Tufted Bench Redux

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We really do love our dogs, and they make us very happy…most of the time. Unfortunately, last Wednesday evening wasn’t one of those times. After letting them back in from outside that evening they all ran into our bedroom before we had a chance to stop them. They immediately jumped right on top of the bench that we did last September and completely covered it with mud. We tried cleaning it but the fabric was stained and thus, ruined.

Se la vie! At least we didn’t need to start from scratch. We only had to recover the top of the bench. One of the great things about doing these projects is that you can always redo it when something like this happens to you. Even if it doesn’t…it’s great to be able to change up the décor of a room without much cost!

Here’s what we used to remake the bench:

  • 1 1/2-yard of fabric
  • 4-feet of 3-inch foam
  • 4-feet of batting
  • 6 buttons

This is what we needed to put it together:

  • Staple gun
  • Upholstery needle
  • Scissors
  • Twine
  • Fabric glue
  • Pliers
  • Electric carving knife
  • A marker and a pen

Let’s redo our bench!

  • Remove the upholstered top of the bench from the frame by placing it upside down, begin pulling the staples out of the bottom using the pliers.  I generally keep a paper/plastic cup handy to use to hold the discarded staples.
  • Remove the fabric, batting and foam from the board. Unfortunately, we couldn’t keep any of it because the mud seeped through the foam.

  • Now to make the new foam fit the wood base, place the foam on a flat surface and put the plywood on top of the foam lining up one corner.
  • Next, trace the outline of the board with a marker and using the inside of a pen, mark the button holes by sticking the ink shaft through the holes in the plywood.
  • Remove the plywood from the foam, and make the pen marks darker using a marker. Next, using an electric knife, cut the foam to size.  Trust me, it’s worth buying an electric knife if you do these types of projects often!

  • Now, cut an “X” on every buttonhole mark. This will allow the buttons to sink a little into the cushion.
  • To cut the batting, place the plywood on top of the batting and cut it approximately six inches longer on each side.  The extra batting needs to cover the foam as well as fold over the bottom of the plywood.
  • In each corner, cut out a square of batting to reduce the amount of excess batting when you fold the corners.  I usually leave between a ½-inch and an inch between the corner of the square and the plywood.

It’s what’s inside that matters!


  • In a well ventilated area, spray fabric adhesive to the plywood and place the foam on top of the plywood and press to ensure that the adhesive sticks.  Make sure that all of your sides line up.
  • Spray the top of the foam with adhesive and apply the batting to the top.
  • Starting in the middle of one of the sides, fold the batting over the lip of the plywood and pull taught and staple the batting in place. Repeat on the opposite side and both ends. Continue to staple the batting to the back of the plywood on both sides. I work back and forth between opposite sides.  This keeps the batting (and fabric later) centered in place.

A mere fabrication!


  • Place the fabric on a large surface and determine how you want the print to appear on the bench.  We used plaid, so we decided which part of the plaid would be the focal point.
  • Once you’ve determined your focal point, turn the fabric upside down and place the foamed plywood on top of it.  Try to place the center of the plywood over the center of the pattern focal point.
  • Starting again in the center of one side, fold the fabric over the lip of the plywood and staple in place. On the other side, pull the fabric taught and place a staple in the center. Repeat these steps on either end.
  • Before going any further, turn the bench top over to ensure that the fabric is where you want it.  If it’s not, you can remove the staples and move it around.  It’s much easier to make changes at this point.
  • If the fabric is centered, turn the top back over, and begin applying staples on either side working back and forth between sides as you go. Be sure that you pull the fabric tight so that you don’t have any wrinkles in the final product.
  • On one end, fold the fabric on the corner so that it looks nice. Think hospital corners!

Cocktail Break!

We only have to attach the buttons to the bench, so this is a good time to take a break. Lately Alberto and I have been on a bourbon kick, and so we were looking for something interesting. We’d heard about a New Orleans drink called the Sazerac, and we were curious to try it. As usual Alberto adds his spin to it with fantastic results. This recipe is truly delicious.  You can check out Alberto’s recipe on the Cocktails page.

Button it up!


  • Using small squares of the same fabric, cover the six buttons and thread an upholstry needle with twine, and stick the needle through the hole in the plywood and out the front. Thread the button over the needle, and send the needle back through the cushion.
  • Place the button on your knee, and slightly press the cushion.  This will hold the button in place while you’re tying off the ends. Repeat for the last 5 buttons.

Place the cushion into the original frame, and we’ve just redone our bench. It looks fabulous!! I think we’ll celebrate with another Maple Sazerac!

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2 Responses to Tufted Bench Redux

  1. Darcie says:

    You know, I really like this plaid you used. I think it goes nicely with the legs on the piece.

    Reply
  2. Susan says:

    You guys come up with some really creative ideas! I can’t wait to see what you come up with next……..still waiting……:)

    Reply

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