Beautiful friends, I have the cutest stenciled bench makeover to share with y’all today! This is another piece from my Free Haul that was given to me by my awesome MIL.
This bench looked like something from a big box store:
Totally function over form here for sure. They had it in the garage for sitting on to put on shoes, but it was starting to show some wear on the top:
My first idea for this piece was to replace the legs with something curvier and recover the top.
So, I set out in search of a furniture piece I could steal the legs from, but after several trips to several thrift stores, I came up empty. Buying new legs was just not an option as they were super pricey.
Plan B: Stenciled Bench Makeover
I could feel wood beneath the padded top and decided to open it up and see if it had a nice piece of wood under there that I could stencil but underneath was this odd situation instead:
I would need to purchase wood if I wanted to go that route.
Lumber nowadays is insanely high priced, so I decided to see what I could pull from my dwindling stash that might work instead:
I pulled these two pieces…
One very nice, very pricey prime piece of lumber that we had leftover from our pantry makeover and a plywood scrap from another project.
A new seat
I cut the plywood in strips to match the prime lumber using my table saw:
Then I used my miter saw to cut the strips to fit the bench:
I ended up cutting one more narrow strip for the center so the gaps wouldn’t be so large in between.
Then I used my smaller Ryobi sander to sand all the planks, including the edges, smooth using 220 grit sandpaper.
This did a fantastic job of smoothing out even the edges of the plywood, so it looked like solid wood planks once painted!
Once I vacuumed up all the dust, I gave the base and the new seat planks two coats of Cotton:
(That was after just one coat.)
Then I attached my new seat to the base using my Ryobi nail gun:
Adding a stencil
To add a little more personality to the top of the bench, I chose this stencil I found on Amazon:
I like to add a little spray adhesive to the backs of my stencils to hold them in place and prevent paint from seeping under. Then I use a small brush to fill in the stencil. I prefer acrylic craft paint to fill them in since it’s easier to wash off the stencil than chalk paint.
As soon as the second coat went on, I pulled the stencil off:
Then I like to go back and fill in the small breaks that give it away as a stencil using a liner brush:
Once everything was dry, I went back with 220 grit sandpaper wrapped around an old sanding sponge and sanded all over, including across the stencil, to smooth everything out.
The base was black to start, so in order to give the appearance of black beneath the wood planks on top as well, I used the cheat method to “distress” the edges:
See more on how I do that in this short video:
If you have any trouble viewing, you can see it on YouTube HERE.
Here is how this box-store special looks now!
Let’s get a closer peek at that stencil…
Just enough to make this bench a bit more special!
The simple planked top is so much cuter than the original padded top.
This would be great on one side of a dining table or at the foot of the bed. It would also be perfect in an entryway!
Here you can see the faux distressing more closely…
This is such a cute stencil!
I probably wouldn’t have brought this home had I spied it at a thrift store or yard sale, but I loved giving it an update!
And I get to cross another project off my free-to-me pile!
See any you may have missed so far at the links below:
I’ll be back on Thursday with my Christmas Village. I don’t share it every year, but I’m excited to share the new idea I came up with for displaying it!
update: Check out my idea for displaying our christmas village that doesn’t take up any extra space here now!
See y’all then!
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