I was blown away by Mandy Moore’s mid-century inspired home. There is a blush pink velvet bench that caught my eye. I have been thinking about that bench for some time now, so I finally decided to try and make my own DIY upholstered waterfall bench!
This is my first time upholstering…ever! I made some mistakes that I will be sharing with you here so you don’t have to make them too!
I always try my best to find more natural/eco-friendly materials so I chose organic batting and cotton as well as a certi-pur foam for the upholstery. If you are into that you will hopefully find my supply list helpful!
Read below for how my husband and I made this DIY upholstered waterfall bench.
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Part 1: Build the bench
You will need wood that is dry. The lumber from Home Depot is typically green/still wet. We also called around to local lumber yards but did not have any luck. Then, we found a local hardwood store that carried kiln dried hardwoods. We chose Poplar because it was the least expensive species that they carried. If you get green wood, you will need to let it dry out which is a process and takes quite awhile.
- Poplar wood (2″x8″x8′ (x2)) (try to get boards that are square on both edges so you do not need to use a table saw)
- Miter saw
- Wood glue
- Electric drill
- Counter sink drill bit
- 3″ wood screws
- Tack cloth
- Sand paper
Step 1: Cut the wood to length
We used our Miter saw to cut the wood to length. Pay close attention that your leg cuts are very precise so when gluing later it is unlikely to wobble. Our bench dimensions are 50″ long, 13.5″ high, and 15.5″ wide. If you like these dimensions you will need to get foam that is at least 4-5″ longer (not 80″ like I did) or possibly thinner foam. If you want to use the same foam you could make the bench about 45-46″ long, I would not reduce the height.
Step 2: Glue
Glue the top two bench seat pieces together, clamp, and let dry. Glue the leg pieces together, clamp, and let them dry.
Glue the legs to the bench seat at 90 degrees. While the glue is still drying, drill 8 holes along the top evenly spaced with a counter sink drill bit (4 per leg). Then, drill 3″ wood screws (we had wood deck screws) tight with a electric drill.
Leave the clamps on overnight.
Step 3: Sand
Sand any rough spots, especially where the joints are. Use a tack cloth to remove excess dust. There you go!
Part 2: Upholstery
- Foam (this one is only 80″ long, read above to ensure you order the right length foam or change the dimensions of your bench)
- Batting (I purchased 1 yard)
- Fabric (I purchased 3 yards of the Organic Sherpa. You probably only need 2.5 yards.)
- Sewing scissors
- Measuring tape
- Bread knife (or electric carving knife)
- Electric staple gun
- T50 3/8″ staples (these will work with Poplar wood, you may need different staples for a different type of wood)
- Cardboard Tack Strip
- Metal Tack Strips
- Tin snips
- Mallet (we used a hammer and it was fine)
- Plastic furniture gliders
Lay the foam over the bench and trim your foam length and width to fit the bench.
This was my first mistake. I made the dimensions of the bench too long and the foam I purchased did not reach around to the floor. I did not consider how much length would be lost on the curves with how thick this foam is. My bench supply list above mentions how to avoid this.
We used a pen to mark a line for the width of the foam so it was easier to cut a straight line. We used our bread knife, but if you have an electric carving knife that should work better. I made my second mistake here. I cut the foam like bread and was moving the knife back and forth. My cut edge ended up being very uneven. I then found out that you need to score the foam all the way across and then slowly continue to score keeping your knife at a 90 degree angle. I watched this video to try and fix my mistake. Do it right the first time, we couldn’t save this side. I just put this side up against the wall, but it would have been ideal if both sides were straight.
Wrap the foam in the batting. We didn’t attach it with glue or anything. It was very staticky so it stayed nicely put. For the two ends, I wrapped the foam like a present since we needed more length anyway.
Cut a 30″ wide piece of your fabric. Make sure it is long enough as well.
Lay the fabric down (pretty side down). Lay your foam wrapped in batting (foam peeking out at top) on top of the fabric. Lay the bench upside down on top of everything else (in the center). You can mark the center on your foam/batting and the bench with your tape measurer and pen.
Using the electric staple gun, staple the fabric to the bottom of one leg and then the other. You will need to use your body weight to push the foam down and pull the fabric tight.
Staple around the rest of the bench, making sure it is pulled really tight. Be sure to fold the corners neatly. You will see some excess fabric since this was very stretchy (I had to trim some later). It should look much neater if you went with polyester.
Cut a 17-18″ (I think we did 18″) wide piece of fabric to cover up the underside of the bench. Make sure it is long enough.
With the fabric pretty side down, staple the cardboard tack strip to the very edge of one side of the bench (just the middle, not up the legs yet).
Bring the fabric across (pretty side is up now). The edge is so beautiful now because of the tack strip! Let’s do the other side. Grab your metal tack strips with the spikes. Poke holes in the fabric (we used 3 tack stripes for the middle section) from the underside so the spikes are facing up. Be sure to not leave any slack in your fabric. Roll the tack strip under so that the spikes are facing the wood now. Gently hammer or pound along the length until the staples are all in.
On to the legs! On both sides of the legs we used the metal kraft strip with spikes. Our strips were too long. We cut them with tin snips. Same technique as above, poke the fabric from underneath and roll it under tightly. Hammer the spikes in gently. Repeat for all four leg edges.
Note: This fabric is very stretchy so we were pulling it very tight
Finally we get to do the bottoms of both legs! Repeat the same steps with the metal tack strip.
Finish with plastic furniture gliders. We gently hammered ours in. We did not have a rubber mallet on hand so we put painters tape on the tip of our hammer (to protect the white fabric from marks) and were sure to be gentle. There you go, a beautiful DIY upholstered waterfall bench that you made!
Notes: I do want to point out that this fabric is a bit shear (especially since it gets stretched out a lot in this project) so if that does not sound good to you go with a heavier fabric. Here is a photo of the legs so you can see how it looks when your foam is not long enough. Maybe you did not notice, but it is driving me crazy so I wanted to mention it so you do not make the same mistake!
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Such an informative article! All the information provided by you is really very helpful. By using tack cloth you can easily remove small dust particles from the surface and it also gives you smooth paint finishing. Thank you for sharing! Keep posting!