If you have a bench seat or a chest with a flat wooden top, you can easily convert it into a padded bench seat with a few materials and tools. The advantage of customising it yourself is that you can decide what colour you want, how thick you want the padding, and what kind of material you want to use. It is a good way to make a comfortable seating area in a small room without taking up too much floor space.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Staple gun
- Staples (1/2 inch)
- Fabric and upholstery protector
- Decorative fabric nails
Measure the bench seat by taking the measurement of both sides. Add 12 inches to both sides to allow space for going under the bench and for stretching over the batting. Use this measurement when you are buying your material. Remember that most fabric is sold by the yard and is 45 inches in width. Buy about 6 inches of batting that is as wide and as long as your bench.
Turn the seat over so that you are looking at the bottom of the bench. Lay the fabric so that one edge of the top of the fabric is sitting over the long edge of the bench with the majority of the fabric. You should see the side of the fabric that you want to be showing, not the underside. Staple it to the bench every 1/2 inch.
Turn the bench over and place the batting on top of the bench. Holding it in place so that it does not slide from side to side, wrap the cloth up and over the top of the bench and under the opposite side. You do not want the batting to slip and come between the side of the bench and the fabric or you will have a lumpy edge. Pull it snug, but not too tight. Staple it underneath the bench, again, every 1/2 inch.
Flip the bench over again so you can see the bottom. You should have two rows of staples on either of the long sides. Pull the fabric over the short sides with the same tension, and staple it down every 1/2 inch. When you come to the corners, tuck under the extra fabric neatly, and staple it down. Look at the complete job and see if there are any extra staples needed to keep the material evenly tight, and apply them.
Use the fabric and upholstery protector according to the directions on the container. Allow your bench to dry for 24 hours before using. Apply any decorative fabric nails around the perimeter if desired. You now have a handsome and comfortable padded bench seat.
Tips and warnings
- Make sure you staple a few inches in from the outside edge.
- The more durable the fabric, the longer generally the seat will last. If you buy a woven product, make sure the grain is going in a straight pattern and not diagonal. Cotton and natural fibres tend to hold their shape a little longer than synthetic fabrics that can stretch and look lumpy after a time.
- Wear eye protection when using the staple gun.
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