Before & After: Well-Worn Bench to Versatile Extra Seating

This past week I received the sad news that a special and dear friend of mine passed away.

My sons affectionately called him Mr. Gene.

I worked with him for over 18 years before he “re-retired” last summer at the vibrant age of 92 to move closer to his daughter.

Before leaving Mr. Gene gave me a few items to keep in remembrance of him — an old, tattered picnic bench set among them. Both benches were worn and rickety… their smudged paint and banged up slats signs of the workhorses they had become for my friend.

And I loved every scar...

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When I brought them home my husband asked me what in the world I was going to do with them.

I had no idea.

We didn’t need the extra seating on our patio and the weather would just add further damage.

So I hosed them down, spiders and all, tightened the screws and brought them inside.

I chose not to paint them and added a cushioned seat to both.

And this is how it went…

Supplies:  2″ thick foam cushion, cotton batting, pre-washed fabric, staple gun and staples, nailhead strips, hammer, scissors, fabric marker or pencil, tape measure.

Directions:

Securing cushion with batting

1. Fold the long piece of cushion foam in half, mark it and cut it into two pieces, putting one of the cushions to the side for the second bench. Turn the bench upside and lay it on one cushion, trace around the seat with marker and cut away extra foam.

2. Lay batting on the floor, then the cushion, and the bench upside down on top of both, allowing enough batting on all four sides for stapling over the seat. Mark and cut the batting.

3. Pull the batting up over cushion and underside edge of bench. Staple once in the center on each side and smooth out wrinkles along the way. Finish by stapling all around to secure.

Adding upholstery fabric

4. Trace and cut upholstery fabric same as step 2. Allow all four sides of the bench an extra 1-1/2 inches for stapling. (I used extra corduroy fabric from my storage.)

5. At one end, staple the fabric over both the cushion and the wood seat, being careful to keep the pattern or lines straight.  Fold edges under as you staple to avoid future fraying. Turn bench over, smooth it out, pull tight and staple once in the center at the other end, then repeat next two sides. Finish by stapling around the rest of the underside to secure.

6. Carefully fold corner fabric back onto the bench ends like shown in the photo below.

7. Add nailhead strips around the bottom edge with hammer for a finished look. (Joann Fabrics had the strips, Hobby Lobby did not. The strips are much easier to keep in a straight line.)

 

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When we have guests, the dining chairs can be moved closer together and the bench pulled in closer to allow for more seating.

 

 

The matching bench is at the foot of our master bed.

It’s been great for keeping a blanket off the floor, as a place to sit and get dressed, and as a springboard for our dog!

 

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Both benches work well in our home… sweet reminders of a loyal and faithful friend.

“Loyal friends love through difficult times.” Proverbs 17:17

“Faithful friends are a rare treasure.” Proverbs 18:24

3 Comments

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