Image: Lizzie Orme
Make a striking corner bench from a wooden bed frame
We spotted this wooden bed abandoned and unwanted – and knew straight away that we could make it into something lovely. With a little imagination we transformed it into a corner bench for the garden, complete with sturdy seat and fun oilcloth cushion.
You will need
1” thick MDF
1.5m Blue Chrysanthemums oilcloth, Viva La Frida
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Florence
Annie Sloan bristle brush
Annie Sloan Lacquer
Photo: Step 1
1 Begin by dividing the headboard into two – these pieces will form the back of the bench. Measure the depth of the headboard; ours was 1” thick. Measure across the width of the headboard and find the centre point, then make a mark. Measure a point to one side of the centre mark, making it as far along as the wood is thick. Repeat at several points down the headboard, then connect the measurements to draw a line, slightly off centre. Use a saw to cut down the line, dividing the headboard into two.
2 Butt the two halves of the headboard up against each other, to form a right angle. With the slightly longer half butted up against the edge of the shorter half, the two sides should be equal in length – measure them now to check this. Hold firmly in place (it can be helpful to have an assistant here) and drill pilot holes – we made three through each strut of the headboard. Add several screws to hold the two sides together, ensuring they are long enough to hold the wood securely.
Photo: Step 3
3 Remove one of the posts from the foot of the bed frame. Stand it upright and butt it against the inside corner of the bench. The seat of the bench will sit on top of this post, so if need be, cut it down to the height you want the seat to be. You will also use the side struts of the bench to support the seat so ensure it lines up with these, as well. Use a spirit level to ensure both sides of the bench are straight, then drill pilot holes through the frame and into the post behind it – alternate the positions of the holes, rather than placing them in a straight line – this will help strengthen the structure. Add screws to hold securely. Once you let go, the bench should stand up easily by itself on the three legs.
4 Create the front panel. Measure across the front of the bench, working across from the backs of the front legs. Transfer these measurements to a plank of wood – we used the foot board of our bed. Measure and mark a 45 degree angle on both sides, facing in towards each other – this will ensure the edges of the panel butt up smoothly against the sides of the bench. Cut down these edges, then place into position across the front of the bench, ensuring the top edge of the panel sits 1” above the top of the central supporting leg. Drill pilot holes and screw into place.
Photo: Step 4
5 Using one of the side panels of the bed, cut the struts to further support the bench seat. Measure along the inside of both sides of the bench, working from the edge of the central supporting leg to the front panel on both sides. Cut two pieces of wood to this size, ensuring they are narrow enough to hide along the inside of the headboard struts. Place them into position, making sure that they are straight and that the top edges sit equal with the top of the central leg. Drill pilot holes, then screw into place.
6 Make the seat. Use the inner side and front measurements of the bench frame to draw and cut a right-angled bench seat from 1” thick MDF. Lay the seat down on top of the struts and supporting leg to make sure it fits. Place the MDF onto a sheet of 1” thick upholstery foam, draw around it, then cut out.
Photo: Step 7
7 Lay the oilcloth out, right side down, and place the foam triangle on it. Place the MDF seat on top. Cut the fabric around the foam and MDF, leaving a 5” border on all sides. Gently pull the fabric taut over the edges of the MDF, and use a staple gun to secure it.
8 Sand the bench all over to get rid of any old varnish, then apply two coats of Chalk Paint in Florence using a bristle brush. Apply a coat of lacquer to protect the paint, then place the bench seat into position and screw to secure.
To make your seat really strong, you can add an extra support strut, running from the middle front of the bench to the back supporting leg.
Photos: Lizzie Orme
Feature: Sophie Holt