Sunday, October 23, 2011

Crate Storage Bench + Tufted Upholstery

Yesterday, I learned to drive a skid steer.  We were at some friends' house while they cleaned out the concrete from their basement to pour a new foundation, and Joe was driving the skid steer.  My wonderful, talented husband was convinced that I needed to branch out and learn, so after much coaxing I hesitantly climbed into the intimidating machine.  It was surprisingly more intuitive to drive than I thought...and I had some fun!
See?  Fun.  
(also, you can see my new glasses--hooray, I am no longer blinking incessantly!  A big thank-you to the Woostah's for helping me pick them out) 

This project was inspired by my Aunt Mary.  She sent me a magazine clipping of the cutest little DIY bench in "O" Magazine--'cause she thought of me :)  They called theirs a Rolling Storage Bench, and I just happened to have everything I needed on hand to make a similar one.  
This is the page that my Aunt sent me, with a cute little card in the upper left of the first picture.  Isn't she so sweet?
I was so excited to get started.  Benches are such great little things.  You can put them practically anywhere  for a little extra seating, and they take up so little space.  This one is especially useful because it has storage options.
Lucky for me, I already had a little wooden crate on hand.  It was painted grey, and had a great little stamp on one side that I definitely wanted to enhance (see the "SS" toward the bottom?).  It's the little details like that makes a piece unique, so I took a little red craft paint and touched it up carefully by hand.  Then I got a little carried away and added a little stencil of my own to the sides...I just didn't want them to feel left out!  To finish off the paint, I did a "whitewash" and brushed some watery white paint over all the surfaces--just enough to lighten the color and age the new looking red paint.  Finished it off with some light sanding, and the painting was done.

I did not have any rolling casters for the bottom, and didn't want to spend the money on them (they can be a little pricey, depending on what you want).  My solution was to attach a piece of 2x4 on each side.  This gave it the look of being elevated while still creating a sturdy, usable piece.  I placed a 1x4 on the bottom of the crate's inside to secure through the crate to the 2x4.  And I screwed down from the inside, so there would not be any screw heads on the bottom threatening to snag the carpet.  I painted the 2x4 runners to be a little lighter than the crate, and the base of this project was complete!

Next came the top.  Joe cut me out a piece of particle board that was the same size as the top of the box, so all I had to do was upholster it...which you know I love to do, seeing as I get to use my birthday present!  I still get excited when I use these guys.
I have done a lot of upholstery tutorials in the last few months, so I am going to focus this time on things I have not covered in the other posts.  To see a good, simple explanation of a basic seat upholstery process, check out the Baby Piano Bench post, where you see how I did this:
Today, though, I will show you how to do a simple, modern tufted seat.  This was a first for me.  I saw it done while I was in my upholstery class, but never have done it myself.  Let me clarify that I'm not talking about deep formal tufting like this:
I want it to still feel clean and modern, so I went for a looser "tuft."  If there's a word for that, it would be nice to know!
I started by taking loose stuffing and spreading it evenly onto the particle-board top, then covered it with polyester batting to end up with this:
It's at this point that things get a little different than normal.  First, I flipped over the seat and drilled two holes at each place I wanted a "tuft" or button.  I wanted four places, so I ended up drilling eight holes. (Make sure they're evenly spaced!)
Next, I laid out and cut the fabric that I would be using.  I decided to go with a striped fabric I had on hand because the colors fit really well with the grey box and red stenciling.   I made sure I cut plenty of extra fabric, probably about 6 inches extra on each side, to make sure I had enough after all the tufting.  In hindsight, three inches extra probably would have been enough, but it's better safe than sorry.
After the fabric was cut, I stapled it with one staple on each side, just to keep it in place while I gave it "tufting surgery."  It was a very good patient for me.
I did not have any buttons to use, so I found a thick might have been a thread through and pull tight.  It's kind of the way you would tie a quilt, if you have ever done that.  I threaded it through from the bottom from one hole, then back through the top to the other hole and tied it off.  I was careful to pull equally as hard on each one, so it would look nice & even  in the end.
After you have the tufting done, finish the cushion like you would any other one, pulling tightly on each side to avoid wrinkles and stapling in place.  
I installed the top onto the crate with some hinges, and in a day I had this little beauty!
How many toys can you put in that little guy?
And some pictures of it in the store.

Thanks, Aunt Mary!
I'm linking up to:

1 comment:

  1. Oh my word!!! Totally want to do this now! I have an old wooden Sprite crate someone gave me... think I even have wheels out in the barn! Oh, super cute for a toybox! :)


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