DIY Upholstered Velvet Bench with Storage (+mini rant)
Have you heard the saying:
”Why would you pay for the ready-made item when you can make it yourself and spend more money on materials alone?
That’s essentially how so many crafts work these days, and it fucking sucks. I’m a handcrafter, born and bread, and I’ve always had the philosophy that if I can (reasonably and feel like it) and know how to make it myself, I won’t buy the ready-made version.
Big brands produce huge quantities and outsource the labour from where ever it is the cheapest, so usually somewhere in Asia, and get the material cheaper in bulk than the average consumer. That means people who like to make clothes, furniture, or what ever handcrafts you can think of, often end up spending more money on the materials than the cost of the product would be at the store. Of course it’s not a one-to-one comparison because it depends on so many variables like skill level, customisability, quality of the materials and accessibility. In my opinion nothing beats a well crafted fully customised product you made yourself, it’s just a matter of what you like to do and how you choose to spend your money.
I had been wanting a storage bench for the bedroom but usually the ones I like and are the right size start from 200€ and easily go up to 500€, and that to me feels insane. So like the maniac I am, I decided I’m just gonna make one myself. I don’t plan much so the idea was just a wooden box, with some nice legs and upholstered in velvet.
I made the box first because wood is readily available, and then found some nice metal legs to match the style I’m going for in the bedroom. Then I ordered the fabric and padding from Germany because there is a good online fabric store that has lots to choose from and prices are cheaper than what I could find at the store here. It took a while for it to arrive but once I the rest of the materials, it was smooth sailing.
I resently spend a pretty penny on this Dewalt table saw and my god it’s such a joy to use, cuts like butter! I do need to build a table around it and a crosscut sled to get the most out of it but it’s so darn good right out of the box. And no, it’s not ”ours”, it’s MINE!
If you remember my pathetic dowel aligning attemps from this post:https://hive.blog/diy/@eveuncovered/diy-hell, you’ll be happy to hear that I have invested 22,90€ in this Wolfcraft dowel thingy and it’s the best money I’ve spend in a long long time. It’s so fucking simple it’s genious.
I joined the box with dowels because even though using screws would have been easier and they will be covered with fabric anyways, I wanted to try this thing out.
The box came out to 103 X 40 X 33cm, the legs with the support frame add 22cm in height and then the padding a bit more.
I’ve never upholstered anything but I watched a youtube video and for a box with straight lines, it’s not fucking rocket science. Spray glue, tack on the foam, padding on top, secure with staples, then the fabric and a ton more staples. The sides have padding too so it’s just that little bit more luxurious than just wrapping with the fabric. If one were to ask the pro’s, they’d probably instruct that you have to put a cotton fabric in between the padding and the velvet because the padding is quite rough and in time will start to eat away the velvet. I chose not to do that because I used a polyester upholstery velvet that is more durable and not as nice as the real deal, so I’m allowing myself to cut some corners on my first project. I can always re-do this when I feel it needs a change.
I’m leaving the inside ugly because I’m lazy and if there is something I need to change, it’s easier if I don’t perfect the inside. This bench is also not going to be opened daily, it’s more so to store extra linens.
The upholstery took me a couple hours but it was fairly easy and quite fun.
To give extra support, allow for longer screws and to have a neat bottom edge, I made a 6cm wide frame from the leftover wood and attached the legs through that. I think that was a great choice and the only thing I would do differently is to make the frame a bit smaller than the box so it would look more airy if you understand what I mean, but it’s fine, I’m not changing it now.
I just finished the project and honesty I’m pretty pleased. Or I was until I got the stupid fucking idea to add up what I spend on the materials and compare that to the price of benches at some basic furniture stores. Big mistake I tell ya!
For transparency, here’s the approximate list:
Wood (18mm pine and spruce) ≈ 73€
Foam (=a baby bed mattress from Ikea, 50% cheaper than the same foam elsewhere) 24,90€
Fabric (2m velvet) 36€
Padding (2m) 18€
Spray adhesive 7,95€
Metal feet 51.8€
Total≈ 215€ + labour + tools