I know. It’s a pretty corny title but sometimes I just can’t help myself. Last year, I acquired a vintage Queen Anne style coffee table which I then converted into a tufted bench for the end of our bed. It was my first attempt at tufting something and I was very pleased at how it turned out. Since it was pre-blogging so I only have a few pictures.
Before: a basic long, narrow table
Spray adhesive glued the 4″ foam in place
We love it. So handy too.
We love it! It looks great to most people but as the DIY-er, I can spot things I should have done differently. And I am also still considering painting the base.
For the past year, I have been helping a dear friend update and brighten her cozy downtown Toronto apartment on a budget. (I hope to post about this in the near future.) She liked my bench so much, she asked me to make one for her narrow entrance. With my estate sale addiction, I was able to find the perfect table through MaxSold . Not only did I get the rectangular table, it came with TWO 2-tiered step tables for $10.00!! Now that’s what I call a BARGAIN!
The “soon to be bench” table
Two of these cuties plus the coffee table…
all for $10!!
1. Replace the top with Plywood
With my first bench the table top had straight sides with rounded corners so I used the original top. However, with this table, you can see the table edges are not straight and not suitable. No worries! I had some left over 1/2 inch plywood in the garage which I cut to size. NOTE: I cut the plywood to the exact size of the base, with no overhang.
Note the plywood is cut to the size of the base with no overhang.
2. Purchase Foam
Once I had the dimensions for the top, I purchased 4 inch thick foam that was 1 inch wider and 1 inch longer than the top. This additional foam is important so when you are doing the final upholstering and pulling the fabric over the sides, the foam will cover the edge of the top, making it padded as well. I have been fortunate to have found a foam wholesaler near my home who will sell to people off the street. They cut it while you wait to the thickness and size you want. There prices are very reasonable too. The foam can be the most expensive part of the project.
3. Plan your tufts
You can add as many tufts as you like but remember the more tufts you have the more fabric you will need because each tuft uses a fair amount of fabric. Like my first bench, I used 11 tufts. Even with what I thought was good planning, I nearly did not have enough fabric!
On the foam, mark where each tuft will go.
I drew a grid and then added a mark at each half way point.
4. Make Holes in the Foam
To make room for the fabric to be pulled down to create a tuft, it is best to create a small hole in the foam. I learned the hard way that you CANNOT USE A DRILL!! Using a drill, twists and gouges out the foam and could ruin your project. Looking through drawers, I found an apple corer which did the trick! I didn’t take any pictures but basically I inserted the corer twice to make a circular hole and pulled out the cigar shaped pieces of foam. Brilliant!
5. Creating the Tufts with a Drill and Wood Screws
A FEW NOTES:
The yellow fabric I used for this bench was thick so I did not add any batting on the top of the foam. I did however for the first bench. Because of the thick fabric, I was unable to use buttons you cover with fabric as I did with my original bench. For original bench, I made holes in the foam AND I drilled matching holes in the table top. I used covered buttons and a long needle with a sturdy cord to pull the button down and through the top to make the tuft.
Because I could not use covered buttons, I decided to use a tufting technique posted by Elisha from Pneumatic Addict Furniture.
Drill, washers, wood screws and a skewer to help find the holes.
Once I located the holes, I used the drill to screw wood screw with washer, through the fabric, the hole in the foam and into the wood. The washer is necessary so the screw will not go through the fabric. The screws in this picture were too short. I ended up using 2 1/2 inch screws. When I was finished and I turned the top over, I found some screws went through the wood. So all tufts would be the same, I adjusted all the screws so they would not come through the wood.
Wood screw with a washer.
2 1/2 inch screws worked best for 4″ foam
6. Finish the upholstering and add Buttons
I don’t have any photos of this step. I was alone so I couldn’t hold, staple and photograph all the the same time. I use an pneumatic (air) staple gun and a small compressor. (I borrowed the compressor from my neighbour who rarely uses it. He told me to keep it at my house … “off site storage” LOL.) I found regular buttons that matched and used a glue gun to attach them in the tufts.
7. Paint the Base and Attach the Top
Here is where my indecision came in… It took me FOUR versions to get something we both really liked and was special!
Version 1: my “go-to” ivory homemade chalk paint
Version 2: a beachy look by dry brushing blue and gold over the ivory
Version 3: A nice “Oops” grey
I liked all of the first three versions but none really “wowed” me. After all, the reason we have been updating her apartment was to add colour and pizzazz to a the previously dark, monochromatic space.
Finally, she asked
“Could you paint it red“?
All I needed was a sample jar from Home Depot and 15 minutes and VOILA!
I love the red!
We both love how it turned out. Interestingly, in the post that inspired me to use wood screws, Elisha also painted her bench base red!
I hope you find my tutorial clear and useful. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me.
In the meantime, I would love some suggestions as to what to do with the original curvy edged table top ???