ReStore DIY: How to Create a Bench From Metal Scrap (with Pictures!)
Feb. 13, 2018
Savvy do-it-yourself shoppers and furniture upcyclers are starting to realize that just because certain items might look worn, it dosen’t mean that they can’t be transformed into something great.
ReStore shoppers can actually find “diamonds in the rough” which are just waiting for the right person to come along, put in a little elbow grease, and upcycle them into something special.
Long-time ReStore staff member, Alice Goble, started upcycling furniture from the ReStores as a hobby a few years ago. What started as a fun creative outlet has turned into a regular activity. As our resident upcycling expert, Alice has shared some of her secrets on how to select items, and what her process is to refurbish them.
Keep reading to see how she created a bench from a ReStore item.
Step 1) Finding an Item with Potential
“I look for furniture that is made with quality materials and interesting architecture,” Alice explains. “If I see an old wooden chair with stained upholstery, but it has curvy legs and good lines, I see potential.”
Check out this handy resource that can help you find your next DIY project.
For example, this little steel bench was incredibly affordable at $5, but Alice knew that she could remake it into something special. The total material investment came to just $25.
Step 2) Prep. Prep. Prep.
Prepping the furniture-to-be will save you time in the long haul. The bench needed to be thoroughly cleaned with dish soap and warm water, and then sanded until it was smooth.
There was a lot of rust on the bench, but Alice did not need to remove all of it. She simply sanded the surface until smooth to the touch. After sanding this bench, it was spray painted with primer so the paint goes on smoother and lasts longer.
Remember: the more you work on this step, the better the paint will look on the end result.
Step 3) Paint in the color you love!
Alice chose a soft turquoise, because it makes the piece stand out and because as it is a popular color with designers. A Rustoleum spray paint was used because this paint protects the metal from rusting. Three thin layers for were sprayed for a great finish.
Step 4) Create and upholster a seat.
Furniture upholstery isn’t that complicated. Alice has been nice enough to outline the process she used with her bench in the steps below.
- Using some leftover plywood, cut a seat the size of the bench top. Drill 9 small holes in the plywood so you can add decorative buttons to the seat once it has cushioning.
- Cut a piece of fabric 8 inches larger on all sides than the plywood seat top. Alice used a matching blue fabric piece, with a pretty design.
- Cut 2 pieces of 1 inch foam padding the same size as the plywood, to cushion the seat, like in the image above.
- Lay the fabric, and make sure that you have the correct side down on a table with the foam then the plywood on top of the fabric.
- Fold the fabric up over the plywood seat, tucking under the raw edges. Pull fabric tight while working your way around the seat, and staple the fabric to the plywood. Alice, being a DIY expert, marked the seat’s front with ‘F’ and the back with a ‘B’, as seen in the image below.
- Using decorative buttons tuft the seat cover to add interest and value. Here is a great YouTube video that explains tufting. (Don’t worry, it’s easy!)
- Screw the seat top to the bench, using holes previously drilled. (Alice’s bench had these and did not need to add drill holes)
- When finished painting, scotch guard the fabric seat to so you can use the bench outside
After the seat was attached to the bench, Alice completed her DIY project! With a few hours of work and some can-do attitude, she saved a lot of money and created a bench that looks great.
What do you think of the finished project?
Feeling inspired? Get started on your own DIY projects by checking out the current furniture selections at our five metro Denver ReStore locations! If you're reading this elsewhere in the country you can find your local ReStore here.
ReStores have an incredible amount of discount home improvement items, ranging from plumbing to roofing to windows to furniture. The best way to see what is available is to come into one of the ReStores, and ask some of the staff members for assistance. They’re always happy to help! You can also see a selection of inventory coming into our metro Denver ReStores by clicking below: