Today I’m sharing how to upholster a cane bench seat. I love the shape and size of these benches I just picked up. Unfortunately the cane seats were ruined. Recaning is expensive so I thought I’d try my hand at converting these to cushioned benches.
Taking off the cane seat was easy. It’s time consuming and a little messy so I’d recommend doing this outside. I wanted to save the caning that was still good for another project in the future. The easiest way I found to remove the caning was to run a box cutter around the edges. I had to use some pressure on this. I used a cutting motion going away from by body just incase I slipped. Next I took a flathead screwdriver and popped off the attached wood bracket all the way around the seat edge. Needle nosed pliers were a big help in pulling all the remaining caning strips off the bench.
Next, I prepped, painted and waxed the bench frame. Once that was behind me I was ready to move on to my drop cloth upholstered seat cushion.
Here’s a list of supplies you’ll need to upholster a caned bench.
- Plywood – 1/2 inch
- Hi-Density Foam – I used 3 “
- Can of spray glue
- Staple gun
- Drill and screws to attach the seat to the bench
Measure and cut foam 1″ larger than your wood seat bottom. The fabric store recommended using an electric cutting knife to cut the foam. Since my electric knife is still packed away I used a long bread knife and gently ran it across the cut line in one long motion which cut about an inch or so. I continued to do this until I cut all the way through the foam. It worked fine and I was able to get a pretty clean cut line.
This is the fabric I used for my upholster a cane bench project. I made it from a drop cloth and stenciled on the starfish. It was easy and durable. I love the way this turned out 🙂 You can see how I did that HERE.
After cutting your foam give the plywood a light coating of the spray adhesive. Center and place your foam onto the plywood. Warning…the spray glue goes everywhere. Do this part outside.
Begin with your fabric pattern facing down. Layer the batting, foam and seat bottom like the picture below. It will look like this on all edges. Your batting should be wide enough to cover the foam and extend onto the plywood. The upholstery fabric should be at least 3 inches larger than your batting.
Start your stapling in the middle on one of the long sides of your bench cushion. Begin by gently but firmly pulling the fabric over the wood and staple. Your batting should cover the foam cushion and reach the wood seat under the fabric.
Add a few more staples to the left and right of your first staple. Only staple a section, not the full length of your seat. Flip your cushion over to make sure the fabric is straight. If it looks OK, than staple the same section on the other side.
Keep the tension on the fabric even as you staple.
Follow the same steps for the ends of the bench. Start stapling in the center and work your way out towards the corners. Flip your seat cushion over to check the top for wrinkles before stapling each new section.
Work your way to the corners. I trimmed the batting at the corners to reduce the bulk.
My corners were square. I folded the fabric over the corners in the same way as wrapping a present. I had to keep working the fabric to get it to lay flat and not have excess wrinkles at the corners . Continue to staple as you get an area to lay flat.
When your finished stapling the corners, flip it over. Your cushion should look like this. If your happy with it, add extra staples to firmly secure your fabric onto the seat base.
Attach to the bench with screws. I didn’t need to drill pilot holes onto the bench frame. There were plenty of holes from the caned seat that I could reuse.
That’s all there is to it. This project is more time consuming than difficult. But it still only took a few hours. You can easily upholster a cane bench making a custom piece of furniture that would cost a small fortune in a furniture store.
Benches are so useful, I don’t think they get enough credit. I could use one like this at the end of my bed, pull it out for extra living room guest seating when we have company over. It would look wonderful pulled up to a dinning room table or against a wall under a window for a window seat.
How would you use a bench like this in your home?