Introduction: Recycling Scraps to Make Outdoor Furniture

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…

Sometimes you build things and they just don’t work out. I had made a custom storage bench for my balcony that was supposed to also double as a lounging spot, but it proved to be not very comfortable as seating and also very cumbersome to access the storage. So I decided to take it all apart and see what I could make out of the scraps.

Step 1: Taking Apart the Bench and Taking Inventory of the Materials

I took inventory of all the pieces of wood to see what I could make - I had 1” x 6”, 2” x 3”, and a few 1” x 2” boards and my goal was to only use these scraps to build new furniture and do minimal cutting. After doing a lot of measuring, I figured I had enough wood to make one bench, one chair, and one small table. I reused all the screws from the previous build as well (2 ½” and 1 ¼” exterior screws).

Step 2: The Bench

I started with the bench. For the seat of the bench, I reused the door part of the original bench and one of the 2” x 3” frames. I built out the frame by adding 2” x 3” along the long sides since the bench I wanted to make was wider than the original frame. I followed the same design as this bench I had made before - you can see the instructables here (it's one of my most popular ones!) to see how to make one from scratch.

Then I attached the legs to the frame, made from 2” x 3”.

Step 3: The Table

For the table, I reused some of the 2” x 3” I had to make a frame and the legs. I did have to cut the 1” x 6” into smaller pieces for the top and the furring strips (1” x 2”).

Step 4: The Chair

I started with making the 2 legs (left and right). I used a speed square to make sure everything was square. I reused all the screws from the previous bench, in this case I used 2 ½” long screws.

Step 5: The Legs

I added a 1” x 6” board for extra sturdiness - I made it flush with the inside of the leg but it could also be flush with the outside. The trickiest part of this step was keeping the screw perfectly parallel to prevent it from popping out of the board.

Step 6: The Back

The next step was making the back. Here I used 1” x 6” boards and 2” x 3”, laid down on the long side.

I used extra long screws for this, 3 1/2” long, and again the trickiest part was keeping the screws parallel and at 90 degrees. In another version of the this chair that I made after this, I used dowels to join the boards together. You can see that project here.

Step 7: Attaching the Legs

Once all the components were built, I started putting the chair together. I layed down all the boards for the seat, and then attached the legs to the boards on either side.

Step 8: Attaching the Back

Then I flipped the base right side up and attached the back to the base on either side.

Step 9: Finishing Touches

To make things a bit nicer looking, I patched all the holes with wood filler and gave everything a new coat of white outdoor stain.

Step 10: Recycling the Cushions

I was also able to reuse the outdoor foam from the original cushion to make new cushions for the chair and the bench. I had a friend make the new cushion covers out of canvas cloth since I was going for a different look and feel for this new balcony design.

Step 11: Done!

Here's the finished furniture with the new look of the balcony.

Step 12: Video of the Entire Balcony Refresh

You can see the video of how I did it here:

Scraps Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Scraps Speed Challenge