Monday, June 13, 2011

Making a tufted bench

Posted by: Paulette
A couple of years ago I was driving by a neighbor's house and saw a pile of junk sitting on the curb for pickup. I'm embarrassed to say that I drove by quite a few times before working up the courage to look through the junk and ask if I could have some of it. In this world of pickers,  refashionistas and upcyclers, I should not be embarrassed to pick through someone's castaways. The thing that I'd seen from the street was the wonderful wrought iron detail. What I didn't know was that it was a blanket chest. After asking permission I loaded it into my van. After a little cleaning, and loading it up with blankets, it sat under a window in my room. But recently I got the idea that it could be a bench, and I could have a sort of window seat.
This is what it looks like now. I may choose to paint it in the future. It already has a lovely patina.
So, now I'll show you how I did it.

First, gather your supplies.
Drill and drill bits
staple gun
covered buttons kit
fabric scissors
marker or pencil
long needle (5 inches or longer)
fabric for covering bench and small piece of fabric for covering buttons
tape measure
dental floss

First, you'll need to do some measuring and math (ick) to mark where your holes will be.
Next, drill your holes. I used a 13/64 drill bit. You don't want your holes to be too small to find, or too large that the button can be pulled through.
Next, spread your batting over the top of your bench. I used some old pillows, and just spread out the stuffing. I love to reuse stuff on hand.
This next part is the most difficult. Hold the batting on, and flip it over onto the wrong side of your fabric.

You want your batting to overlap the edges of your bench top. Be generous with the fabric too. you can always cut off the extra, but it becomes a major pain to add to it!
Starting at the corners and working opposite to each, use your staple gun to a fix the fabric to the board. I ran out of staples and had to use upholstery tacks and a hammer. Either one will work. When the corners are done, making sure that you pull the fabric tight, do the sides. When you're finished trim off the excess and add any staples/tacks where you feel they are needed.

Now comes the fun part! Cover your buttons according to the instructions on your kit. And then you can begin tufting the bench.
I'll be using a yellow yarn to show how to do this. Use the dental floss. It's strong, and easier to work with than upholstery thread.
Take two strands of dental floss 16 inches each and tie a square knot to the washer. Thread your needle with all 4 strands of floss.
Stick your needle into one of the holes, pulling the needle all the way through the fabric.
Thread on one of your buttons and then poke your needle back through the hole to the other side. Pulling tight!
Separate the strands of floss into two sets of two. Thread one set under the washer and tie a square knot, pulling tight the whole time.
Repeat for the rest of your buttons.
So how was that? Clear as mud? I hope the pictures help!

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