DIY Slat Bench
I am so EXCITED to share this project with you for quite a few reasons. First being, it’s way too cute. Second, it’s easy. Third, it was AFFORDABLE and with the current prices of lumber… that is hard to make happen. I was able to do this entire project for under $50 and I highly doubt you can find a bench this size at Target or Home Goods for less than that!
I saw this project on YouTube posted by Home Jelly . I used theirs as my inspiration but changed out some of the logistics and materials. But their tutorial is awesome and I couldn’t share without giving them the credit they deserve!
FYI: I highly suggest reading the entire tutorial or heading to my INSTAGRAM for the video highlight of this project before starting. Learn from other’s mistakes…. ya know? ;)
- 7 - 2x3 at 8’
- 2 - 1x3 at 10’
- Circular saw/miter saw (miter saw will be faster especially if you set a stopper)
- Sanding pads or orbital sander
- Drill and impact
- Wood screws (I used both 2inch and 1.5 inch)
- Drill bit - sized for your screws to drill pilot holes
- tape measurer
- stain or paint
- polyurethane (indoor or outdoor depending on where your project will go)
- PPE - safety glasses, close toed shoes, etc (you know the deal)
- 7 - 2x3 @ 50”
- 14- 2x3 @ 15”
- 12- 1x3 @17.5”
This step could be a bit tedious , but if you are using your miter saw I would suggest setting up a stop block so it will move much quicker. All of the cuts are very simple (see above cut list) 0 degree cross cuts.
Step 2: Sand
This part is actually a smidge tedious but I recommend putting on some tunes or a good podcast and just hammering it all out. Obviously an orbital sander or table sander will make things move a lot quicker but if you don’t have one, a sanding block will get the job done. You really do want to make sure it’s nice and smooth especially since you’ll be sitting your bottom on it. I started with a low grit (80) and then did a pass with 120 grit and a quick pass with 220 for a smooth finish.
This part moved super fast and I used a new stain/wood finish and I’m so excited to share my thoughts on it with you. You could stain or paint your bench boards but I highly suggest doing choosing 2 tones to really make the slat feature of it stand out.
My 50” boards all got stained black using Varathane Charred wood accelerator. This gave it the coolest effect ever. You simply paint it on and within 30 minutes, it soaks into your wood and gives it the perfect rustic/burnt wood look. I did two coats to make it even darker and loved the way it soaked into the soft pine.
The board on the left is after 30 minutes & the rest are right after the accelerator was brushed on.
For the remainder of the boards AKA the legs, I stained them with Varathane golden pecan but I also mixed in a splash of leftover Minwax Early American. You certainly could paint them or stain them whatever color that you desire .
Once your stain/paint is all dry it is time to assemble the bench! Once I got my flow, this moved super quickly for me. I had a drill with my bit for pilot holes & an impact to drive my screws in. If you don’t own both, I’d suggest drilling all your pilot holes and then assembling.
For assembly, I used:
- 2 inch exterior wood screws
- drill / pilot hole bit
- Wood glue/brush
For assembly, you will be building it as if you are looking at it laying down on its side. So , you will want to start with the first layer of boards which will be 1 - 50 “ 2x3 and 2- 15” 2x3. Please see the photo below as an example.
TIP: Start with your best looking 50” and 15” boards facing down (that way they are the outer pieces that will be seen)
Once you have the base layer laid out, you are going to take one of the 17.5 ‘ furring strips and line it up like pictured below. At this point, you will want to pre-drill 3 holes as it is very easy to crack a 1x3 when screwing into it without pilot holes. I suggest a screw at the top , middle and bottom. When attaching the 1x3 into the 2x3 pieces, I used 2 inch wood screws.
I was very cautious during assembly and consistently checked to make sure my leg layers were flush so the bench would sit nice and flat.
Once you have added the 1x3 pieces, you start the process over again by laying a 50” piece and two 15” pieces and then another 1x3 , etc until you’ve used all of the boards up.
TIP: I screwed 2 holes when attaching each of the 2x3 legs to the previous 1x3 as well. This added a lot of extra security in my opinion. Just be sure to stagger the screws so you don’t hit your previous ones. I also used wood glue on the faces of each layer. Wood glue is strong stuff and I suggest not skipping it!
like I said, just keep repeating that process until you’ve used up all of your board. Your finished bench should measure 50” long x 17.5 “ high x 15” deep.
Step 5: Seal
Once you are done, you are going to want to seal your bench with either indoor or outdoor polyurethane. This will not only protect the bench from the elements/wear & tear but also protect you from transferring any paint/stain onto your clothing.
& there you have it. A modern and functional bench and the best part, it is super sturdy and strong. There’s something so empowering about being able to build anything but even more empowering when you get to build a piece of furniture because it can hold you up when you cannot hold yourself up!
Be sure to follow me on Instagram & TikTok where I have full tutorials posted as well as tons of other DIYS. Also, I’d love to see your bench if you make one be sure to DM or tag me