Making it Work: From Trash to Rustic Bench

Tell me, do you ever do the following? You have a favorite HGTV show recorded. You sit down to enjoy it (possibly for the second time), and after watching the first few minutes you decide to fast forward to the “reveal” at the end of the show.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the silly antics of Chip Gaines (and accompanying eye rolls from his wife, Joanna), and I love watching my fellow Chicago gal Alison Victoria knock out a DIY project on Kitchen Crashers, but sometimes I just want to skip ahead to the pretty stuff at the end.

Wouldn’t it be great to (occasionally) fast forward to the pretty stuff at the end in real life. Can I get an Amen?!

I know, I know, it’s supposed to be about “the journey”. This is especially true in the blog world. We learn from the process and by making mistakes. And sometimes we learn that DIY can be a pain in the ass. (Sorry, was that a bit too blunt?… No? I didn’t think so either.)

Well in the case of this bench makeover, the journey involved quite a range of emotion: excitement, hesitation (a.k.a. procrastination), motivation, frenzy, frustration, more motivation and finally satisfaction.

Here’s the story, and I’ll keep it short so you hopefully won’t want to fast forward scroll to the bottom of this post.

With the help of my Mother-in-Law (a.k.a. Pretty Lady), I snatched a little wooden bench that had been tossed to the curb.

Bench makeover - BEFORE

My initial plan: paint it white, throw it on the deck and call it a day. But then I started pulling up the mod podged fabric on the seat … then I popped off the decorative cap thingies …

Rustic bench makeover - progress

It sat that way for longer than I’d care to admit. And then I got a little carried away.

I deconstructed, sanded and chipped away paint for days and days, and then I sanded some more.

Bench Makeover_3

Then came the reconstruction. Scrap wood to the rescue!

Bench Makeover_4

Bench Makeover_5

Aaaand then I got stuck. I got some advice and help from my Dad. Yes, I’m 31 and still get help from my Dad. And in this case he saved my butt, eer bench.

Bench Makeover_6

Then came the white stain.

Bench Makeover_7

A little distressing (to complement the already distressed parts). This was super fun, btw.

Bench Makeover_8

I added some grey stain, but that just made it look dirty, so I put on two layers of dark stain (Minwax Jacobean). Much better.

Bench Makeover_9

Lastly, I finally painted over the tweenish purple color. Cue the Angelic chorus!

Bench Makeover_10

Here she is, my new favorite place to perch and put on/take off my shoes. The color is Clark + Kensington Inspire Awe. It’s a nice neutral cream. I snagged it a few months back when Ace Hardware was giving away free paint samples.

Bench Makeover_After1

I’m not 100 percent finished. It still needs a coat of polyurethane, but I couldn’t wait any longer to share. (See two other projects that I created for this space here.)

So here’s what I learned from this bench makeover “journey”:

1. It pays to take your time, sit with a piece and think about it for a little while. I’m glad I didn’t just settle for leaving the structure as it was and painting it white. It also pays to get a second opinion. Thanks again, Dad.

2. There is nothing more satisfying than using what you’ve got (leftover stain, scrap wood, free paint and some elbow grease) to make a project work. You gotta love getting something for nothing.

Bench Makeover_After2

3. I can handle a little rustic, but only in small doses. I like that the wood is dented and the finish feels rustic, but I wouldn’t got so far as to distress the paint. It’s just not my thing. #toeachtheirown

Bench Makeover_After3

4. Just pull over. When you see something intriguing sitting out on the curb it’s worth it to at least stop. It might not be worth it to pick it up and take it home, but it doesn’t hurt to get a closer look.

Well that’s it for this little story of me and my bench. Have you ever transformed anything you’ve picked up off the curb?

Before and After Bench Makeover

Linking up to Pretty Preppy PartyMotivational MondayHome Stories A to ZLink Party PaloozaThe Creative CollectionThe Party BunchThrifty Decor ChickThink and Make Thursday and Remodelaholic, Dream. Create. Inspire., Pin Worthy Wednesday, Think and Make Thursday

6 comments on “Making it Work: From Trash to Rustic Bench

  1. Between Pretty Lady’s eye for discarded potential and your talent for turning trash into treasure, you make a great team. Beautiful job!

  2. Pingback: Simple Entryway Organization  | Real Happy Space

  3. Pingback: Great Ideas -- 19 DIY Wood Projects!

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