Refinishing a Bench and How to Make a No-sew Tufted Cushion

About: There is nothing I love more then making something new and usable again that someone else would have thrown out or torn down!

Intro: Refinishing a Bench and How to Make a No-sew Tufted Cushion

My grandparents’ built this bench YEARS ago along with two others that I have. This one has taken the biggest beating over the years and has needed to be fixed and refinished for awhile now. Every month the group I’m a part of (the Farmhouse Hens Decorate) has a theme. This month’s theme turned out to be for benches so I knew exactly the piece I would be using!

Those bite marks are actually from my dog Diesel lol

So I started by cleaning it really well with vinegar and water before assessing the damage.

I knew I needed to at least get the top coat of poly off so I first hit every surface with fine grit sandpaper using my orbital palm sander. I planned on staining it the same color it already was so I didn’t take it all the way back to naked wood.

With stain-able wood filler I carefully filled in the holes and any other imperfections I could find. (Yes, filling those chew marks in made me kind of sad. Diesel’s been gone for over two years now and I still miss him.)

A little more sanding to smooth out the wood filler and than I stained the bench in Dark Walnut (by Minwax) by generously brushing the stain on, waiting twenty minutes, and then wiping it off with a towel. I put a coat of satin poly acrylic over my stain and my bench looked almost like new!

Step 1: Making the Cushion

I’ve had it in my head for awhile now that I wanted a cushion here because I sit on it almost every day to put my shoes on! The thing is though – I don’t have a sewing machine and I am incredibly not a seamstress SO I decided to figure out how to make a cushion lacking all sewing ability whatsoever.

First, I cut a piece of plywood three inches smaller than the lid of the bench. (Years ago I had a sleep number bed that died and left me with mounds of batting, foam and lots and lots of cushiony stuff. This is AT LEAST the third time I’m glad I kept it all! Batting is expensive!)

I drilled six holes in the top of the plywood (evenly spaced) for the buttons.

(My Grandma left behind a lifetime’s worth of buttons so I went through them and pulled out the six biggest ones that would work best here – I made no effort to make sure that they matched lol I liked it random.)

I cut the batting to the size of the seat so its wider than the plywood by about an inch and a half all the way around. I then poked up through each of the holes and cut the batting out around them so my buttons would really SINK. I secured my buttons with cotton kitchen twine by pulling them tight to really create my tufts and then stapling the twine to the back. With the buttons complete I secured the fabric with staples along the underside edge of the plywood all the way around.

Step 2: Completion and Use

Tah-dah! I love my new cushion and it was SO easy to make!

Next month I’m going to be tackling this bench again by adding paint and a stencil to the front of it, can’t wait to show you guys how the second stage of its makeover turns out!



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