3) 1"x4"x8' pine lattice
Wood Filler/150 grit sandpaper or Kreg Jig to hide your screw joints

We like the dimensions of 48" long and 16" deep for the seating surface.. Cut your plywood to those dimensions, and then trim the outside border of the plywood with your 1"x4"

When your legs are positioned in the box, the two tapered edges will face the outsides of the corner.

Clamp two of the legs to the box and measure the exact width in between the two at about 5" from the top.

Glue your Screen Molding to the 1x2 , exactly 1/4" from one edge, and cut both to the size that was between the two longest side legs. This should provide two lateral supports that span from leg to leg.

Do the same with the shorter span side legs.

A good height for the lower shelf is about 5". Mark that position on each leg on each side that a support will be attached and attach clamps at that height.

Glue, tack brad nail and then recessed screw the supports to the legs on all for sides.

Very gently, flip over and feel accomplished :)

Remove the seat, and start applying support for the structure. Since we cannot judge the sturdiness of your handy work, we can only suggest where to put additional support. This is a good example of a solid frame once glued & screwed together.

Keep adding support until your frame only wiggles a slight amount.

Now  we need to fill any screw/nail holes with wood filler and sand.

Measure the width between your long side supports for the lattice inserts on the bottom shelf. We suggest you take multiple measurements across the entire span, ours fluctuated about 3/16" of an inch from the ends to the middle.

Cut your lattice and test placement, when satisfied glue down each one with a small drop.

Buy your preferred stain color, stain the frame and set aside to dry

The Cushion:

spray glue
2" foam
quilt batting
upholstery buttons 3/4" (create your own)
fabric (2 yds.)

drill with 3/8" bit
elongated box cutter/utility knife
jewelery wire 20-gauge 

flat head screwdriver

3/4" wood screws
staple gun

There are many tufted tutorials on the net, we've tweaked a few to come up with this solution, so whichever one you follow should get you to the same point.

We found this foam & batting at Walmart, it cost $15 total. The foam is (4) 16x16 panels and since 16x3=48" (the width of our bench) it was a perfect match, with no cutting required.

 Spray glue 2 layers of the foam

The next step is to mark out your diamond pattern on the foam. Spacing of 8-1/2" between each dot in a row seemed to work the best, The diagonal measurement from row to row is 6".

Now for some not so fun parts.

You will need to clear about a 1/2" hole for each of your tuft locations. We did this by using the utility knife and stabbing down into the foam and scraping the blade against the wood surface, trying to carve out a square. You can then use your fingers to pull out the foam from your hole, even pushing it out of the way deep in the hole will work fine as well. It will need to be clear because the foam will get tangled in your drill bit very easily.

 Bottom view after drilling holes

Now, take your 3/4" wood screws and attach one close to each hole drilled, leave it sticking up about 1/4", the location isnt important. This will give the wire holding your buttons something to grab on to.

Cover with your batting, making sure that you have at least 6 inches of overhang on each side

Staple your batting and poke holes through with your finger or screwdriver at the button locations

We have a chocolate/slate blue theme in our master so we went with a muted blue chenille fabric from Joann's

Make your buttons, the plastic needles shown ended up not being needed.

Clip about 12" of wire, thread a button and move the button to the middle of the wire and fold in half, lightly twist the free ends of the wire so that they make as thin of a point as possible so that they will not catch the foam upon entry...repeat for as many buttons as you need.

Flip the bench on its side so the bottom is facing you. Take your flat head screwdriver and gently poke it through the center hole, just so that you see a peak in the fabric. Take your scissors and snip at the tip of the screwdriver making a hole of about 1/8"

Take one of your button/wire combos and poke it through the hole in the fabric, you may need to use your other hand to coax the wire tip all the way through the foam hole and plywood and once it comes out the other side, pull it firmly to the depth of tufting you like and wrap the wire around the screw head nearest to the hole.

...repeat for all of your holes, circling out from the center.

Place on frame and attach.

Now staple your fabric to the undersides one small section at a time, making sure youre happy with how it looks on top. The hardest part here was making the corner pleats neat, just take your time.

It took about 90 min to staple and fold and tuck and staple and fold and tuck...