DIY Church Pews

Written by colleen meheen
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DIY Church Pews
Creating a church pew can be a satisfying project. (view of church. exterior of church image by L. Shat from

A church pew is the standard seating arrangement in the traditional church setting, but has also found favour with designers for a unique touch in home decor. Pews are strong, stable pieces of furniture, meant to hold the bodies of multiple believers congregating together in the house of the Lord. Designing your own pew can be a straightforward project that uses basic tools and supplies. You can use the custom pew you build in either a traditional setting or an avant-garde decor.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Two 1-by-20-by-34-inch boards
  • One 1-inch-by-4-inch-by-4-foot board
  • One 1-inch-by-2-inch-by-4-foot board
  • Two 1-inch-by-4-inch-by-10-foot boards
  • One 1-inch-by-2-inch-by-5-foot board
  • Two 1-inch-by-3-inch-by-10-foot boards
  • Measuring tape
  • Marking pencil
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Wood screws
  • Wood glue
  • Finishing nails
  • Electric sander
  • 130 grit, 220 grit sandpaper
  • Stain
  • Application brush

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  1. 1

    Measure out the long side of the 20-by-34-inch board, 2 inches from the top left corner and mark the board with a clear indicating mark. Measure from the bottom left side of the board 15 inches from the bottom, then 5 inches from the left edge. Create connecting lines with a bright marker or charcoal pencil.

  2. 2

    Execute the same measures on the right side of the long, 20-by-34-inch board in reverse. Cut the board, using a saw, on all the measured lines.

  3. 3

    Lay out your 4-inch-by-4-foot board. Cut out a cross support at 4 inches by 3 feet. Lay out your 2-inch- by-4-foot board, then cut a 2-inch-by-3-foot segment of wood for the lower back support.

  4. 4

    Cut the four main seats from your two 4-inch-by-10-foot boards. Cut one 2-inch-by-4-foot back seat from the 2-inch-by-5-foot board. Use your 3-inch-by-10-foot board to cut the four boards for the pew backs. Saw four 3-inch-by-4-foot pieces.

  5. 5

    Lay the main, wide board piece facing up. Orient the cross supports 1 foot above the lower section and 1 foot in from the frame back. Place these pieces in between the L-shaped frame ends from step one. Secure these framing pieces with wood glue. Screw in wood screws to secure the support to each end. The lower back brace should rest 1 inch above the floor, 2 inches in from the back. Connect the mainframe end with screws and glue the brace to secure the pew structure.

  6. 6

    Place the seat and back on the mainframe. Lay the seat piece so the 2-inch side faces front and is oriented in the farthest seat corner. Attach the seat with glue and finishing screws. Apply the seat backs by placing the 4-inch-by-4-foot boards on the frame ends. Once these are in place, use wood glue and proper nails and screws to support.

  7. 7

    Secure the 3-inch-by-4-foot bottom back board, 6 inches from the back seat. Glue the pieces, then screw them together for adequate support. Add the three remaining boards directly above the last board you recently glued. The last back support board should rest above the main body of the pew by 1 inch.

  8. 8

    Attach a medium- to heavy-grit sandpaper to an electric sander. A 130-grit up to a 220-grit sandpaper will work to smooth the surface of the pew. Apply the sandpaper with a consistent, circular motion until all the rough spots are gone and the pew is smooth.

  9. 9

    Apply a stain finish, depending on the use of your pews. For traditional church settings, consider a dark, cherry finish. For in-home use, choose a colour that fits with the decor of your current cabinets and furnishings. Apply as directed on the label.

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