Here is my first Instructables post AND my first real project that involved carpentry work! Not bad for a girl. I built this for my bay area window for my kitchen. Great for extra dining seating and extra storage! Basically, if I can do this, YOU CAN DO THIS!!!
Step 1: Assess the Situation
Evaluate what type of look you are going for. For me, I needed extra seating in my dining area, and additional storage in my kitchen. Plus, I always wanted a bay window that I could cozy into and read a book on a rainy day. This project was perfect for all three. I also did not want to drill into any drywall, so I decided to build from the ground up so the piece can be moved if needed.
Step 2: Decide on a Shape.
I chose to follow the lines of my wall. Once you have decided on a shape that works for you, use chalk to draw the shape on to your floor. Then take measurements.
Step 3: Buy Your Lumber
Using your chalk lines as your guide, draw a sketch of your design. First, draw and measure out a base for your frame, then multiply those measurements times two for the top part of the frame. Then, place several vertical support posts that are the desired height of your bench seat. 18" was my desired height. Add three sheets of plywood and 3 sheets of MDF to your list. Make sure that each piece is large enough to cover each top section and each cover or front panel section. Do your math and head to your local lumber store. I went to Home Depot. Please forgive my drawing as I am NO architect.
Step 4: Build Your Bottom Frame
Not much planning here, but i just used a hammer-drill and went to town.
Step 5: The Top Frame
Build your top frame the same way as the bottom, then use your posts to attach the two frames.
Step 6: Cut Your Top Pieces
Place one sheet of your plywood so that it covers your section, then crawl underneath and trace the shape with a sharpie. Do this for the left, middle, and right sections individually.
Step 7: Seal It Up
Cut and attach your top and front cover pieces. I used a circular saw to cut the plywood. Obviously my measurents and lines are not perfect. But that's what the caulking stage is for at the end of the project. Lol.
Step 8: Make Your Lids
Next, I used sheets of MDF sheets to make the lids. Here are the rough drawings that I did that may help to explain. Basically, you need to cut out a shape that is 1/2" larger all the way around, that way it doesn't fall through. I went with MDF because it has a nice smooth look and it is very sturdy.
Step 9: Make the Trim Pieces.
I'm not going to lie...this part SUCKED! Linining it up horizontally and vertically was somewhat easy. Getting it to lay flat was another story. I just hot-glued the hell out of it and hoped for the best, and luckily, it worked out perfect! Lol! I used a combination of tools: jigsaw, angled circular saw (45 degree), kitchen knife, pre-drilled nails, hot glue, pure screaming determination, and maybe a few Eff-bombs.
Step 10: The Magical Caulking Stage.
This is where all the magic happens! Make sure you purchase paintable caulk. Load it it into your caulking gun (I had to refer to YouTube to know how to do this) and have an old credit card, some extra paper plates, and a whole bunch of semi wet napkins ready. I wish I had better pics of this process, but I only have two hands. Squeeze caulk into the crevices and then run your credit card along the edges to begin molding those perfect lines. And very quickly wipe up any gloppy lines with a wet nap because it does dry and harden pretty rapidly. This process was WAY easier than I anticipated. Possibly my favorite part of the whole project.
Step 11: Make Handles
I decided to go with rope handles because I already had the rope. I just drilled holes and fished the rope through with bobby pins and tied permanent knots. Eventually, I will add hinges, but for now, I just lift them out.
Step 12: The Upholstery!
Next, I raided some disposed of couches in my neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon. I actually scored several cushions for multiple projects. This is important, because these cushions would have costed $80 per square yard in a store because they are petroleum-based. I basically saved myself around $800. I had to reshape them with an electric carving knife and some spray adhesive, but it was well worth the work. Also, upholstery fabric is not cheap. So I bought two curtain panels at Ross for $14.99 and sewed the cushion covers myself. (Please excuse the adorable lazy cat in the shot).
Step 13: Then, Finally, Paint!
I just used paint from Walmart. White semi-gloss protective enamel for $8.37! I hope you like it. Like I said this was my first real DIY project (that I've completed at least). If you like it, please feel free to comment, or share, or ask me any questions!