May 29, 2013

I truly admire a great DIY. It’s empowering to find inspiration and think “hey, I can make that!” then figure out a way to do it, and find satisfaction in the finished product. Today’s DIY comes from a darling family who wrote in about their recent project and I fell in love with it! Meet the Lashes from Mommy Vignettes.

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With a beautiful little girl and a second on the way, they had a nursery to plan. After struggling with years of infertility, Jill wanted this to be a special place for her girls. She could just envision a window seat where her daughters would read and play together. And so, they rolled up their sleeves and got to work. Jill is sharing the step by step instructions for this beautiful window seat bench. They love they way the nursery bench turned out so much, they made a second for their living room.

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1 IKEA Expedit Shelving Unit, already assembled

2 sets of Ikea Capita Legs (They got the 4 inch)

MDF Board, cut to dimensions for shelving unit (Home Depot will cut it for free)

Foam (Jill suggests purchasing it at Smith’s Marketplace. She says it is much less expensive than a craft store)

Quilting batting

Fabric of choice

3 inch screws

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1) Screw legs into bottom of shelving unit. We put the legs on each end and in the middle of the bench, totaling 6 legs.

2) Once the legs are attached to the shelving unit, you will need to cut the foam to fit the bench. Just place the piece of foam on top of the bench, use a Sharpie marker to mark the edges, then use a kitchen carving knife (electric) or whatever you have to cut the foam.

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3) Now comes the cushion part of the bench. Several tutorials I saw skipped this step, but I would recommend adding quilt batting first, before the fabric. I bought a humongous bag of quilt batting at Walmart for about $5. First set the piece of quilt batting on the floor/table/bench, then the foam, then the MDF board.

*We actually stapled the fabric to the board/foam without the quilt batting the first time, then realized it didn’t look very good. We could see bumps and areas where the foam wasn’t quite straight, and it was hard to get the fabric tight enough. So we removed the staples and fabric and added the quilt batting.
4) Simply stretch the quilt batting over the edges of the foam and MDF board and staple it with a staple gun! This was actually really fun. I found that by adding quilt batting, it provided a tighter surface area to stretch the final fabric over, which helped keep it nice and tight fitting.

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5) After stapling the quilt batting, you will repeat the step but using fabric this time. You can choose any type of fabric you want. For the window bench in our nursery, we chose Pearl bracelet Andover fabric in Citron color . I had previously cut it and ironed it for a smooth surface once it was stapled on.

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6) For our living room bench, we chose Waverly Sun N Shade Lovely Lattice in Lagoon color. I can’t tell you how long it took me to decide on which fabric to use. I would suggest waiting until you absolutely fall in love with something.

* When choosing fabric, I would recommend a sturdy type, such as the Waverly Fabric I chose for our living room bench. It’s an indoor/outdoor fabric made of durable Teflon-coated polyester fabric. It’s breathable, will hold up to harsh sunlight, resist mold, mildew, soil, and stains. And they are easy to wipe off and clean. The fabric we chose for our nursery, the Pearl bracelet fabric, is a simple cotton fabric. I fell in love with the print that I decided to go with it even though the fabric itself isn’t very sturdy. This may prove to be a mistake in the future, we’ll have to see. I can already tell a huge difference in quality of the fabrics I chose, and would recommend going with a sturdy indoor/outdoor type of fabric. I highly suggest viewing it in person to get the most accurate coloring/texture. There were many samples that I saw online but once I saw it in real life, the coloring was completely different. If you can’t go see it for yourself in a craft store, then ask the seller to send you an actual picture in natural light. Both of the fabrics we chose were not available in my area, but the computer image compared to an actual picture of the fabric in natural light was such a huge difference, the difference between choosing it and not.

7) Pull the fabric tightly over the edge of the foam/board and staple it down. I actually folded the fabric so that the staple had 2 layers to grab onto to help prevent tearing in the future. I found it was easier to stretch the fabric tighter when it was on a slippery surface like the top of the Expedit shelf, rather than on the carpet. You will want to pull and stretch the fabric generously to ensure the final product is tight with no puckering.

The corners got a little tricky, I had to experiment folding the fabric down different ways so it wouldn’t pucker. When I finally found something that worked, I went to town staple gunning it down.

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The cushion is now complete with the MDF board, foam, quilt batting, and fabric. The final step is to attach the cushion part to the actual bench.

8) Simply grab some 3 inch screws, and screw them into the MDF board from underneath the bench. We screwed 2 into each end, plus another set in the middle to hold it on tight.

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Don’t you love how it completes the room? Bravo Jill! To see the other room details (love love that stencil!), head over to Jill’s blog.

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Have a DIY you think is great? Write me about it (jen@withheart.com) and it could be featured here on withHEART!

Here’s what I need for a submission:

1) High quality photos of the project (step by step, and finished product)

2) Step by step instructions

3) Some background about the project (inspiration, design, motivation, etc.)

4) A photo of you and a little about yourself

This will be ongoing, so no deadline. Happy creating!

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  1. Shannon says:

    I LOVE this! Great post!

  2. Sunny says:

    So cute! Love this idea.

  3. I love it! I’m going to try recreate it! Can this be done a little bit wider like a bed with storage below it? Where can I get the boxes for storage? thanks for the help!


  4. melissa says:

    How much weight do you think this bench can hold? Thank you πŸ™‚

    • Jen says:

      Hi Melissa, I’m not sure, but I believe it’s pretty sturdy! You can check out the shelves used at an IKEA store. Thanks for reading!

    • Jill says:

      Hi there, I’m the one who put this window bench seat together. The bench I used from Ikea is no longer available but I suggest on my website that you use the Kallax shelving unit that is available now. Ikea’s website says this shelving unit’s Max load/shelf: 13 kg and Max. load/wall cabinet: 30 kg. THis is of course of you’re using it upright as a bookshelf. We have supported several adults on our window benches without any trouble.

  5. Melissa says:

    How much fabric did you need for this project? Thank you!

  6. Sara says:

    Wish I could see the pictures, but photobucket says you need more bandwidth!

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