Majority of my project inspirations come from a place of practicality. I’ve been dreaming of a way to help my husband out, so that his feet don’t hang off our bed (he’s 80/81″ tall – so even if we purchased a California King, his feet would hang off the bed to some degree).
So I went on a shopping search to find a bedroom bench that is 24″ tall and soft enough that he wouldn’t notice if his feet were on the bed or the bench. I guess this isn’t a problem most people have, because EVERY bedroom bench I found was 17-18″.
Que my design brain wheels turning to create something that would work. In my hunt, I found the Pottery Barn Berlin Tufted Bench – a la my muse.
I found an unfinished bench at Home Depot that I used as the base. The idea is to stain it to match the headboard (that Jay made for us).
Mentally I’ve broke this down into four different projects:
Step 1. Stain the Bench
Step 2. Making Tufted Buttons
Step 3. Upholstery
Step 4. Assembly
Step 1 Part I – Stain. I went with Minwax Provincial to match our headboard.
1) Sand the bench with a hand sander.
2) Use a tack cloth to remove any saw dust from the wood
3) Using a paint brush (or foam brush), paint the stain on the wood
4) Using a paper towel, wipe off excess stain from the wood.
5) Once you’ve stained the bench, let it dry. You may need multiple coats, pending the color you’re in the market for (I did two).
Step 1 Part II – Polyurethane.
1) Stir the Polyurethane with a paint stirrer (never shake Poly).
2) Paint the bench with a very thin layer of Polyurethane.
3) Once a coat is dry (I like to wait a day or so to make sure it’s really dry) use Steel Wool #0000 to sand down any imperfections (bubbles) that come through once the Polyurethane dries.
4) Grab your tack cloths and rub down the bench to pick up any dust. Before using a tack cloth, unfold it and then scrunch it back together to give you greater surface area.
5) Repeat until you have accomplished the look you’re after.
Step 2 – Tufted Buttons. To make the tufted buttons I followed Dreaming in DIY’s Tutorial and it was perfect. The only difference was that I used E6000 where she used Gorilla Glue. I suggest making more buttons that you will need to allow yourself to pick the best few to use. Such a quick, easy and rewarding project.
Step 3 – Upholstery. I have a upholstery PTSD. I used Mr. Kate’s Tufted Bench tutorial as a guide. Mr. Kate’s guide is great – but this is not an easy project.
If you want to see videos of the upholstery process, check out my Instagram stories.
Step 3 Part I. Use a bread knife (or electric turkey carver) to cut the foam to fit the bench.
Step 3 Part II. With a 1″ bit on your drill, pre-drill your tufts into the foam. You’re doing this to make sure that the buttons will “tuft” once the multiple layers of padding are on.
After a long thought process (and a trip to JoAnn Fabrics) I decided to drill directly into the bench for the button holes. The original idea was to use a piece of pegboard so that I wouldn’t ruin the bench, “if we ever wanted to reuse it for something else”. Duh Sarah, you’re never going to use this bench for anything other than a bench at the end of y’all’s bed.
Step 3 Part III. It’s time to upholster. Spray the wood (or your base) with Spray Adhesive. Then use something long (bamboo skewers), put them through the foam in the outer two holes. Use the skewers as a guide to align the holes in the foam with the holes in the base.
Since the base I used had a smooth edge, I rolled up batting and stapled it to the bench to fill some of the imperfections.
You’re ready to start batting. Spray the top and the sides of the foam really well. Then lay your batting on top, try to place it as smooth as possible. You’ll need to pull the batting tight on one side and staple. Throw a few staples in and the repeat on the other side. If you need a better visual, head over to InstaStories and I have it all documented there. Repeat until you feel like you have a good level of batting and like the look (make sure to Spray Adhesive in between each layer – and follow the instructions on the Adhesive can, it get’s clogged really easily). I did three layers (remember I want it super cozy). The last layer, I used 100% Cotton batting to take away from the itchiness that you get with Polyester. Find the holes for your tufts and make small X cuts to make sure the tuft will go deep.
Now we tuft. Make sure you’re Upholstery Needle is larger than the item you’re tufting (I learned this the hard way, while loosing one needle in the foam – I’m telling you I took the school of hard knocks to get to this Pottery Barn inspired bench). Spray adhesive the bench and lay the fabric on top. Thread your Upholstery Needle with Upholstery Thread (don’t tie a knot in either end, just make sure you have ample thread to go through your foam). Thread from the bottom up. Once you’ve found the hole, pull your needle through. Pull one side of the thread through the bench. Thread your button onto the needle. I put a few stitches in to make sure the needle didn’t go through the same hole. Tread the needle back through the hole and you’ve made a tuft!!! Have a pal help you to push the button down to the level of tuft you want, thread the two thread strands though holes in the button. Knot the thread around the button and you’ve completed your first tuft (I beg you watch the videos, it will make this seem a little easier). Repeat until you’ve completed all your tufts.
Upholster for one last time. Pull your finished fabric and staple that bad boy as much as possible. For the edges I tried to make it look a little fancier (for the batting I wrapped it like a present), I’ll let you be the judge.
Step 4 – Assembly. Screw the legs back on and forget about the pain you went through upholstering. Viola!
The bench took me a month to finalize the design, pick out fabric and execute my idea. How is it that the projects you dream up always take way longer than you anticipate?!?
This one was very worth the wait!