This project is sponsored by WORKPRO® Tools
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.
You also might be interested in DIY Farmhouse Bench and Corner Storage Bench.
Time to Complete
Download Printable Plans in PDF
Tools for this project
- WORKPRO® Tools 20V Cordless Drill Combo Kit, Drill Driver and Impact Driver
- WORKPRO® Tools Staple Gun, 6-in-1, Manual Brad Nailer
- WORKPRO® Tools Rafter Square and Combination Square Tool Set
- WORKPRO® Tools 24 Piece Sandpaper 80-600 Assorted Grit with Holder
- WORKPRO® Tools Folding Utility Knife Quick-change Box Cutter
- Tape Measure
- Miter Saw
- Table Saw
- Random Orbital Sander
- Sanding Discs
- 2x6x8′ (x5)
- 44″x16″ – 1/2″ Plywood
- 47″x18″ – 2″ Thick Cushion
- 53″x24 1/2″ Fabric
- 1/2″ Staples
- 2″ Wood Screws
- 3/8″ Wooden Dowels
- Jocabeam Stain
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.
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 2×6 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.
Step 2 – Rip the Edges on all the Boards
For each section of the bench, you will need to connect three 2×6 boards side-by-side. Typically 2×6 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 53×24 1/2″. If you’re building this for outdoors, use an outdoor canvas fabric.
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.
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.
2 thoughts on “How to Build a DIY Bench with a Fabric Seat”
Great build! Thanks for sharing. What is the thickness of the boards you’re using?
Hi Miles, I using 2×6 boards for this project, the thickness is 1 1/2″