Introduction: How to Make a Fun Toddler Bench Seat

About: I enjoy repurposing and restoring old furniture and making woodwork projects that are not seen every day. I make most of my projects using wood that is either, recycled,reclaimed and love to repurpose and rest…

I have just made a toddlers craft table so I needed a bench to go with it. I wanted to try something a bit more exciting but still simple enough to finish in a few hours. I also wanted it to be fun and cute, so I went for a Zebra design just because I had the right color paint in my shed.

Step 1: Get Your Image

I bought this projector to watch movies on holiday, you can sync it to your mobile phone, USB, and memory card and worked great to enlarge my pictures onto the wall.

Step 2: Select the Size You Want

I found the picture I wanted on the internet and used free lunapic software to mirror the image. You need your image to be able to face both ways. And a little tip. Do both at the same time so they are the same size. I used a large sheet of brown paper and taped it to the wall and enlarged the image until I got the size I wanted. Mine was 63 Cm. Use an image that has all the feet on the floor so your bench will be stable.

Step 3: Draw Your Outlines

I used a sharpie to go over the outlines and the details of the zebra. I have no talent when it comes to drawing so I needed to copy all the details to transfer over later.

Step 4:

I cut out the image and taped it to my board. I used an off cut of form ply that I got from a construction site. It is very strong and suitable for this project.

Step 5: Cut Out the Image

I used a jigsaw and cut around the outlines. I noticed straight away that the wood was splintering.

Step 6: Stop the Splintering

I used masking tape around the outlines to stop it from doing that.

Step 7: Sand All the Edges Smooth

Once both were cut out I removed all the tape and used an orbital sander to smooth off all the edges.

Step 8: Cut Out the Seat and Backrest

To make the bench and back support. I cut 1 x 100cm x 25cm for the bottom and for the backrest 1 x 100cm x 15cm.

Step 9: Remove the Sharp Edges

Because the bench is for a toddler I removed all the sharp edges with a router and sanded them smooth. I did the same for the backrest.

Step 10: Cut Feet Flat

I clamped the two side pieces together and this was when I realised that mine were slightly out. I did one first and then packed my projector set up away and did the second later. So the projector had been moved. (So do both at the same time). I marked a line where I wanted the seat to go. And while both were clamped together I clamped them to a piece of straight edge wood and used the table saw to flatten the feet so it would be more stable.

Step 11: Add Supports

Because I was making this up as I went along I had to find a way to add the bench seat and backrest and still look cute. I cut some support blocks to hold the seat and backrest. I did not have any thick wood, so I cut 4 strips of ply. The first one was 25cm which is the width of the bench and I made the second one 18cm. They can both be the same I just did not have any left. The first one was glued and screwed into the inside of the side panel below the line I marked out. And then the second screwed into the first.

Step 12: Counter Sink Holes

I pre-drilled the holes in the bench and back rest and counter sunk the holes.

Step 13: Level Bench

I checked the seat was level, using a spirit level.

Step 14: Level Backrest Supports

For the backrest. I levelled the support block and screwed it into the inside of the side Zebras

Step 15:

I clamped the back rest into place to make sure it was all level and looked how I wanted it to look.

Step 16:

Because of the shape of the bench, the back support needed to be higher. So choose your picture carefully. I then stripped it down into the 4 pieces so it would be quicker to paint .

Step 17: Paint Project

I painted the whole bench in 2 coats of white chalk paint.

Step 18: Transfer Image Details

I taped a few sheets of carbon paper together to get a piece large enough to fit under my cardboard image.

Step 19: Transfer Image

I used a pen to go over the lines to get the guide outlines on my white paint.

Step 20: Paint Your Project

This was the lines all transferred which made it easier for me to paint them. I used cheap acrylic craft paint to paint the rest. I was going to use unicorn spit but felt it was a waste. ( So ignore them in the image) I sealed the whole bench with 3 coats of water based clear varnish to make more durable.

Once my project was dry I glued and screwed all the pieces back together. And Ta- Da finished !!!

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