DIY – Ballard Designs bench

21 Oct

I love Ballard Designs.  I get giddy when I open the mailbox and find a clean, crisp Ballard Designs magazine waiting for me.  I love the simplicity mixed with some vintage and mixed a little more with modern…unbelievable inspiration is found on every page.

Sweet P loves Ballard Designs too…taking an old magazine and designing a house for her ZhuZhu pets with cut out pictures of tables, chairs, mirrors and accessories.  I think we have a budding designer on our hands.

So this bench has been on my radar for years.  I love the honeycomb fabric that is all the rage and that was always how I envisioned the bench in my entry.  We definitely cannot nor would I ever pay the big price tag for the bench but I really, really wanted it.  So I was on a mission and searched the internet for ‘how to’ projects and tutorials but found nothing that looked like the Ballard Designs style bench.

And then my partner in crime, Angie, posted this and changed everything…for the good.  I fell in love with that chair!

After looking in a 10 mile radius of my house ended in utter failure, I drove clear across Houston to mother of all fabric stores, Glick’s.  I walked in and sweetly asked if they had a ‘large black and white stripe’ fabric.  She smiles and says ‘I don’t think so but let’s go look’.  My heart sank but I followed her to the back…it was like slow motion in a crazy dream where Javier Bardem is waiting for me in a dark alley.  Oh, sorry…did I just say that?

Ok, so I followed her, she points and says ‘something like this?’  I screamed YES!  Jumped up and down and I think I might have hugged her too….

$10 bucks later and I walked out with the most perfect black and white stripe fabric ever.

So…my wheels starting turning.  I couldn’t find a tutorial on a bench like I wanted…so the next best thing was to make it myself.  And I drove to Lowe’s…and this is how it all went down:

72″ MDF, cut down at Lowe’s to 60″:  $2.14

4 pine legs, 15″ tall: $6 each on sale

Valspar Black spray paint, satin finish:  $3.97

Foam padding from Hobby Lobby:  $16 after 25% off coupon

Quilt batting for softness:  $4.99 at Hobby Lobby

Fabric: $10

Dowel Screws: $3

My neighbor’s drill because ours was dead:  FREE

ballard designs bench

I measured the center of the pre-drilled hole in the table leg and marked the same spot on the corner of the MDF board.

do it yourself bench

I found old spindles in Round Top for $1 each…kept going back and eventually couldn’t figure out what I would do with them so left them behind.  Got home the next day and cried a river because I could have used them for my bench legs…live and learn.

Laid the legs in the driveway on painter’s plastic which has been used over…and over…and over….

do it yourself bench legs

This is 1 coat…I eventually used 4 coats of paint…did not take long at all.

do it yourself bench legs black

My thought was to use the below screws, drill them in the board from the top and after the board was covered, screw the legs up into them.  That is WRONG! HA!  Didn’t work at all….

Another trip to Lowe’s and learned “Dowel Screws” are just what I needed.  They are double ended…one end screws up into the board underneath and the legs screw onto the other end.  Simple.  Who knew??  Now you do too!

dowel screws

Laid the foam on top of the board.  It was pretty wide and I was able to cut 3 layers of foam:

do it yourself bench foam

Using my kitchen serrated knife…don’t hate me because I am inventive…or crazy…or weird for using my knife.

Covered the 3 layers with quilt batting to give a more softer look and feel…

Stapled the quilt batting underneath to help stabilize the foam….and you can see one end of the dowel screw underneath.

dowel screw

Tightened it up with pliers…those are pliers, right??

Okay…this is interesting….the fabric I bought was only 54″ wide which is pretty much the standard.

Since I am making a ‘custom’ bench, I had to make custom fabric to fit the 60″ length.

So I laid the fabric on the bench, cut a piece to fit the remaining 12 inches.  I choose to match up the black stripe.  I flipped it so right sides were facing eachother, and pinned the pieces together…

Borrowed my neighbor’s sewing machine…because mine bit the dust and I haven’t had time to buy another one.  But I am completely in love with her machine, which she admits she never uses.

Sewed a straight line…and there you go…62″ fabric created..and no seams Mom!

Laid the new 62″ fabric on the bench (notice my little helper…she keeps me company)

Flipped the entire bench over.

Got out the staple gun which I did NOT borrow….and went to town.

Screwed the legs into the dowel screws once all the fabric was pulled tightly and stapled.  I did trim all the fabric underneath too.

There she is…standing on her legs for the first time.  I feel so proud…sniff, sniff.

And here she is…her new home in my entry.  The pillows are not staying…that is another tutorial coming your way.

black and white stripe bench fabric

Making this bench was my first ever ‘made from scratch’ piece I have ever done. I can paint the heck out of anything but was completely intimidated by drilling, cutting, tools, and stapling.

It was definitely a learning process and had I not made the second trip to Lowe’s for the dowel screws, the entire project probably took less than 2 hours to make.

$599 for a ready made bench OR 2 hours of creating and learning and about $65 of my pennies saved?

I’d do it again in heartbeat and it was so much fun.

Now I don’t know if I would sit on the bench but it sure does look pretty in my house!

Now go build something!

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186 Responses to “DIY – Ballard Designs bench”

  1. meredith October 22, 2010 at 10:54 am #

    How cute is this bench?!? I too have been wanting a bench for my entyway-but did not want to shell out that much money. I may have to give this a try! Well done!

    • Angie & Carrie October 22, 2010 at 11:11 am #

      Meredith, you should absolutely make this bench! And please share with us when its finished…we will have a bench party!!

  2. maggie @ sidebysideblog October 22, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    ooooh! i’m so jealous of this bench! the fabric is beautiful!!!

    • Angie & Carrie October 22, 2010 at 8:11 pm #

      Maggie, don’t you love the stripes?! If you decide to make this bench, please share it with us! We would love to see what fabric you choose!

  3. Jennifer October 22, 2010 at 11:56 pm #

    Love Love LOVE!! I am seriously always looking out for a thrifty bench I can make over. psshhh!!! Im going to make my own now. Thank you for showing the “how to”.. Yours turned out fab and I love your pillows. Did you make those too? K cant wait to read the rest of your blog..


  4. Tracie October 23, 2010 at 10:54 am #

    This is gorgeous! What great work! I love it!

  5. angie October 23, 2010 at 6:37 pm #

    Love the black and white strips; so bold, yet so classic. It really makes a statement in the entry.

  6. ann October 23, 2010 at 7:29 pm #

    Awesome job! Bonkers over that b/w fabric!

  7. Rose :: October 24, 2010 at 11:25 am #

    YES, I share the passion over the fabric…
    and I got some.

    Here’s the tip of the day:
    it’s available for you too,
    exact same fabric …. at IKEA!!

  8. Angie & Carrie October 24, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    Rose, thank you so much for this tip!!! This is a good one! I want to make a bench like Carrie’s and I don’t have a Glick’s where I live. I never would have imagined Ikea had this fabric. Do you know how much it is? Thank you!

  9. Cinnibonbon October 24, 2010 at 2:36 pm #

    Love it. The crispness is wonderful. Thanks for showing the steps!!!!

  10. Rene October 25, 2010 at 6:18 am #

    Great tutorial! Your bench is simply gorgeous!


  11. Chrissie October 25, 2010 at 6:20 am #

    What a great project. I think I might could do this! I love the bench and love the black and white fabric. Awesome!

    • Angie & Carrie October 25, 2010 at 7:09 pm #

      Chrissie, we hope you make this bench and share your pictures with us!

  12. Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage October 25, 2010 at 7:07 am #

    AWESOME job!! :)

  13. Laurie at House to Your Home October 25, 2010 at 7:34 am #

    This bench is amazing, love the fabric, this is for sure going in my style file!! Thanks for sharing!

  14. kristin October 25, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    This is fabulous, you make it look so easy :) Thanks for the tutorial, love your sight!
    Take care

    • Angie & Carrie October 25, 2010 at 7:18 pm #

      Hi Kristin, it was honestly the easiest project I have ever done! No sanding paint, no spraying painting, no nothing! :)

  15. SueAnn October 26, 2010 at 8:01 am #

    What a gorgeous bench! Love the fabric you chose! And it does seem simple! I may give this a try!

  16. Julie October 27, 2010 at 7:13 pm #

    Great job & I love the fabric, too!

  17. anna see October 29, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    Wow! I am seriously impressed by this bench project!!

  18. Aja November 2, 2010 at 7:19 am #

    OHMYGOSH!! I have had benches on the brain forever! This looks soo much better than making over a crappy one from the Goodwill! :) Way to go! I’ll be adding this to my never-ending project list!

    • Angie & Carrie November 2, 2010 at 10:41 am #

      Ah…the never ending project list! I have one too but this bench should be put at the top of your list! So easy and beautiful! Please share some pictures of your bench with us!

  19. Katie November 2, 2010 at 8:05 pm #

    LOVE the fabric AND the bench. You did a heck of a job for a first time ‘from scratch!’ It’s gorgeous! You may see this on my blog some day and I’ll give you all the credit. Love it.
    Feel free to link it up to our party as well! Katie

    • Angie & Carrie November 2, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

      Please make the bench Katie! We are dying to see someone take on this project!

  20. pk @ Room Remix November 3, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    Great job on the bench DIY! Your fabric choice is fun too.

  21. Lynda Quintero-Davids November 4, 2010 at 6:38 am #

    Fantastic idea with a beautifully executed end result!

    :D Lynda

  22. Jenn L @ Peas and Crayons November 4, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    I can’t wait to make this! Yes! Thanks for posting this — i’ve been drooling over benches online for days now and almost all of the ones I liked were in the $200-300 dollar range! You’re a lifesaver!


  23. Shaunna November 6, 2010 at 6:29 am #

    Um, yes, this is fabulous. I’ll be featuring it as one of my favs today! Thanks for linking up to Style Feature Saturday! -shaunna :)

    • Angie & Carrie November 6, 2010 at 7:55 am #

      Yeah for Shaunna! Can’t wait to see your bench!

      And we love your blog too! We hope to start featuring our favorite blogs soon and yours will definitely be one of them!

  24. Remodelaholic November 6, 2010 at 10:31 am #

    We love this party link and I wanted to let you know that we are planning on featuring it on our blog. We hope that you get a bunch of new visitors and readers. If there is any chance that you could post about being featured on Remodelaholic, we would really appreciate it.

    • Angie & Carrie November 10, 2010 at 6:28 am #

      We are actually working on a page with our ‘favorite’ blogs and party links and Remodelaholic is definitely on there! Let us know when you feature the bench so we can let our readers know to visit Remodelaholic too!

  25. Jenn L @ Peas and Crayons November 9, 2010 at 6:35 am #

    Peas & Crayons Does Furniture!

    I found a fabulous bold fabric… and then decided recycling an old curtain would be the smartest thing to do… which means I now have to find a new project for my crazy fabric! woot! =)

    Thanks for the tutorial! It made for a fun Sunday!

  26. Michele November 10, 2010 at 4:40 pm #


    Love the bench. I am confused about the hidden seam part . . . help!

    • Angie & Carrie November 10, 2010 at 8:40 pm #

      That part is a little confusing, I am sorry! If you want to make a piece of fabric longer, you need to sew additional length to the end. You should find 2 pieces that will match up…I matched the black stripe…line up the fabric, right side facing right side, and pin. Kind of like putting a sandwich together…you want the peanut butter on the inside, not the outside. After sewing, open up the fabric and the stripes should match perfectly…adding additional length to your fabric.

      I hope that helps!

  27. Heather November 11, 2010 at 1:48 pm #

    I really liked you bench – I linked it to my benches post! Great job… and that fabric is so nice!

  28. nancy November 18, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    This was a wonderful tutorial! I learned so much and I am thinking about making a bench. I don’t need one, but now I want to make one!
    Thank you so much!

  29. Lisa L November 20, 2010 at 9:06 am #

    I absolutely LOVE this and plan to make one for myself VERY soon! My only concern is how much weight will it hold? Have you had anyone sit on it yet?

    • Angie & Carrie November 20, 2010 at 10:50 am #

      I am so happy you like the bench! I love it in my entry! Both of my children sit on the bench just fine. My bench is long and I used MDF for the wood..because it was only $2. I would imagine if you made the bench a standard length and used solid wood for the base, it would be even more sturdy. Good luck! And share pictures with us after your finished! :)

  30. homeroad March 25, 2011 at 5:51 am #

    Great bench! Come link up to my 1st Link Party!
    Have a great day!

  31. Ashley March 25, 2011 at 6:36 am #

    soooo cute guys. I would avoid sitting on it though, MDF is not sturdy unless reinforced! If you want to make your own furniture check out, she walks you through the whole process from making the plans to purchasing your wood and assembly. She even discusses types of wood, wood grades, tools and how to use them. Its definitely not a “woodworking” site but its a great resource if you are looking to make functional furniture inexpensively. check it out! and keep on building :)

    • Angie & Carrie March 25, 2011 at 10:27 am #

      Hey Ashley! Ana White is amazing and has great tutorials! I choose the MDF because I really didn’t want to spend alot on this project…and it turned out wonderful! xoxo, Angie & Carrie

  32. janette@the2seasons March 25, 2011 at 7:11 am #

    i just discovered your blog. Great minds think alike. My daughter and I have a blog called because we are in two different seasons of our lives (we call her Spring and me Autumn), she just bought her first house with her husband and we are down-sizing, she lives in the north and i live in the south but we have similar tastes in just about everything. I think she can totally use your bench idea in her dining room, which she has written lots of posts about. i am going to send her the link ASAP.

    • Angie & Carrie March 25, 2011 at 10:24 am #

      Love the mother/daughter blog combo!! Angie & I writing together has been such a blessing to us…we have discovered so much about eachother even though we’ve been friends for years! We’ll definitely pop in over at your blog!!!

  33. Pam March 25, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    Angie – this bench is to die for! What an awesome job. Thanks for posting the “how-to”. I would have never figured out the dowl idea. I have been on the lookout for a bench for my entry hall and haven’t found one that would fit. Now I can just make it myself. :^)

    • Angie & Carrie March 25, 2011 at 10:23 am #

      You should absolutely make a bench…can’t wait to see what you come up with!! xoxo, Angie and Carrie

  34. Centsational Girl March 25, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    Love love love this! I was just at Lowes yesterday cuttting up some plywood for a tufted version of an ottoman, so Ms. Limestone linked to your version and I just had to come over and say ‘BRAVO!’ I loved seeing how you pulled this together!!!! Just gorgeous!

    • Angie & Carrie March 25, 2011 at 10:22 am #

      Kate!!! Can’t wait to see your ottoman!!!! Thank you for coming over to say HI!! xoxo, Carrie and Angie

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  35. Laura@JourneyChic March 25, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    Over here from Brooklyn Limestone, and so glad she featured you! I’ve been in love with that Ballard bench for ever, and “settled” for one (less expensive) from C&B because I had a gift card. Had I been as ingenious as you, I would have totally gone for this. I am already trying to think of another place in the house that would be bench-worthy just so I can put your tutorial to work!

    • Angie & Carrie March 25, 2011 at 10:20 am #

      Hi Laura! That Ballard bench is amazing and I wanted it forever but really couldn’t justify spending the money. So…that lightbulb went off and I tried to make one myself. I hope you try the bench too….I would love to see what you come up with!! xoxo, Carrie and Angie

  36. kristin March 25, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    I love the look of this bench but I am wondering…….with a full 60 inches between the legs could a 200 pound adult sit in the middle of this bench and not make a quick trip to the floor?

    • Angie & Carrie March 25, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

      You can totally customize the length of your bench. I wanted a bench to fit a certain length along my entryway so I measured that length and took it from there. And we’ve had no issues! :)

  37. Elsa March 25, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. I am TOTALLY borrowing this idea from you because I too have been in love with this bench for a long time. And as a native Houstonian I can’t believe I have never been to Glick’s…guess I’ll be spending sometime there this weekend!

    • Angie & Carrie March 25, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

      Girl…I say SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!! LOL!!! Glick’s is INSANE! Floor to ceiling fabric, trim…anything you can think of, they have! And they are so nice and helpful there too. I hope you make the bench and share with us the finished product!! xoxo, Carrie & Angie

  38. Amanda March 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    This is beautiful. I love the fabric choice. Though for some reason I can’t wrap my brain around these dowel screws, and how they work. :S Oh well, the bench is lovely.

    • Angie & Carrie March 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

      I couldn’t quite understand the dowel screws either at Lowe’s but once I actually got to work, they made perfect sense. :)

  39. Jessica March 25, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    The bench looks amazing. What a fabulous project. This is the perfect project to finish up the update on the hallway I’ve working on. I was wondering how wide your bench is. Maybe 12,16 inches?

    • Angie & Carrie March 26, 2011 at 7:38 am #

      The bench is 16in wide. I wanted something narrow in my long entry. I have a beautiful 1800′s gate on the wall in my entry and the bench has made a huge difference…the entry looks complete. It would make a huge statement in your entry too! Thanks for your sweet comment Jessica!! xoxo, Angie & Carrie

  40. Kristy Swain March 26, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    Saw you on’s diy search. These are awesome. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  41. Michelle March 26, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    Shut up! Ten dollars?!?!?! I am definitely making this. Also, I just learned a cool tip from my father in law. A great way to cut foam, especially when it’s thick is using an electric knife, like what you would use on your turkey!

    • Angie & Carrie March 26, 2011 at 10:29 am #

      I wish I had an electric knife! I used a serrated knife instead and it worked great! ;) thank you for coming by to say hi!! Xoxo, Angie ad carrie

    • Tina March 12, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

      I just completed my own bench today, $70 start to finish. $40 of which was for 4′ of 2″ foam. My bench is 18″ x 56″ . The woman who cut my foam at the fabric store used an electric knife, it cut it like butter, so effortlessly. Highly recommend an electric knife…..clean lines. I used plywood versus mdf, should reduce stress on bench caused by weight.

      • Laura July 16, 2013 at 11:07 am #

        I completed my bench today too. It’s 20″ by 52″ but mine isn’t very sturdy and I used plywood as well…Is yours?? I am thinking of adding another set of legs in the middle to reinforce. Not sure. Did I made it too wide?

  42. Jennifer March 26, 2011 at 10:46 am #


    You bought the Waddell type legs? (I got some at home depot, never occurred to my I should’ve had them cut down to size what I needed – I just went with an inch shorter version for my chair)

    Now, speaking about those dowel screws…

    My chair is one of those nice expense ones from Pier One…BUT…I did NOT buy it; they were throwing away the torn up occasional chair, and my husband patiently let me bring it home – from the dumpster – and we did try shoving it in our car, but instead hubby and a friend went back for it in our friend truck (Our real mission was to find moving boxes, that’s how I saw it, and it did come down to a really great box for the mirror, and art work, or the chair. I picked the chair, but atlas, it did not fit, so we took home the box; I was bummed about the chair, told/convinced our friend and they went back to get it the next day, so I got both! Which also means we lugged this sorry looking piece cross-country so I could have hopes of finishing it!). Half of the fabric was cut out and 2 legs were missing, but it had a REALLY good frame none the less! Plus a few spiders and leaves – but hey, compared to paying $300 for it, it was free! :D The insanity!

    Anyways, so I finally found/bought cheap legs (I was looking up “chair legs” and should’ve been looking up “table legs”) Now, probably like yours, it came with pre-installed dowels. Only problem, one side is blunt, while the pointed side is in the leg. The blunt side was made for those screw on metal brackets apparently.. which I did not have, and don’t look stable for a chair of this capacity!

    So now I am in fear for how they will hold up. I think I need to go back and find a good pair of dowel screws, that would help! So THANK YOU for showing me that! Here’s to wishing!!! :D

    • Angie & Carrie March 26, 2011 at 11:58 am #

      Wow! You officially get the award for best comment! ;) . Actually my legs did not come with pre-installed screws. They only had pre-drilled holes for screws and the awesome guys at Lowes told me I could use the metal brackets or use dowel screws. I opted for the easy version…dowel screws. ;) .

      • Jennifer March 26, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

        LoL, Thanks!
        One of these days I will post more to my 2 posts blog (currently) and then the world can see the chair! Exciting!

  43. Monica March 27, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

    This is Gorgeous!!!

  44. Ana March 28, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    What an amazing creation! Great job! I love inexpensive knock-offs :)
    I just have one question: Is the MDF board sturdy enough for a regular-sized adult to sit on?

    I am SO making this! Thank you for the detailed tutorial.

    • Angie & Carrie March 28, 2011 at 9:16 am #

      MDF is not as sturdy as plywood. I chose MDF because it was cheap and I didn’t know how the bench would turn out, being my first try at building something, HA! We’ve had no issues with it but the bench is mainly used in our entry. If you plan on making the bench for every day use, I would suggest plywood. :) Thanks for your sweet comment too! xoxo, Carrie & Angie

  45. Miz D April 7, 2011 at 3:03 am #

    I am So thrilled ran across your blog and this project! You did an amazing job and I am definitey going to try my hand at this…thanks for much for the inspiration.

  46. sandy April 7, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    What a fantastic idea! We’re doing a major remodel in a poorly treated 1970′s home that we fell in love with. The master bedroom is now 95% done and this bench will be a perfect finishing touch at the end of the bed! It’s so nice to find ways to have inexpensive furniture that looks great. :)


  47. CC April 10, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Quick, smart, love it!

  48. Jen April 15, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    I spend my days scouring stores and the internet for a suitable bench for the end of my bed. I can never find exactly what I want. Now I have!! Thank you!!

    (found via Brooklyn Limestone)


    • Angie & Carrie April 15, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

      Benches are so expensive, aren’t they? I hope make the bench and share the finished product with us! xoxo, Carrie & Angie

  49. Sara April 20, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    Okay – I’m looking for a bench for the end of our bed. And was just about to pull the trigger on the Ballard Design bench when I saw your post in Google and clicked on it. I’m inspired and totally going to try and make this!! Never done anything like this before – paint, yes. Building, no m’am. Wish me luck! I’ll send a pic if it turns out good :)

    p.s. CAN you sit on your bench?? I have a 2 year old that will be all over this. Hope it’s sturdy!!

    • Angie & Carrie April 20, 2011 at 10:10 am #

      Hey Sara! I almost bought the Ballard bench too but could not do it! So the bench was created…and I really love it! I used MDF for my bench only because I didn’t want to spend alot of money on wood if the design I imagined in my head didn’t work in real life. I also have a 2 year old little boy and I would suggest using plywood because it will definitely be more sturdy than MDF.

      Please, please share with us your finished bench…can’t wait to see it finished! And…an added bonus to creating your own…you can change the fabric anytime! (I might change the stripe soon!) xoxo, Carrie

    • Rinkal July 10, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

      Angie LucasOctober 19, 2010Paula, adorable card and great avidce! I haven’t heard the idea of bringing along an extra outfit for ME, but I am definitely going to take that to heart! I’m sure I WILL be thanking you later

  50. Sara April 21, 2011 at 6:10 am #

    Thanks! Will definitely use plywood. The fabric is a great bonus because I get bored with my fabrics pretty frequently. Thanks again. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  51. Kim April 26, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    Oh my Gosh! LOVE. It looks so fabulous and great tutorial by the way! Like another post, this is on my to do list now, along with refinishing my bar stools, painting (again :) ) and remodeling my master bath (if you can call the miniscule bathroom that). GREAT job!!!

    • Angie & Carrie April 27, 2011 at 6:46 am #

      My list of to-do projects go on and on too….there is not enough time in the day. :) The bench was super easy so it could be a fun, fast project for you!

  52. Kristy Swain May 10, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    Totally thinking about making this! Love it. My husband is wondering – is it sturdy in the way of holding weight? Do you need more supports at all? Are the legs stable?

  53. Lacy Dagerath May 24, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    I have been in this black and white striped mood for months now…and I found you on pinterest!! Was pleased when you said you found that fabric in HOUSTON!! Because that is where I live… When I saw the pictures… at first I thought I could look for that fabric while I’m here in NYC… because I’ve had no luck finding it…but Thank you Thank you Thank you! Now I won’t have to bring fabric home with me! haha!

    You did such a good job! It’s beautiful!

    How sturdy are the legs/board that you used? Good enough for a couple of people to sit on?

    • Angie & Carrie May 24, 2011 at 11:51 am #

      Hi Lacy! Go Glicks off 59/Shepard…was there last weekend and they still have the fabric. As far as sturdy, I used MDF since it was my first building project and I didn’t want to spent alot of money. I would use plywood if you plan to use it for seating, etc. Good luck and send some pictures of your finished bench!! xoxo, Carrie & Angie

  54. Emily May 28, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

    I found this website…don’t know how! Anyway, I used your basic plan with a few modifications. I needed a bench for the foot of my bed, for putting stockings on and to set down my brief case/tote bag/whatever as I get my stuff organized: the usual end-of-bed bench stuff. Since I planned to sit on it and am carrying a few extra pounds, I wanted to make sure it was durable. So I used a forty-two inch lenght of two by twelve lumber for the bench (cut at Lowe’s; used the extra pieces as super-sturdy slats for my bed). I used the same legs you did, but I painted them white, and I used a solid charcoal gray heavy cotton sateen upholstery fabric (excellent price on Ebay). I had to spend a bit more for upholstery foam, but it was two inches thick, so when I doubled it up I got a very cushy seat! I tried the 1/4 inch dowell screws, but found the whole thing to be too rickety. Luckily 5/16 inch screws did the trick! I’m adding a third set of legs for the middle of the bench, for added stability, because my old house has an uneven floor. I wasn’t able to be as thrifty as you with my materials, and I don’t think it’s really Ballard style at this point, but your instructions really helped set me on the right path. Thank you so much!

  55. Lee @Grace Filled House June 2, 2011 at 6:58 am #

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I adore the bench you made! I followed most of your instructions, but I had to change a few things for my situation {lag screws and fender washers instead of dowel screws; smaller bench length} because I was making a stool for my vanity. Here are the links to my two-part process:

    Thanks again for being the inspiration for my vanity stool!

  56. isi June 18, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    I loveeeeeeeeeeee it!!

    Greetz from your new Follower from Germany

    • Angie & Carrie June 20, 2011 at 7:32 am #

      Hi Isi! That is amazing we have a reader in Germany! How are you doing there? Thanks for reading and take care! xoxoxo Angie and Carrie

  57. Sara June 29, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    Hi, I had a quick question! How many inches of foam did you put on the bench? It looks beautiful by the way!

  58. Lindsey July 29, 2011 at 6:43 am #

    Those pillows are gorgeous too! Can’t wait for the tutorials

  59. Pilar August 3, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

    Thank you thank you for posting this! I have felt often disappointed that I cannot afford to purchase those oh so expensive ready made benches. Your post has completely turned my frown upside down! I cannot wait to start my own bench project.

  60. Julie August 8, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    Love this. I am new to wood working and this looks super easy. I’ll have to try it!

  61. Nadia August 9, 2011 at 5:50 am #

    GORGEOUS!!!!! I love everything about it!!! I stumbled upon this yesterdday and can’t wait to try making it!
    My only concern is: Will it hold up if you sit on it?! Have you tried? I have 3 little ones who will want to use it as a trampoline. =D

    • Angie & Carrie August 9, 2011 at 6:08 am #

      Hey Nadia! If you plan to use the bench for everyday use, definitely use plywood for the base vs. MDF. I used MDF because it was cheap and my first project…I didn’t want to spend alot of money on wood if the project didn’t turn out. ;) Good luck and send us pictures of your finished bench! xo, Carrie & Angie

  62. makingmoneywithmoney August 28, 2011 at 8:34 am #

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  63. Jessica August 29, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    I was trying to find a place for this beauty in my house… Then… I thought… Could I make a square ottoman for my living room? Would it work? xx

    • Angie & Carrie August 31, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

      Totally make an awesome ottoman…just use good plywood, not MDF like I did. I used MDF because it was cheap and I didn’t know how the project would turn out. Put that husband of yours to work!!

  64. Kimberly Temple September 3, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

    Can I love you forever? This is gorgeous! I don’t have all of the power tools, so I can’t make this now, but if I did, I would make it in a heartbeat! It’s just amazing looking and you make it sound so simple! I love the black and white, and those legs! I do love legs. Lol. :D

    • Angie & Carrie September 4, 2011 at 11:47 am #

      Thanks Kimberly!! The bench was super easy to make…I am amazed every time I look at it! :)

  65. Sana October 12, 2011 at 1:20 am #

    Love the bench + the tutorial. I also love your Dallas Cowboys rug!

    • Angie & Carrie October 12, 2011 at 7:40 am #

      Thanks Sana!!! We love the Cowboys…even when they aren’t doing so good….we are Cowboys fans through and through!! :)

  66. Hayley October 14, 2011 at 9:22 am #


    Amazing bench. I was wondering where you got the legs??


    • Angie & Carrie October 14, 2011 at 11:35 am #

      Hi Hayley! I bought the legs at Home Depot. Ask someone who works there where the table legs are…they come in several sizes and styles. Good luck!! xoxo, Carrie and Angie

      • Mandee October 17, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

        Ohh swoon with love!!! I found you on pinterest! I am in love With this bench! I’m currently living with my parents and 2yo daughter. Waiting for my husband who just got home from deployment. We are moving into our new home in February. I have spent months scouring the interwebz for affordable benches for the foot of our beds. I adore this black and white for our master and fully plan on making a pinkish one for my daughter’s room. I’ve been refinishing and crafting home goods and stuffing them in storage for our new home. I can’t wait to start these benches! Thanks so much for the tutorial!! I plan on using wood like I’ve seen you mention many times. I can’t wait to share!!

        • Angie & Carrie October 18, 2011 at 11:00 am #

          Hi Mandee! Thanks for your sweet comment! Congrats on the new house and your hubby coming home from serving our country! What a blessing he is!! Can’t wait to see what you come up with for the bench…please send us pictures!! xoxo, Carrie and Angie

  67. MMG October 27, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    How many yards of fabric did you need to do this? I am starting on it this weekend! Woo hoo! It’s perfect!

  68. mrs. meredith October 30, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    I’d like to make something similar, but for people to sit on as a dining room option – I’m thinking I’d have to use two pieces of wood to make it sturdier. Your thoughts?

    • Angie & Carrie October 30, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

      I would use plywood for sure. I used MDF because it was cheap and it was my first project so I didn’t want to spend alot of money. Thick plywood and the leg brackets (found where you would buy table legs at Home Depot) would make a perfect dining room bench. :)

  69. KiKi November 16, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    Don’t be ashamed of your use of your kitchen knife to cut the foam. I worked at Joann’s in high school, and our official foam cutting tool was an electric turkey knife!

  70. Pam November 21, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    I am sooooooooooo excited to see this !!!! I can’t wait to try and make the bench!!! How many yards of fabric did you use? You did an absolute amazing job in makin this!!!! I know I must sound a little confused ( to say the least) but explain again how to find the extra fabric?? Y’all have a wonderful site which I will be visiting often!!! Thanks again, Pam

  71. Jamie November 25, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    Just wanted to let you know that I featured your project today on “You Sew Rock Me Fridays” on my blog Sew Rockin’. Here’s the link if you want to check it out:

    Awesome job, I can’t wait to see what else you come up with!


  72. AshleighES December 1, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    I am super late finding this but I am running in circles with excitement! Bless your beautiful mind! I am so making one of these my shoe string budget thanks you :)

    • Angie & Carrie December 2, 2011 at 5:57 am #

      I love shoestring budgets! :) Send us pics of your bench when its finished! xoxo, Carrie and Angie

  73. Kahli December 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    You did a great job! I love the bench! I also love the canopy stripe fabric. I have that same fabric and I’m planning to upholster a chair.

  74. Natalia December 6, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    I love the bench! Seems not too complicated either. I was looking for a bench for my entryway. Do you sit on it at all? I’m wondering how it holds up, or what can be done to make it sturdy enough to actually sit on it once in a while. Any ideas? Maybe making it a little shorter and enforcing it somehow on the bottom?

    • Natalia December 6, 2011 at 10:01 am #

      reinforcing it* (oops!)

  75. Renee Knotts December 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    Is it possible to just buy a fabric that doesn’t need sewing? I don’t know anyone with a sewing machine and have no idea how to sew..but the rest I can totally do!

    • Angie & Carrie December 8, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

      You can totally buy fabric that doesn’t need sewing. Just buy enough yardage to cover the length of your bench. :)

  76. April February 21, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    I have been searching high and low for a bench design I could make for my master bedroom. Our bed is too high to sit on and put on shoes, etc. It sounds silly, but having a place to sit in the bedroom is so nice. I looked at everything Ana White has, but even that is over my head. I’ve never built anything before and am not an analytical thinker. But THIS I can do!!!! I found some amazing fabric the other day, but it’s just regular fabric from Hobby Lobby. I love the design and colors, but it’s not upholstery fabric. Yours looks more high end and like it’s actual upholstery fabric. Is it? Can I use regular fabric? It’s just a cotton, quilting, sewing type fabric. Would I need to double it up? I also thought about making a smaller chair sized bench for sitting at my sewing machine (which I don’t do a ton, but I always have to get a kitchen chair which is slightly too tall for my sewing cabinet). I would love to use that fabric again there. It’s in a different room, so that’s ok, right? So what kind of fabric do I need if this bench is actually going to be used? Thanks! And love the post (and Ballard Designs. *Swoon*!)

    • Angie & Carrie February 22, 2012 at 4:30 am #

      Hi April! I used decorator fabric and it was just a heavy cotton. I am sure you can use any kind of fabric that is sturdy if you plan on using is on a daily basis. Good luck! xoxo, Carrie

  77. Jana February 26, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    Thank you so much for your post! Found it on Pinterest and completed the challenge!

    You’re awesome!

  78. Laurie Raymond March 4, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    Hi guys,

    I just bought all the stuff to make my own bench. If you knew me, you would understand what a monumental moment this is. Kind a scared but ready to take the plunge too. Will you explain the dowell screws part? I know you used a drill for the first set of screws you bought (the ones you had to take back). Did you use a drill to put the dowell screws in and if so, do you need a dowell fixture on the end of the drill to be able to connect the dowell screw? I guess I’m not sure how the dowell screw fits onto the drill. Or do you just drill a hole and put the screw in by hand? Bare with me as I’m just learning here.

    • Angie & Carrie March 6, 2012 at 8:38 am #

      Hi Laurie! There silver leg brackets are Lowe’s or Home Depot that might work better than how I did the dowel screws especially if you are planning on using the bench on a daily basis. My bench is just for visual purposes, really. :) When you go to Lowe’s and purchase the legs, there should be brackets in the same area with detailed instructions. They are VERY simple to use. :) Let us know how it turns out!! -Carrie and Angie

  79. Virginia March 11, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    ABSOLUTELY amazing!!! I’ve turned tons of little tables into benches, ottomans, etc, but they’ve never been ‘just right’. Now that I’ve seen this, I’m gonna have to try my hand at making one from scratch!!!! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! ~ Virginia

  80. Carolyn April 24, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    Absolutely beautiful. I know you made this a year or more ago but I’m on my way to Homedepot to get my supplies!

  81. Beth May 19, 2012 at 5:14 am #

    Very Cute Bench. My eye was also drown to the rebar on your wall. Very interested if you make it. Very cute blog and informational.

  82. laurie raymond June 24, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    Hey there,

    Would you mind telling me how fat those black stripes are? I just LOVE your fabric and want to try to match it when I make my bench.

    I have all the stuff ready to go. Now I just have to get that beautiful fabric. I will send you a picture when I’m done.


  83. Catharine July 13, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    LOVE THIS BENCH! I’m curious though, how did you get the MDF so cheap? I just went to lowes and the only option for MDF was a 4×8 ft sheet for 30$?

  84. Dayanara Garcia September 30, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    What are the overall dimensions of the mdf board and how many yards of fabric did you need for the bench?

  85. Ericka October 19, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    Love it…. How much fabric did you purchase?

  86. Erin November 2, 2012 at 5:16 am #

    This is absolutely perfect!! Just what I have been searching for to put at the end of my bed but have not been able to find a bench narrow enough! Looks like i’m making one.

  87. Christine January 13, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    Great job! if you want to make the underside a little more finished glue wide ribbon over the staples and then put your legs on.

  88. Lisa T. January 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    Beautiful bench! The tutorial was very helpful. I’ll be tackling my first bench project this weekend for my daughter’s room that is having a complete makeover. I can’t wait!!

  89. Natalie February 2, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    Do you use this to sit on? Doesn’t seem sturdy enough to sit on but looks great!

    • Edward August 15, 2013 at 4:39 am #

      you could use plywood to make it more sturdy i you wanted to sit on it regularly

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  91. Mary February 13, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    I made this bench and it turned out perfect I get so many compliments on it! we added 2 more legs to the middle and it is now sturdy enough to sit on, looks perect when you walk into our house! thank you so much for your tutorial I will now be making two more!

  92. Suz February 21, 2013 at 6:03 am #

    MDF is not that sturdy. Has your bench started to sag yet? There must be a weight limit, right? It just seems to me that if you plan on actually using the bench to sit on reularly, you may find it start to sag, and then break. Or not?

    • Tina March 12, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

      I just completed my own bench today, $70 start to finish. $40 of which was for 4′ of 2″ foam. My bench is 18″ x 56″ . The woman who cut my foam at the fabric store used an electric knife, it cut it like butter, so effortlessly. Highly recommend an electric knife…..clean lines. I used plywood versus mdf, should reduce stress on bench caused by weight. The legs I bought at Lowes had threads at the top of them, so I bought the metal threads to attach to underside of bench and insert/ screw in legs. My bench is super sturdy however is wobbly. I will fix that problem at another time, which may include a third set of legs.

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  94. Julianna April 17, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

    Great work! I too have been swooning over a bench that was way out of my budget… This gives me motivation to make my own now!
    Since it’s been a couple of years since you’ve made it, how is it holding up? I’d like to use it as seating in my bedroom (end of the bed, in front of the TV) but if it’s not sturdy enough to take a couple of teens or anyone sitting on it while playing games, I’d probably have to come up with something that will allow for it to be a little more tough ;)
    Thanks for the guide though!

  95. Hope May 19, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    I’m looking for that fabric! Can you tell me where you purchased it? Thanks!

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    • Shermain July 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

      Hello and I have to say the stripes makes this bench pop! I know you have 4 pine legs, 15″ tall to be used, is there a reason why? I would like to use taller legs?

  97. Krista August 1, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

    I love this bench! Am going to make one. I am having a hard time finding legs though. I live in Canada – any advise on where to look? Where did you find the pine legs?

    • Edward August 15, 2013 at 4:36 am #

      the pine legs can be found at lowes for about 9 bucks each

  98. Edward August 15, 2013 at 4:30 am #

    very cool bench and i am definitley going to make that for a piano bench, but i went to lowes and the mdf was 30 bucks!!! was that a typo or did you just have it cut for an EXTRA 2 bucks

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    [...] Better Outdoor Living At Home8#8 Ballard BenchI totally love the fabric design of this bench.via 221 Vision9#9 Rustic Wood BenchGo get the instructions: Live Laugh Rowe10#10 Mudroom BenchSimple yet [...]

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