Give a tired garden storage box a new lease of life

Give a tired garden storage box a new lease of life

Posted 10th Aug 2016

We’d bought this wooden storage trunk from Ikea many moons ago and while it was very handy, it was never quite watertight and was looking a little worse for wear. With a coat of paint, a bit of foam and fabric and some metal sheeting we were able to transform it – not only sealing the top to stop drips and leaks but adding a bench seat too, to give it a whole new purpose.


You will need
Applaro storage box, £95, Ikea
PSM 10,8 LI cordless multi-sander, Bosch
damp cloth
thin sheet metal – we used 0.7mm thick Zintec, £19.47 per 1500mm x 1000mm sheet, Buy Metal Online
tape measure
rubber mallet
tin snips
nails or rivets
2” x 2” wooden batten
Bosch PSB 18 LI-2 ergonomic drill
MDF sheeting
upholstery foam
2m quilt wadding
2m fabric
hessian strapping
staple gun
2” x 1” wooden planks
Cuprinol Garden Shades paint in Winters Well and Inky Stone
paint brush



1 Begin by preparing the wood – this is especially important if your box has been sat outside for a long time, as ours was. Smooth it all over with an electric sander then wipe with a damp cloth to get rid of any dust.

Step 1

Image: Step 1

2 Work out the size of metal needed to wrap the lid. We calculated ours by measuring the width and length of the lid, then added extra to account for the depth, plus another 2” to both the width and length measurements to allow the metal to wrap around and under the lid with a 1” border on the underside.

3 Once cut to size (we had ours cut to size on ordering, but you can trim it yourself using tin snips if you prefer), lay the metal down flat, then place the lid on top centrally, upside down. Fold the metal around it and bend and hammer it into place. The metal should wrap around the lid and leave a 1” border on the underside – you may need to trim the corners a little. Use nails or rivets to hold the metal in place.

Step 3
Image: Step 3

4 Cut the MDF bench seat base. Measure the length and width of the inside of the box. Take 1cm away from both measurements and cut a piece of thick MDF sheet to this size – it needs to be slightly smaller than the box to allow it to be taken in and out easily. Measure and cut a piece of upholstery foam, 4” smaller in both width and length than the MDF. Position it centrally on the board. Using the 2” wide planking as a guide, draw around the foam, as pictured. Cut a piece of fabric big enough to drape over the foam and MDF and wrap underneath the board with a border of at least 1” on all sides. Staple through the fabric on the reverse of the board, to hold it in place.

Step 4

Image: Step 4

5 Measure the length of the MDF bench seat once again and cut two pieces of 2” wide planking to this size. Next, measure the space between the two long planks – this should be drawn out onto the board already from step 4. Cut another two pieces to this size. Paint all four planks with the Inky Stone paint. Once ready, position the four planks around the edge of the foam and screw into position to form a border.

6 Make struts to hold the bench seat in place. Measure the length of the inside of the box once again. Cut two lengths of 2” x 2” timber batten to this size, then screw each into position from the inside out, positioning them 2” down from the top edge of the box. Repeat to cut and fix another two struts along the short sides, between the two longer struts. This will create a lip all around the inside of the box.

Step 6

Image: Step 6

7 Turn the bench seat upside down. Cut two 40cm lengths of hessian strapping, and fold each in half to form a loop. Still holding them doubled, staple the open edges of each loop to the middle of one short edge of the seat, to form straps. Cut a thin piece of plywood to the same size as the MDF bench seat. Place the ply over the underside of the MDF, hiding the stapled edge of the fabric and the straps, and screw into place.

8 Finally, paint the box. We coloured the inside and outside of the box in Winters Well, and the wheels and ply bench seat underside with Inky Stone. Leave to dry, then lower the bench seat into position, sitting it on top of the battens inside the box. Place the metal-covered lid on top to finish. When not in use, the seat can be turned upside down to further protect the fabric.

Garden bench store

Top tip
We had our sheet metal cut to size when we ordered it, meaning we did not need to trim it down ourselves – saving time and ensuring a straight, even edge.

Feature and styling Sophie Holt Photos Lizzie Orme

how togardenproject

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