If you have the right tools, building a storage bench is a doable project. This storage banquet is the perfect solution for my dining room and cost me just under $100 to make. There’s no way I could have found something this inexpensive and custom anywhere else.
Here is what you’ll need to make the bench.
Nail Gun & Air Compressor
3/4 inch plywood
3/4 inch MDF piece (for lid)
3 inch MDF trim
I followed this video tutorial to make mine. It might be helpful to watch. I did my lid and outside trim differently, but everything else is about the same.
I first figured out all my measurements and took them to the store with me. I had them make all the long cuts on the wood lengthwise since I don’t have a table saw. The guy at Home Depot was so nice and made about 10 cuts for me.
Here are the pieces you need: bottom, 2 long sides, 2 short sides, four 1×2 support pieces, lid (cut in two pieces). Get the lid AFTER the bench is built.
Now you’re ready to build. Start with your bottom piece and 2 long side pieces. Apply wood glue to one long side of the bottom piece. Then put one side piece right up against the glued side of the bottom piece and secure along the entire length using a nail gun. Repeat on the other side. I had my son help me by holding the sides up while I secured them.
Next, attach the 2 short end side pieces the same way. Use wood glue and then the nail gun.
Now it’s time for the support pieces. You need to attach a 1×2 piece of wood around the entire top perimeter of the bench. This will help to support the weight of people sitting on it. This next picture shows the first 1×2 on the back length of the bench.
Use wood glue and then the nail gun to secure each piece–same as before.
Here is a how the top looks once those support pieces are on. I measured incorrectly and one of my long pieces was too short. So I used my miter saw to cut an extra scrap and pieced it together in the corner. Problem solved.
So that is your basic bench. Now you can do whatever you like to the outside. You could apply molding, wainscoting, or just simply paint it. I decided to add 3 inch MDF trim. This stuff is really cheap and comes pre-primed. I used my miter saw to make all the cuts and secured it with wood glue and the nail gun. I then filled all the holes with putty.
Then I sanded the whole thing using my orbital sander and 150 grit sandpaper. I applied 2 coats of Kilz primer and 2 coats of white oil-based semi-gloss paint with a small roller and brush. I used a 150 grit sanding block to do a very light sanding between each coat for an extra smooth finish. I chose oil-based paint because it’s more durable for surfaces that get a lot of use.
The final step is to attach the lid. I used 3/4 inch MDF instead of the same plywood because it is very flat and will never warp. It’s hard to find a perfectly flat piece of plywood and I didn’t want to worry about a wobbling, uneven top.
Wait to buy this piece until AFTER your bench is built to make sure you get the perfect measurement. Have the store cut a 2 to 4 inch piece lengthwise off the back. You need the lid in 2 pieces so you can install the hinge.
Paint both pieces and let dry completely. Then install your piano hinge to both sides. Use a drill to make pilot holes and then attach the screws. This is definitely a 2 person job. Someone needs to hold the hinge in place while the other person marks the holes.
Place the hinged lid on top of the bench and secure along the back length with the nail gun. Fill the outside holes with putty and sand when dry.
This was my first real building from scratch project ever and aside from my husband helping me with the hinge and my son holding the sides in place, I built this 100% by myself. I’m telling you this to give you some confidence. You CAN do this! You don’t have to be a professional to build something.
It gives me so much added storage and it seats more people than a couple chairs can.
I have lots more stuff to show you in my house next week, including a tutorial for this backboard. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you back here on Monday.