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:
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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: http://www.engineeryourspace.com/how-to-build-a-bench-for-a-banquette/
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