May 13, 2014

New bedroom bench, inspired by Cate

By Chelsea

Hi guys! I don't know about you but I'm really enjoying Cate's ideas and easy-to-follow tutorials that she guest posts here! Seriously, every time she shares a new project I want to gather up the supplies and try it myself immediately. It's such a pleasure to get to share her voice and ideas here on Chelsea's Garage.

Remember this post Cate wrote on transforming a coffee table into a stunning bench? Reading about her process was just the boost I needed to try it myself on this low table that's been at the foot of our bed for the past 3+ years!


And now:
(Okay, so more than just the bench has changed in this room, but that's for another day)

I actually needed to go out and purchase most of the supplies for this project, but the good news is they had everything I needed at JoAnns! (this is especially good news for anyone with young kids in tow). 

Here's my supply list:
--2" foam batting, measured, (according to the size of my table), and cut to size at JoAnn's
--2 yards of white denim fabric, (I bought a little more than I needed to also recover a chair in our bedroom)
--6 pretty buttons for tufting, and a small 90cent pack of cheap buttons to use on the underside of the tabletop, (they anchor the pretty tufting buttons)
--1 big a** needle for tufting, (I'm sorry - that's the first thing that came to mind when I saw this certifiable weapon!)
--good thread; nothing that's going to break with a little pull
--gold metallic marker (to 'create' my own fabric pattern)
--staple gun

So, here's what I did: Laid my piece of 2" foam over my tabletop, trimmed any ill fitting edges, and measured where I wanted my buttons to go. Obviously, as you can see, I stink at math. Everyone knows the age old advice, "measure twice, cut once". Not me, I measure at least half a dozen times to be certain, because chances are the first two, three, four measures are way off. I didn't make them large enough, but you can see all my white 'oops' over the wrong spots I marked. That's 7 'oops' marks, 6 good marks. No shame here. Chelsea's Garage is nothing if not honest!

Speaking of honest... DON'T try to drill your tufting holes through the foam. It gets all twisted around the drill. Instead, just use a long nail, or tip of some scissors to poke through your mark on the foam to etch a mark on the surface of the tabletop. This etched mark will be where you drill through the wood of your tabletop to create holes for tufting your buttons.

I poked through my foam with the tip of some scissors and then created a clearly seen mark with a sharpie.

When I removed the foam I had perfect, (except for one black sheep), marks telling me exactly where I needed to drill the holes.

Perfectly measured holes

At this point, I spread out my fabric on a flat, protected surface, then laid the foam on top of the fabric, then the table on top of the foam so that it was a perfect fit.

Then I pulled my fabric tight and used a staple gun to attach it under the edge, (which was the underside of the table).

Now the fun part! I used my trusty gold metallic marker to create a funky arrow pattern on the fabric. I used a straight edge ruler to make the length of the arrows, and eyeballed the rest.

When I started tufting the buttons, I was so in the zone that I didn't take a single picture of the process. Bad DIYer! Bad! But it really was not a difficult task. I just pushed my big needle upward through my pre-drilled holes, coming from underneath the fabric and poking it through the top, looped it through my button, poked it back down through the fabric and catching it underneath the seat. Then I anchored the tufted buttons by tying the thread to the cheap plastic buttons which are unseen under the seat.
My new one-of-a-kind bench!

More on the recent updates to our bedroom soon!

And if you're interested, here are a few more projects with Mr. Gold Metallic Marker, 
(with yet another one coming up. I really can't get enough):

Thank you for stopping by!



  1. Great project, Chelsea! I love reading your narratives-- you have really developed a wonderful "voice" for expressing your thoughts and ideas; you are not only a fantastic DIYer, but a gifted writer, as well! It was golden when you said, "Bad DIYer! Bad!" Keepin' it real. :) Love, Aunt Lynda

    1. As always, Aunt Lynda, you are such an encouragement.:) Thank you for your kind words. And yes, keeping it real is an absolute must!

  2. This is adorable. I have always been a little hesitant working with tufted things but it seems so simple. I might just have to give it a try. I love the fabric you chose, it is so fun!

    1. Thank you, Emily! I have always been the same way with tufting; definitely a little weary. Try it on something that isn't super sentimental/valuable to you - a practice piece! I made a few mistakes on this one, my first go with tufting, but they don't even show in the final product. Now the next time I try it I'll know how to avoid the mistakes I've already made! Good luck! Oh - and the fabric was just plain white denim which I drew arrows on with a gold metallic marker!