Upholstered Bench Project

IT’S FINALLY COMPLETE!!

After 9 months of waiting/planning + 5 hours of hard work I have finally transformed this $10 coffee table to an upholstered bench!

For this project I used:

  • Coffee table (20″ x 40″)
  • Foam
  • Batting (I used 108″x90″)
  • Buttons and button kit
  • 2 1/4 yards of fabric
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Fishing wire
  • Spray adhesive
  • Upholstery needle
  • Nails
  • Hot glue gun

Prep:

The coffee table started out as a caramel brown so I stained the legs a deep espresso. I suggest waiting 24-48 hours after painting to allow the legs to funny dry. I also drilled holes for tufting. I planned to do four, which thankfully worked out perfectly. (I don’t have a drill so I used a fatter nail and hit it through to create a hole large enough for the upholstery needle.) I removed the legs of the table to make the stapling process easier. (I wish I had left them in place the fabric turned out so thick along with the batting that I now have to re-set the legs with longer, tougher screws. Which unfortunately I can’t do until my dad is in town to help, later this month.)

Fun Fact: I locked my self out of the house on my way out to rent a drill (long story short some of the screws were old and striped) and with my roommate in another state for a friends wedding I had to wait outside for about an hour for a locksmith. Did I mention it was the hottest day of the year (so far). My luck. [See I should have just left the stupid legs on and worked around them!]

STEP 1: Foam & Batting

I used 108″ x 80″ of batting for this project (a lot I know, but so worth it). I wanted to make sure the result didn’t  feel anything like a coffee table. I caught a great sale at Joanne’s and only paid $11.98 for all the batting. Woohoo!

I sandwiched the foam between the two layers of batting. I used spray adhesive on the top of the table to help hold the batting in place and then again on the batting to help hold the foam, while I played with the top layer of batting. The adhesive didn’t really hold, but it helped keep the foam and batting from sliding off the table while I tugged the top layer around the edge.

I added even more batting to the corners as I worked my way around the bench. I have a tendency to hit my shins on corners. :|

STEP 2: Tufting Prep

I read in a similar blog posting that the girl wished she dug out a little foam to allow a deeper tuft. So I pushed the needle up from the bottom cut out some of the foam. I marked the hole with a yellow paint pen and quickly realized there was no need :( but it did create a nice looking tuft! (below)

STEP 3: Layout the Fabric

I laid the fabric out and realized I may have over bought :\ (no worries I have plans for it) so I cut a generous amount to make sure I’d have plenty to reach around. Luckily I caught the pattern in the fabric and worked  to make sure it ran parallel to the edge of the bench (otherwise it would have turned out looking crooked thank God I thought of it before I stared stapling).

STEP 4: Buttons

I used a button making kit to make these, but the fabric was too thick to work normally so I used hot glue gun. (Thank you random google search result!) I put hot glue on the inside of the button, folded the fabric down and held it until it dried. Once it dried I put hot glue on the fabric and placed the back of the button on. I kept pressure on the back for around 30-45 seconds to make sure it dried correctly and stayed! It worked — thank goodness!

STEP 5: Tufting

Since I took off the legs I placed the table top over a basket so I could get under to push the needle up through the fabric. The thickness of the fabric made it hard to pull the fishing wire through so I had to cut a small hole in the fabric to pull it through. I tied the fishing wire to a nail to help me pull the button tighter and staple the wire to the top of the table. Hint: hammer the staples down to keep the wire from moving. (Not pretty but it did the job!) Note: I made sure to pull the fabric extra tight before working on the second set of buttons to keep the middle from looking wrinkled later.

STEP 6: The finale!

I stapled the fabric on to the table. The corners took some time, but I folded them to create a military sheet fold. The fabric was a bit thick on the edges so I used small nails to help keep the fabric in place.

And…

TA-DA! It is finished.

I skipped the re-attaching the legs step because I had a tiny issue — since I chose an upholstery fabric (thick and durable) I had trouble re-attaching the legs, so they are on there superficially. I plan to re-address this issue with my dad when he comes in town later this month. I plan to add longer screws to pull the legs in tighter – fingers crossed it works.

And that’s it!

It feels great to finish this project  (well almost) and to do it 100% on my own! I hope this gives some much-needed reference for anyone other DIY-er’s thinking about doing a similar project. I know it looks like a big job and while it was tedious and a bit time-consuming.. it was worth it!

I still feel a bit exhausted from this project so if I skipped a step or if something seems unclear please feel free to leave any questions in the comments box below or email me at lifebyemily@gmail.com.

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