Have you ever felt like doing something different, almost uncharacteristically for yourself? At the spur of the moment you feel like you absolutely have to fulfill this amazing idea you’ve just had? I found myself in much the same situation recently, except I feel like this all the time. While moving houses I was inspired to (involuntary) step away from my painting and try something different for a short while and I thought id share it with you.
For the longest while i really wanted to build something myself, that I would be able to use, to be creative with a functional result at the end. Of course there’s also something incredibly satisfying about making something with your own two hands, that you can feel happy about long after its completion.
Having moved into an unfurnished flat my thoughts were immediately steered towards furniture or storage to be precis and that’s how it all started. I decided to make a ottoman- style bench, a type of storage box with a cushioned seat on top. In all honesty I had wanted to make a completely different, much more complicated piece of furniture long before this but that’s another story. As a complete novice to furniture building I figured that a box, straight angles and all would be a suitable first project to undertake and a great start to prepare myself for potentially more complicated projects.
First I started with the empty spot where I wanted my box, underneath my window, from there I was able to decide how big I wanted it and the overall dimensions in comparison to the window. Since my window is quite wide I wanted my box suitably wide and decided on the measurements of 120 x 40 x 40 cm , Width x Depth x Height. With this information I could then move on to looking at materials and prices to find the best match.
If you would like to try this yourself, once you selected your materials make sure to include the thickness in the calculation of the final size or your project will either be too big or not join up properly. I chose pine wood timber for the frame and MDF for the sides of the box. After that it was only a matter of picking up the material from the store. Luckily they were happy to cut my massive 244 x 122 cm MDF sheet into 6 nice manageable 120×40 cm pieces and I’m so thankful my boyfriend could drive me or it would have taken me many trips of very awkward travel on public transport and many a scratches.
After I had my material back at the flat the construction could begin, first with the frame, one side at a time and later on adding the sides. Because I didn’t want a really heavy box and to keep this project from costing a fortune my material were somewhat on the thin side therefore the use of screws and nails proved unsuitable, so my box was made using almost only glue.
As I made progress on the box I started looking at upholstery for the finishing touches. What fabric to use, how thick the seat should be and how much of everything I would need. It’s really great because most of these things you can get made to your specific measurements and you can make it as personalised as you wish in terms of seat firmness and effect not to mention the texture and pattern of the fabric you use.
I found some fantastic jaquared fabric, the type that look like Baroque floral, that I loved. Unfortunately it was about £35 per meter, so I settled for a nice chocolate brown chenille fabric instead. Fairly late on I also decided I wanted some feet on my box to not scrape it against the floor, I made these by gluing two pieces of 2×1 together to achieve the desired height and then sawed them into decent shapes.
After adding the foam and fabric to the box I realised that the seat could have easily been almost an inch (2.5 cm) thinner, but it still looks and feels great so it was definitely worth it! It felt great to mix things up with a bit of DIY, I highly recommend it. Such an fulfilling way of to grasp a sense of achievement.