I love a good deal, but I love even more when I find things for free. Where we live, people place their unwanted household items out on the sidewalk in front of their homes or apartment complexes. The city will send the “bulk trash” guys out once a month to pick up anything that people haven’t already pounced on.
I am a pouncer – but only when I can picture what I will use it for. Generally, electronic devices are a lost cause (unless you’re the type of mom with a mechanically inclined child, then you pick it up for them to take apart). My thing is furniture if I’m certain I can give it a good makeover and a new purpose. I look once… twice… and if inspiration comes to me right away, I pounce.
I was driving in our neighborhood when I saw this sweet piano bench. It looked so forlorn, abandoned, and leftover from a garage sale earlier that day. I placed it gently in the back of my little pick up truck and drove it home.
Orphaned No Longer
I knew I wanted to paint it, but it occurred to me that with such a small piece, I could also try my hand at upholstery. I had just seen some cute little stools made into tufts on Pinterest. The first thing I had to do was scrape off the old clear coat and then sand everything – used a piece of medium grit sandpaper.
The hardware was all in tact, very strong hinges. I could tell that this piece was well made, or at least very well taken care of. I was pleasantly surprise to see the sticker underneath that indicated a service record of the piano back to 1964 – over 50 years ago! I unscrewed the two hinges to remove the top piece of the bench for the upholstery process.
I found this Foam Craft Cushion at Walmart for about $9. This was my first project, but if I plan to do more in the future, I’m definitely bulk ordering. The best find for foam cushioning I found is on Amazon – for $20 more you can get seven times as much foam!
Choosing the Fabric
The local fabric store was very…ummmm….local. Probably 95% Hawaiian prints and a little bitty shelf in the back on the bottom with remnant fabric of other styles. I was looking for something to match my home’s rustic French farmhouse theme. I loved this floral pattern because it was still subtle enough with a realistic flower pattern than would not overpower the other prints in my living room. 2 yards was all I needed. (You will also need a pair of fabric scissors).
Place fabric down first, then the foam padding equally under the piece to be upholstered. You will need a staple gun for this job as it will sink through the wood quickly and hold well. I prefer a heavy duty steel stapler – most come with staples, but you can buy the refill pack here.
Pull It Together
Literally, pull it together on both sides and secure the middle with a staple. If it helps to cut off any excess fabric around the edges as you go, it’s fine as long as it’s not too short to pull tighter as you go. When both sides are tight, pull the ends down and wrap as you would a present, securing them toward the edge of the wood.
I still had some leftover paint from my Rustic Dining Table and French Secretary Desk projects. It was just enough to cover the legs here and match the rest of my living room décor. I used a common white water-based primer with a small roller and used a finishing brush for the hard to reach crevices. Rolling made for a smooth finish and dried in about an hour. I used the roller again for two coats of paint.
I used a water-based polycrylic clear coat to finish the table. (Important to use water-based materials together, do not mix with oil-based) One or two coats is all you need, could do more if the table top will be used a lot. There are different options for finishes including polyurethane and finishing wax (usually used over chalk paint). Here are some more tips on the difference between polycrylic and polyurethane.
After allowing the bottom to dry, I screwed the hinges back on and trimmed more of the fabric closest to the staples on the inside. It closed beautifully and fabric pulled tight enough to make the cushion overlap some, but well rounded on the sides to make this sweet little bench.