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DIY Tufted Bench with Canvas Upholstery

We’re sharing our latest furniture upcycling project with this DIY tufted bench. Without peaking, can you guess what piece of furniture we used to build this indoor bench?

Making a DIY Bench with Tufted Buttons for Indoors

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Partnering with Canvas Etc. to share yet another DIY project using their fabric, we chose this very durable and soft 100% cotton bull denim to make a tufted bench. We previously used the same fabric for making this oversized zippered pencil case as well as this knitting needle organizer.

The absolute cool thing about this DIY bench is that we upcycled this old wooden butcher block table (an Ikea purchase) to make the bench. We reused the legs, frame as well as all the hardware to make our tufted bench!

The “Before”

Using our experience from reupholstering this mid-century chair, we were excited to give this new tufted bench project a try!

Materials:

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Finished Bench Dimensions: 48” long x 17” wide x 18.5” high

How To Make a DIY Tufted Bench:

Preparing the Bench Frame

Since we are reusing the wood from our old butcher block table, we started by dismantling it into pieces.

As we dismantled the butcher block, we separated the pieces (including the hardware) into two separate piles: one to KEEP and one to TOSS (or reuse for other projects).

For all the pieces in our “keep pile”, we used an orbital sander to sand down all the edges removing the previous black stain.

We determined the height of our bench would be 18.5″ high including the tufted seat so that meant we needed to cut the legs to 16.5″ high. Using a pencil and square, we marked the length for cutting.

For any holes visible on the wood, we added wood filler and plugs (if needed) and sanded the edges after the filler dried.


Next, we cut the pieces for the base of the bench seat. Reuseing the short ends from the butcher block table (which measures 4″high x 12″ long), we needed two new long pieces for the base to measure 4″ high x 43″ long.

We then notched the inside of the longer base pieces (to match the shorter existing frame pieces) and predrilled the holes for the screws for the existing butcher block hardware to fit into.

With all the piecees prepped, we assembled them together to form the bench frame. Voila!

Painting the Bench Frame

Paint the bench frame in any color of your choosing. We chose a durable satin enamel paint in a natural biege color.

Making the Tufted Seat

Cut a piece of ½” thick plywood to cover the bench frame, in our case it measures 17” wide x 48” long.

Determine how many tufted buttons to attach to the bench seat. Then measure and mark the placement for the tufted buttons with a pencil on to the plywood.

Drill out two holes side by side (at least 1/8″ apart) in the marked spots. Use a drill bit that is about a 1/4″ thick. I originally made two really small holes through the plywood but found it too hard to thread the needle through so I enlarged the holes with a larger drill bit.

Making Fabric Covered Buttons for Tufting

If you’re using a fabric button covering kit, follow the instructions on the packaging to cover your buttons. In our case, we are reusing fabric covered buttons from an old jacket to use for our bench. So if you want to do this method of reusing existing buttons, here is how I did it:

I started by cutting out circles in the fabric I’m using to upholster the bench. The circles need to be larger than the button so that there is enough to fold over to the back side of the button.

Using monofilament thread or a comparable strong thread, sew straight stitches around the edge of the circle using a basting stitch.

Pull on the long thread ends to cinch in the circle.

As the circle cinches, insert the button inside with eyelet side facing out.

Keep pulling on the thread to tighten the fabric cap around the button. Tie off the ends to secure. If needed add hot glue gun underneath the fabric to help hold it further.

Repeat for as many buttons that are needed.

Upholstering the bench seat

To upholster the bench seat, place the fabric, batting, foam and plywood on a flat surface in that order. Make sure the right side of the fabric is facing down.

Ensure you have at least 4” extra fabric and batting all around the plywood. Keep the center of the bench parallel with the finished edge of the fabric (selvedge). Cut the fabric to the needed size.

Take the center of the fabric along one side and fold it up and around the bench seat. Secure it in place with a staple gun.

Continue along one side until you are about 2” from the corner.

Take the opposite side and pull snugly to staple t inn place. Another set of hands if you have them is helpful here! Continue along this side until you get about 2” from the corners.

Repeat this with the other two shorter sides.

When you get to the corner, neatly pull the fabric and adjust the pleats on both sides of the corner so they look the same. Cut excess fabric at the corner and secure in place with several staples. Repeat on all four corners.

Adding the Tufting Buttons

Using a really strong thread such as a monofilament thread that won’t break when pulled, thread the eye of a long upholstery needle. I purchased these long needles for this project (the only purchase I made for this DIY!) and used the 6.8″ long needle.

I suggest to double or triple up on the thread for this step to ensure it’s really strong. Poke the threaded needle through from one of the predrilled holes from the back side pushing it all the way through to the front. Make sure you keep the needle as straight as possible so it lines up in the center of the bench.

Thread the needle through the eyelet on the back of the tufting buttons.

Using another long needle (it has to be longer than the full thickness of the bench seat, poke the needle through the other hole from the back side and push it through to the front. This will be the guide for your other needle to follow so that it passes through the correct predrilled hole.

I’ll be honest, this part is tricky! It took me a bit of time to work the needle through the right hole.

Push the thread needle down through the foam using the other needle as a guide and fish it through the second hole.

Once through, pull the needle all the way and remove the other needle.

Cut off the needle at the eye. Pulling the thread ends tightly, tie the two ends together into a secure knot.

When you flip the bench seat over, the tufted button will be in place. Repeat with the other tufting buttons until finished. There’s not as much “tufting” as I would have liked, so next time I would use a less dense piece of foam.

Finishing

Place the upholstered bench seat onto the painted frame. Turn the seat and chair upside down on the work surface and secure the seat in place with screws and metal brackets. Once done, the DIY tufted bench is complete!

More Upcycled Furniture DIY Projects:

If you love to repurpose and reuse things you already have, then you’ll love these before and after transformations. Check out these DIY furniture makeovers:

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DIY Tufted Bench with Canvas Upholstery

Jane and Sonja
We’re sharing our latest furniture upcycling project with this DIY tufted bench
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Materials
  

  • 100 % cotton bull denim in Graphite from Canvas Etc 1 yard
  • Fabric scissors
  • 4 Tufting buttons made using these buttons or reusing fabric covered buttons
  • Monofilament thread or similar durable thread
  • Staple Gun with upholstery staples
  • 2" thick Foam cut to 17″ wide x 48″ long and batting
  • Embroidery Needle or upholstery needle, at least 6” long
  • ½" thick Plywood cut to 48” long x 17” wide
  • 4 Pieces of pine blocks measuring 2.5” wide x 16.5” long
  • 2 Pieces of pine boards measuring 4” wide x 43” long
  • 2 Pieces of pine boards measuring 4” wide x 12” long
  • 1 Piece of pine board cut to fit the center support
  • Hardware for attaching frame
  • Drill and assorted drill bits
  • Screws
  • Circular saw
  • Miter Saw
  • Hand Sander
  • Paint Americana Decor Satin Enamel in biege

Instructions
 

Preparing the Bench Frame

  • Since we are reusing the wood from our old butcher block table, we started by dismantling it into pieces.
  • We determined the height of our bench would be 18.5″ high including the tufted seat so that meant we needed to cut the legs to 16.5″ high. Using a pencil and square, we marked the length for cutting.
  • For any holes visible on the wood, we added wood filler and plugs (if needed) and sanded the edges after the filler dried.
  • Next, we cut the pieces for the base of the bench seat. Reuseing the short ends from the butcher block table (which measures 4″high x 12″ long), we needed two new long pieces for the base to measure 4″ high x 43″ long.
  • We then notched the inside of the longer base pieces (to match the shorter existing frame pieces) and predrilled the holes for the screws for the existing butcher block hardware to fit into.
  • With all the piecees prepped, we assembled them together to form the bench frame.

Painting the Bench Frame

  • Paint the bench frame in any color of your choosing.

Making the Tufted Seat

  • Cut a piece of ½” thick plywood to cover the bench frame, in our case it measures 17” wide x 48” long.
  • Determine how many tufted buttons to attach to the bench seat. Then measure and mark the placement for the tufted buttons with a pencil on to the plywood.
  • Drill out two holes side by side (at least 1/8″ apart) in the marked spots.

Making Fabric Covered Buttons for Tufting

  • I started by cutting out circles in the fabric I’m using to upholster the bench. The circles need to be larger than the button so that there is enough to fold over to the back side of the button.
  • Using monofilament thread or a comparable strong thread, sew straight stitches around the edge of the circle using a basting stitch.
  • Pull on the long thread ends to cinch in the circle.
  • As the circle cinches, insert the button inside with eyelet side facing out.
  • Keep pulling on the thread to tighten the fabric cap around the button. Tie off the ends to secure. If needed add hot glue gun underneath the fabric to help hold it further.

Upholstering the bench seat

  • To upholster the bench seat, place the fabric, batting, foam and plywood on a flat surface in that order. Make sure the right side of the fabric is facing down.
  • Keep the center of the bench parallel with the finished edge of the fabric (selvedge). Cut the fabric to the needed size.
  • Take the center of the fabric along one side and fold it up and around the bench seat. Secure it in place with a staple gun.
  • Continue along one side until you are about 2” from the corner.
  • Take the opposite side and pull snugly to staple in place. Repeat this with the other two shorter sides.
  • Cut excess fabric at the corner and secure in place with several staples. Repeat on all four corners.

Adding the Tufting Buttons

  • Using a really strong thread such as a monofilament thread that won’t break when pulled, thread the eye of a long upholstery needle.
  • Thread the needle through the eyelet on the back of the tufting buttons.
  • Using another long needle poke the needle through the other hole from the back side and push it through to the front.
  • Push the thread needle down through the foam using the other needle as a guide and fish it through the second hole.
  • Once through, pull the needle all the way and remove the other needle.
  • Cut off the needle at the eye. Pulling the thread ends tightly, tie the two ends together into a secure knot.

Finishing

  • Place the upholstered bench seat onto the painted frame. Turn the seat and chair upside down on the work surface and secure the seat in place with screws and metal brackets.
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