Monday, May 24, 2010

Frugal Home Decor: Add seating and color to your patio with a DIY recycled patio bench

We have pretty magnificent sunsets here. And there's nothing like relaxing on the porch and having a couple drinks in the evening. All we used to have for seating, though, were a couple of ugly plastic chairs, and those finally cracked and broke. So I set about gathering materials to build some deck furniture. I'm no expert carpenter, mind you, so I kept it simple for my first project: a wooden bench (cushions to come as soon as I can get by the fabric store). This is about the most simple bench you can build and it requires very few tools. It's a super quick, super easy, and super cheap, afternoon or weekend project.

All the materials used to build this bench were recycled, except the paint, and we got that on sale because it was already mixed. Even if you had to buy the wood, too, you'd spend less than $15.


4 2x4s, the desired length of your bench (we got these from a neighbor who had them left over)
hammer and nails
a hand saw or circular saw
1/2 quart of indoor/outdoor wood paint (if you have some leftover from another project, all the better)
a paintbrush
concrete cinderblocks or other support (leveled tree stumps, upside-down metal buckets, etc.)

  1. Take one of your 2x4s and cut from it 2 11" lengths. These are the pieces that will hold the your bench seat together. Scrap the rest of that plank and keep it for another project.

  2. Using an electric sander (unless you want really sore hands and arms), sand one side of the 3 long 2x4s until very smooth. Don't forget the edges and corners.

  3. Prop all 3 planks, smooth side down, atop your supports (or two sawhorses, etc.) and align them carefully. Place the two shorter pieces across them at either side, 5-6 inches from the edges, and mark around them with a pencil. If you have C clamps, you can skip the pencil marking and just clamp them together.

  4. Flip everything over, realign, and place one nail in the center of each long plank, aligned with the center of the short support pieces. (See image below.)

  5. Flip everything back over and hammer the sharp ends of the nails sideways so that they're flat against the wood.

  6. Paint! Follow the directions on the can as to how long to wait between coats; you'll probably want at least 2.
Et voila! Your new patio bench.

Tip: Use leftover paint to color other accent pieces on the porch or around the yard for a unified look. I used mine on some upcycled flower pots.

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