Refinishing a Bench and How to Make a No-sew Tufted Cushion

9 Materials
2 Hours
My grandparents’ built this bench YEARS ago along with two others that I have. ( Check out the cedar-lined beauty I keep at the end of my bed.) This one has taken the biggest beating over the years and has needed to be fixed and refinished for awhile now. Every month the group I’m a part of (the Farmhouse Hens Decorate) has a theme. This month’s theme turned out to be for benches so I knew exactly the piece I would be using!
Those bite marks are actually from my dog Diesel lol
Funny, he was a 120 pound mastiff and could have easily opened the lid with his nose anytime he wanted. (I kept his food and treats in there.) If he had just helped himself to a treat I never would have known but no he just chewed on it lol
So I started by cleaning it really well with vinegar and water before assessing the damage.
I knew I needed to at least get the top coat of poly off so I first hit every surface with fine grit sandpaper using my orbital palm sander. I planned on staining it the same color it already was so I didn’t take it all the way back to naked wood.
With stain-able wood filler I carefully filled in the holes and any other imperfections I could find. (Yes, filling those chew marks in made me kind of sad. Diesel’s been gone for over two years now and I still miss him.)
A little more sanding to smooth out the wood filler and than I stained the bench in Dark Walnut (by Minwax) by generously brushing the stain on, waiting twenty minutes, and then wiping it off with a towel.

I put a coat of satin poly acrylic over my stain and my bench looked almost like new!
I’ve had it in my head for awhile now that I wanted a cushion here because I sit on it almost every day to put my shoes on! The thing is though – I don’t have a sewing machine and I am incredibly not a seamstress SO I decided to figure out how to make a cushion lacking all sewing ability whatsoever.
First, I cut a piece of plywood three inches smaller than the lid of the bench. I drilled six holes in the top of the plywood (evenly spaced) for the buttons.
(Years ago I had a sleep number bed that died and left me with mounds of batting, foam and lots and lots of cushiony stuff. This is AT LEAST the third time I’m glad I kept it all! Batting is expensive!)
I cut the batting to the size of the seat so its wider than the plywood by about an inch and a half all the way around. I then poked up through each of the holes and cut the batting out around them so my buttons would really SINK.
(My Grandma left behind a lifetime’s worth of buttons so I went through them and pulled out the six biggest ones that would work best here – I made no effort to make sure that they matched lol I liked it random.)
I secured my buttons with cotton kitchen twine by pulling them tight to really create my tufts and then stapling the twine to the back.
With the buttons complete I secured the fabric with staples along the underside edge of the plywood all the way around.
Tah-dah! I love my new cushion and it was SO easy to make!
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  3 questions
  • Patti Patti on Sep 18, 2018

    🤔 What does cleaning wood furniture with vinegar & water do? I use vinegar & water for many things but have never used it for cleaning wood furniture. What ratio do you recommend? Is it safe to use on expensive a grand piano?

    TIA 🙂

  • Robert Shall Robert Shall on Sep 22, 2018

    I have a heating pipe (riser) in my bathroom. It is old and all rusted. How can I get old paint and rust off and repaint to make itlook newer?

  • Donna Glenn Donna Glenn on Nov 06, 2021

    Did the bottom of the cushion scratch the surface of the bench?

    As far as the buttons,

    My grandma collected a lifetime of them as well,she made necklaces out of them,

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4 of 54 comments
  • Anna Anna on Nov 29, 2020

    You don't need to tear holes in that expensive foam to tuft it. The buttons alone will make the tuft. It also makes it look much neater.

    • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY on Nov 30, 2020

      Hi Anna, I cut out the holes to create the deeper tufts that I was going for but you can certainly just create shallower tufts as you suggested. Thanks for coming by!

  • Syl71786091 Syl71786091 on Jan 01, 2023

    You are so creative! How smart of you to hang onto the remnants of the old mattress!