DIY: Tufted Bench Transformation
May 4, 2009
Last week, I picked up this dowdy bench with really great lines at a local thrift store. It was $12. I transformed it this past weekend with fresh paint, a bit of silk, and some custom fabric covered buttons. If you want to know how to create a custom tufted seat, follow the tutorial at the end of this post.
Here’s the Before and After:
The first thing that had to go was the original fabric. Ewwww. The bench seat was easily removed with a screwdriver, but those side cushions were another story. I thought they would simply peel off with a little tugging. I was way wrong. I had to take the end of a hammer to them, and the inner stuffing completely disintegrated in the process. Pliers were necessary to get the green fabric off.
The paint had yellowed, so I decided to prime it and give it a fresh coat of white paint. Then I gave it a good coat of spray paint in RustOleum’s ‘Heirloom White’.
Once the bench’s wood frame was completely painted, I recovered the bench with some fabric and a staple gun in some pale green silk. [That’s “lemongrass” colored silk from Joann’s Fabrics – it was on sale for $8 for 2 feet.] Note: If you are tufting a cushion, make sure you drill your holes through the seat cushion before you cover with fabric.
Tufting Tutorial for a Bench or Cushion
- Screwdriver to create holes in seat cushion
- Long needles (called Decorator Needles) from craft store
- Thin twine or embroidery thread (regular sewing thread is not strong enough)
- Button cover kits
- Staple gun and staples
Once the bench had been covered in fabric, I created the custom buttons with the scraps of silk leftover and some custom button kits. These kits make it very simple to use your fabric of choice to create custom buttons for tufting with the same fabric you use to cover your seat cushion.
Thread your decorator needle with the thin twine or embroidery thread. Push the needle up from the bottom through the pre-drilled hole. Once you come up on top of the cushion, thread your needle through the button. Push the needle back down through the hole and pull button tight to fabric to create desired amount of tufting.
Use your staple gun to secure the thread to the underside of the cushion. Staple the thread once, then pull the thread in the opposite direction, and staple it down again. Secure with a knot.
One final problem with my bench was covering the marks from those previous side cushions. Rather than creating my own side cushions like I did here and here, I chose to keep the sides open and airy. I covered the marks from the previous cushions with hot glue and some simple gimp trim.
Bench $12, Primer and Paint $6, Fabric $8, Button Kits $7, Needles $4, Embroidery Thread $1. Total = $38 Isn’t it amazing what a little paint and fabric can do?
Isn’t it amazing what a little paint and fabric can do?