Over the weekend – on a blustery winter night, actually, my neighbor stopped over to let me know he was putting some furniture to the curb. It was a funny, sort of awkward social gesture. He didn’t want to offend me by offering me his garbage and I didn’t want to openly reject his garbage. But, we’ve been neighbors for over ten years and have come to appreciate each other’s mutual interest in reducing waste. I’m also very open about hand-me-downs and garbage picking. So it wasn’t weird, and I did say I’d take a look.
At 11PM I walked over with a flashlight – discrete, right? And I found this perfect little bench with hidden storage compartments. It’s the first week of January, who isn’t thinking about how to organize!
The Best DIY Home Project for Winter
Part of the reason I hesitate on furniture projects in the dead of winter is that I can’t work on them outside where I’m safe from fumes and dust. However, the best furniture upcycling and refresh projects to do in winter are reupholster projects. I speak from experience when I sweated my butt off reupholstering my couch last summer. That would have been much better in the winter, let me tell you.
Setting a Project Timeline
My plan was to finish reupholstering this storage bench in the time it took to listen to They Might Be Giants’ album Flood. It’s fun to set time challenges like this – at least for me so I don’t get distracted with Pinterest and what not. I was almost successful until I found out that with an extra layer of fabric, the bench seat didn’t fit between the side pieces of the bench. Bummer! Redo. I ended up playing Flood and Lincoln to get the job done.
In pulling apart the previous layers of fabric – there were 3 – I came to the final layer.
Fabric Tacks vs. Staple Gun
The other interesting discovery I had was the original fabric and second layer of fabric were attached to the wood with fabric tacks. The third layer, as seen in the before and after photo, was attached with staples. You may know from previous reupholster posts like the office chair makeover, that I only like to use tacks. Yes, they take longer, but they are much less frustrating and give a cleaner, more professional look when finished. Staples can look really sloppy, which is to be considered for a job like this where you’re going to look at the underside every time you open the bench.
For the longest time I used tiny, itsy-bitsy upholstery tacks that I’d bought at an estate sale. I finally used them up and was devastated when I could not find them in stores. The closest I could find were Wire Nails. If you click the link it’s an affiliate link to the nails on Amazon where you can get the exact specs. I honestly like these better than the old fabric tacks. They are smooth and thin, and hammer into the wood easily.
Choosing the Right Fabric
In my book, the best fabric is something you already have on hand as long as it’s appropriate for the job. For this job I needed upholstery fabric and when I look on my fabric shelves I found a remnant from my mod bench project. I splurged on this project and was so happy that I did because I loved the finished piece. However I sold it about a year ago. I cannot tell you how excited I was that I could reuse the scrap piece for this project.
The bottom line, there is no sense doing the work to reupholster something with the wrong fabric. But, take the time to properly store and inventory your fabric supply and you can save money on future projects. Yay!
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