Introduction: DIY Bench for a Banquette

About: Part MacGyver, part Martha, creator, host and producer of Engineer Your Space, an award winning DIY home design show dedicated to clever, affordable and stylish solutions for common challenges faced by renters…

I needed a simple bench for banquette seating in my dining room and I couldn't find one that would work with my dining room table so I thought it would be fun to make one out of 3/4" MDF. I had all my pieces cut at the hardware store so all I had to do was put the pieces together.

I used 1 x 4'x8' sheet of 3/4" MDF because I needed the rest of the MDF for another project but you can fit the pieces for the bench in 2 x 2'x4' sheets ($25) and the lattice was about $5 so that's $30 for the materials. I already had the primer, paint, and screws on hand.

I'll outline the main steps here but you can also see the entire building process in detail in this video:

Step 1: Attach the Legs to the Top

I put glue on the top edge of the leg and used corner clamps to hold it to the top. I drilled pilot holes to prevent splitting and screwed the pieces together, sinking the screw heads below the surface.

Step 2: Screwing in Place the Back Piece

I screwed in place the back piece flush with the top and the legs, following the same steps as for the legs.

Step 3: Attach the Front Piece

To have more support at the front of the bench, I glued together 2 MDF pieces to make one thicker piece, using clamps to make sure they bonded very well together. I wanted the front piece to be recessed by about 1 inch so I used a combination square to mark the location of the front piece on the inside of the legs, making it easy to slide front piece in the right spot. I added glue to the edge and clamped it. I screwed it into place from the top and the side, making sure to avoid the screw that was already there from joining the top to the legs.

Step 4: Add Decorative Molding

To give a little bit more interest to the sides of the bench, I added decorative molding made with 1 1/4" lattice. I used a combination square to mark the location of the top piece of lattice, and I also marked the middle of the lattice piece, making it easy to nail exactly in the right spot. I pre-nailed the nails into the lattice to save my fingers!

Step 5: Prep the Bench for Painting

I filled in the screw heads with wood filler and sanded that down. To give a nice finish to the edges, I brushed them with wood glue diluted with a bit of water, waited for that to dry and sanded it down. I repeated that a couple of times until the edges were nice and smooth. This prevents the paint from getting sucked into the edges and leaves a nice smooth surface for painting.

Step 6: Painting

I primed the bench and then painted it with a couple of coats of paint and voila, a finished bench! I wanted the bench to be more comfy to sit on so I made a no-sew cushion - you can see how I made it in this video:

And you can get a complete list of materials, tools and supplies you need to make the cushion here:

Step 7:

Woodworking Contest

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Woodworking Contest