How to Build a DIY Bench with a Fabric Seat

What is a Bow Saw Used For

This project is sponsored by WORKPRO® Tools

How to Build a DIY Bench with a Fabric Seat

People want to be comfortable when sitting on a bench. Adding a cushion to your seat is a perfect way to introduce a bit of softness and comfort. In this tutorial, you will learn how to build a comfortable DIY bench with a fabric seat.

This bench is very simple to make. I used wooden dowels to connect the boards together. But you could simply use wood screws or pocket holes from WORKPRO to join the bench boards.

DIY Bench with Fabric Seat

You also might be interested in DIY Farmhouse Bench and Corner Storage Bench.


Time to Complete

8 hours

Total Cost

$150

Skill Level

Intermediate


Download Printable Plans in PDF

Bench with a Fabric Seat PDF

$6.00

This PDF download includes Cut Diagrams, a List of Supplies, and 3D illustrations with detailed steps to build the project. Measurements are imperial and not metric. Does NOT include SketchUp/CAD files.

The plans are embedded on the webpage for free, but if you would like to support the website, you can pay a small fee to purchase the printable PDFs.

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Bench with a Fabric Seat

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Note: Lumber dimensions are listed as nominal size.  See lumber sizes for actual dimensions vs nominal.

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page as well as links in “tools for this project” and “material list” sections are affiliate links.


Dimensions

DIY Bench with Fabric Seat dimensions

Step 1 – Cut Bottom, Top, and Side Pieces 

This project is simple to build, especially when you’re working with straight lumber. So it’s very important to spend some time at your local hardware store and choose the best boards available. 

For this project, you would need five 2x6 boards that are eight-foot-long and a piece of 1/2″ plywood. 

Take a 2×6 board and using a miter saw, cut six pieces to 45″ in length for the top and bottom sections and six pieces to 18″ in length for the sides. Use your rafter square (or a combination square, that comes in a set) to make sure your cuts are perfectly squared. I really like how the WORKPRO® Tools rafter square has notches and the marks are so easy to see. 

cutting boards for bench
using construction square to draw straight lines
cutting wood with miter saw

Step 2 – Rip the Edges on all the Boards

For each section of the bench, you will need to connect three 2x6 boards side-by-side. Typically 2x6 lumber you purchase at the store has rounded edges. But since these boards need to be attached together, the rounded edges need to be ripped off with a table saw. The table saw makes the sides perfectly straight and the joining process cleaner. Although you can connect these boards without ripped the rounded edges, it just doesn’t look as clean. 

Set your table saw to rip 1/8 of an inch on the left side of all the board. Once you rip all the left sides, adjust the blade to rip 1/8 of an inch on the right side. Then trim all left sides. Now you will have rounded edges trimmed on both sides of each board.

ripping rounded edges on boards
ripping rounded edges on 2x6

Step 3 – Drill Dowel Holes to Connect the Boards

Now that the sides of each board are nice and straight, these pieces need to be connected together in sets of three. You will have three boards joined together to make the bottom section, then three boards for the top, and so on.

To connect the pieces in sets of three without using screws, you will need a dowel jig. (You could use pocket holes with screws if you prefer.) This jig allows you to drill 3/8″ holes on the sides of the board for small wooden dowels. These wooden dowels, when connected with wood glue, make a very strong joint. 

Insert the ⅜” drill bit into your WORKPRO® Tools cordless drill and adjust the stop collar. Drill dowel holes about 7″ apart, as shown in the picture. The variable speed settings on the WORKPRO® Tools cordless drill are fantastic to work with. When drilling holes in wood, you want to make sure to set your settings to high speed. This will make the hole look much cleaner, especially on softwood like pine. 

drilling dowel holes for bench
drilling dowel holes
applying wood glue to join the boards
inserting dowels into the holes
sections of bench to be assembled

Step 4 – Connect the Boards to Make a Bench

Next, apply a small amount of wood glue inside the 3/8″ holes and on the sides of the board. Then insert the wooden dowels inside the holes and connect the pieces. Finally, clamp the boards together and let the wood glue dry. You should have two side sections, one top, and one bottom section. 

Once the sections are glued together, drill 3/8″ holes on the ends of the bottom and top boards. Then transfer the holes in the same orientation to the sides of the smaller pieces. See picture. 

Now assemble the bottom, top and side sections together as shown in the picture. Clamp the sections and let the wood glue dry. 

connecting DIY Bench with Fabric Seat together
drilling dowel holes to make a bench
bench section to be assembled together
clamping the bench together for glue to dry

Step 5 – Sand and Stain the Bench

Once the wood glue is completely dry, use a random orbital sander with an 80 grit disc to sand the bench. This will get rid of any dry glue that might have surfaced between the seams. 

Then, using a sanding block with 600 grit sandpaper (I love how easy it is to slip in the sandpaper into the WORKPRO® Tools sanding block), sand the entire bench to get it ready for staining. You want to make the wood surface as smooth as possible for the stain to absorb evenly. The sanding block comes with a variety of sandpaper grits that you could use for this project. 

Before staining, apply pre-stain to prevent blotchiness. Follow the instructions on the container to get the best results. Then take a Jocabean stain and apply it with a brush or a cloth. Once the stain is dry, apply a coat of polyurethane. 

Sometimes polyurethane will form small bubbles or rough areas once it’s cured. To eliminate that, take a sanding block with 600 grit sandpaper and lightly sand the bench. Then wipe it off with a clean cloth and apply a second coat of polyurethane.

using random orbital sander to send bench
sanding block for sanding wood
sanding bench before staining
applying pre-stain on wood
applying stain on bench wood

Step 6 – Cut Plywood, Fabric, and a Cushion for the Seat

Now it’s time to make the cushion seat. Take 1/2″ plywood and cut one piece to 44 1/2″x16″. Then cut a 2″ thick Now it’s time to make the cushion seat. Take 1/2″ plywood and cut one piece to 44 1/2″x16″. Then cut a 2″ thick cushion to 47″x18″ with a utility knife. I like using the WORKPRO® Tools utility knife because it is so easy to change the blades. This quick-change blade option is great and you can store 5 blades in the easy-open body. The cushion needs to be 2″ larger than the plywood. The extra cushion will be compressed by fabric to make rounded edges.

Next, take fabric and cut one piece to 53x24 1/2″. If you’re building this for outdoors, use an outdoor canvas fabric. 

attaching cushion plywood and fabric together
measuring cushion for bench
cutting cushion with knife

Step 7 – Wrap and Staple the Fabric to the Plywood

Place the fabric on the floor face down. Next, place the cushion over the fabric and then plywood on top. Make sure everything is centered. Next, wrap the fabric over the cushion and staple it to the plywood using a WORKPRO® staple gun with 1/2″ staples. I love how this WORKPRO® Tools staple gun is compatible with 6 kinds of staple sizes. The fabric needs to be stretched tight over the cushion and plywood.

cushion for DIY Bench with Fabric Seat
attaching fabric to plywood
staple fabric to plywood
staple fabric to plywood

Step 8 – Attach Cushion Seat to the Bench

Now attach the cushion seat to the bench with 2″ wood screws. Make sure to pre-drill the holes for the screws. This will prevent the wood from splitting. Use a 1/8″ drill bit for pre-drilling the holes. You are done with a DIY Bench with Fabric Seat. 

DIY Bench with Fabric Seat
What is a Bow Saw Used For

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