Pretty… no … not so much…
Do you have a spot in your home that is crying for a bench? a table? a small space or wall that could use a little update or pizzazz?
Sometimes you have to think outside the box to fill that space! Our Volunteer Coordinator, Joan Marie Brown had just that type of space to fill… an area in her hallway for a small bench that wouldn’t be in the walkway but would add a splash to her foyer. She discovered this sturdy old piano bench at the Montgomeryville Impact Thrift Store… just calling her name!
After cleaning and lightly sanding the bench, Joan Marie brushed on one coat of satin finish white primer paint (which she already had at home leftover from a room painting project.)
Next, she used white semi-gloss spray paint for a smooth finish. When using spray paint, spray each coat VERY LIGHTLY and allow to dry thoroughly in order to avoid drips. Apply 2 (or more) coats in order to fully cover the primer and old color.
To make it comfy, the top of Joan Marie’s bench is first covered with 2″ foam rubber. This can be purchased in any fabric store. Be sure to measure the bench top and bring those measurements with you. The store is usually willing to cut the foam for you to size. The foam is then glued to the top with a tacky glue.
Joan Marie chose a strawberry motif fabric to cover her bench (she actually lives on Strawberry Lane!) You will need a piece of fabric that is at least 8 to 10 inches longer and wider than your bench top, allowing 2 inches for each side of foam plus another 2 inches for fastening inside the lid of the bench. Joan Marie’s bench measures 15″ deep by 42″ wide. Her fabric measured 25″ deep by 52″ wide.
The next step is to attach the fabric to the bench itself. If your fabric is a linear pattern – stripes or squares – be extra careful to line it up so that it looks even. If your fabric is more of an overall abstract design, you need not be as careful.
After laying out the fabric on the top of the bench, Joan Marie used a staple gun to secure the covering to the bottom side of the lid. She started by taping the fabric in place on three sides and carefully pushing the fabric between the bench lid and the hinge with a butter knife. She then secured the hinge edge of the fabric first by stapling through the fabric into the underside of the wooden bench using a staple gun – at least 1 inch from the edge. Once this one edge is secure, she suggests that you stretch your fabric gently but evenly around as you staple so as to maintain the geometry of your fabric pattern. Once the fabric has been stapled in place, you can either turn the raw fabric edge under and staple this in place OR trim the excess fabric to neaten it up leaving at least an inch of fabric beyond the staples. If you do trim, cover over this raw fabric edge with duct tape to protect the edge from fraying.
Joan Marie took the extra step of sewing her fabric to a second layer “pillow case style” before stapling the fabric to the bench. This step allowed her to hide the raw fabric edges inside the bench. To accomplish this, she sewed a second layer of a sturdy cotton to the decorative strawberry fabric with right sides facing each other, leaving a few inches un-sewn. Then she carefully turned the fabric “pouch” right side out as you would a pillow case. She then proceeded with the staple step above. This process allowed her to skip the duct tape as her edges were hidden inside the seams.
Viola! Joan Marie now has a comfortably cushioned bench to brighten her hallway!
- Piano bench – $5 at Impact Thrift Store
- Paint – $4 for one can of spray paint.
- Any primer, flat or satin paint will work for the first coat so you may have some leftover from a previous project – or a small sample can from your home decor store for $3 or so.
- A piece of fabric about $12 (Fabric prices will vary greatly)
- Joan Marie recycled foam rubber from a shipping crate – at a fabric retailer, foam will run $15 to $35 depending upon size.