Cement Block Bench and Bench Cushions

9 Materials
$70-130
1-7 Hour
Advanced
Ok sooooo I made these benches years ago (and they have been amazing), but I always wanted to add some cushions for extra comfort. When someone else suggested it on the Facebook live tour of my house I decided it was about time to take action. I will show you how to make the benches first (super simple) and then get into detail on the cushions. The benches are really just some cement blocks and wooden beams while the cushions are comprised of a cushion filling, batting and fabric. You will need to have a sewing machine for these cushions, but all the seams are straight and simple so you don't have to be a pro.
Trust me these cushions are a dream! I feel like they elevate the space plus they are super cushy comfy! So glad I finally made them! I do have 2 of these benches that face each other so take that into account when looking at the cost and time.
SUPPLIES:
Bench:
-6 Cement blocks (or 12 if you are doing 2 benches)
-1 Small Can Outdoor Latex Paint
-2 3.5"x3.5"x10' pressure-treated wood beams (4 for 2 benches)
-Rapid Set Concrete for adhesive
-Paintbrush
Cushions:
-3" Thick Foam Roll (long and wide enough for your cushions)
-Cotton Batting (large enough for your cushions)
-Saw / Electric Knife
-2-4 yds. Upholstery Fabric (outdoor capable if your bench is outside)
-Scissors
-Scissors
-Pins
-Sewing Machine
-Serger (not necessary)
-Velcro
STEP 1: Mix up some cement and spread a bit between 2 blocks and place them together.
Spread more cement on the top of both blocks you just cemented together and place another block across the top allowing it to set.
Your blocks will look like the far right picture at this point. Repeat this again so that you have 2 sets of 3 cemented blocks.
STEP 2: Once you place your blocks where you want to set your bench it is time to paint! If you want to paint the blocks you can do this now.
Once the paint has dried you can feed the wood beams through the holes of the top cement block. Feed one end through one block set and the other end of the beam through the other set.
Poof done with the bench portion!!
STEP 3: For the cushions you will first need to measure the length and width of the beam between the cement block ends to determine how large the cushions need to be.
Cut the foam into the length and width you measured. You can cut through the foam with a saw or an electric knife.
STEP 4: Wrap the inner foam cushion piece(s) with batting and cut the batting so that it evenly lines up with the edge. *I put one layer around the whole thing and two on the top and had plenty for both cushions this way.
Once your cushion is wrapped in batting it is time to cut out the fabric accordingly. Lay the cushion piece(s) on top of the fabric (*be sure it's folded over so there are 2 layers of fabric) and cut out a piece that is the width of the cushion + 2" x the length of the cushion + 2". If you have 2 benches you will need to cut out 4 panels. These will serve as the tops and bottoms of your cushion cover.
Lay out the rest of your fabric folded in half and cut out 4 strips for the side panels adding 2" to the length for each. If your cushion is 3" thick you can cut as follows:
Front: 4.25″ wide by length + 2″
Sides (left and right): 4.25″ wide by length + 2″
Back: 5.5″ wide by length + 2″
Back Fold Over Flap: 3.5″ wide by length + 2″
There are 2 back panels because this cushion cover is removable so that it can be washed as needed.
STEP 5: Grab your side panel pieces (reserve the back fold over flap for later) and wrap them around the edges of the cushion, wrong sides of the fabric facing out, pinning them at the corners so that it fits nice and snug around the perimeter of the cushion.
Sew over the line where the pins are on each corner. (Before going further place the sides back around the cushion to make sure it fits nicely
As mentioned above the back panel is 1.25" wider than the other 3 side panels. At this point you will fold over the excess width 2x so that it's edge is at the same height as the other panels.
STEP 6: Sew the folded over width in place. (the picture only shows it folded over once, but you will need to fold it over twice so that no raw edges are showing)
Once you have sewn the excess back flap width down place the side panels over the cushion (wrong sides facing out). Make sure the sewn down back portion is facing down as you will need to connect the raw edge of the sides to the top panel. Grab your top panel and place it over the cushion with the wrong side facing out. Pin it to the side panels so that it is nice and taut. Your side panels will have a good 1/2" seam allowance while your top panel will have about 1" or so on each side.
Sew over the line where the pins are placed and place the piece back over the cushion with the right side facing out to make sure it fits nicely.
STEP 7: Grab your back fold over flap piece and fold over both ends and one long side 2x and sew in place.
Sew your back fold over flap piece to one side of the bottom panel with raw sides together length to length, leaving a good 1" or so on either end of the back piece. (see pic.)
Now place your finished top piece on the cushion with the wrong side of the fabric facing out. Grab your bottom panel with the attached back flap and lay it over the bottom of the cushion with the wrong side of the fabric facing out. Make sure the back flap piece is laying over the back side panel (the one with the sewn over edge). Pin the bottom panel to the side panels. You should have about the same seam allowance as you did with the top piece where the side panels have about 1/2" and the bottom piece has about 1" all the way around. Make sure it is nice and tight so there are no bubbles or wrinkles.
STEP 8: Now it is time to make some ties for the cushions so they stay in place! For each cushion you will need 4 strips of fabric cut at 2" wide and 16"-18" length.
Fold over a small portion from the sides of each strip and press in place.
Fold over so that each creased side meets and sew in place. I did 2 seams to help it remain flat. Then (not pictured) fold over one end 2 times so that the raw edge isn't showing and sew it in place.
STEP 9: Now feed two ties through each end of the pinned cushion cover (bottom to sides is pinned right now) and pin in place so that the raw edges are even.
Sew the bottom panel to the side panels (and over the ties on each end) over the pins that you placed.
Once you have sewn the entire perimeter place the cushion cover back over the cushion to make sure it fits nicely. Make any adjustments if needed. Now if you have a serger you can serge the edges to make it more sturdy and clean all the inside seams up. If you don't have a serger just trim the excess fabric away from the seam (maybe with a pair of zig-zag shears if you have them) Cut any corners at an angle so they are nice and clean.
STEP 10: Don't worry we are almost done! Now we just need to add the velcro to the back side panel and the back flap. Place the cover over the cushion and pin pieces of velcro with the rough side on the back panel piece and the soft side on the back flap so that they line up. I added 8 - 2.5" pieces across the panels spaced evenly from one another.
When placing your completed covers over the cushion you will want to tuck the back flap piece around the corners and then velcro the back panel over top.
Now simply place your cushion(s) on your bench(es) and feed the ties through the top cement block holes and tie it in place.
Now grab a nice cold drink and take a seat and treat yourself after all your hard work.
I just love how much character and cush these add to the benches! And they are washable!! Should have added these years ago...

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Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Arline Walker Arline Walker on Sep 08, 2016
    Can you cover the foam first with plastic before the fabric. This should keep the foam dry and eliminate a lot of drying time

  • Susanne Maskens Susanne Maskens on Sep 08, 2016
    Why would you not put a solid sheet of wood over your two posts, would give a flat foundation for the cushions

  • Wendy Wendy on May 18, 2018

    why didn't you paint the wood?

Comments

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2 of 71 comments
  • Pauline Palmieri Pauline Palmieri on Jun 11, 2018

    Yes I would try this project

  • Mrs B Mrs B on Aug 16, 2018

    I was just thinking the same thing . . . but maybe I can try something similar using iron on tape? hot glue gun? E6000? I have a sewing machine but it's more for 'looking at' than 'playing with' so I'm always up for a work around!

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