Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Three Chairs = 1 Bench

Someone asked me recently about the bench that is shown in my blog header photo. I made this bench 3 years ago. .I didn’t have a blog back then so Gail of My Repurposed Life featured this for me on her blog.  You may have seen it over there, in a post titled triple chair bench in August 2009.  Turns out I never included it over here when I started this blog. 

Guess I should, since I have a picture of it in my header!

triple chair bench complete 006

Here’s the story.

My Sister-in-law’s neighbor was cleaning out her garage, throwing everything into a rented dumpster.  She was about ready to throw some dining room chairs in that she had been given by her mom years before.

They were Spanish/Mediterranean style and very, umm….I guess ornate would be a good word. 

Lynn, my sister in law, spoke up and said I would take them.  (she’s awesome that way) That’s when I got the call to come and get them.

When I saw them in person I wasn’t too excited. Upon close inspection the wood chairs were not even really wood.  They had some molded plastic parts on them, with faux wood grain.

But there were 3, and I’d been wanting to try to make a bench from 3 chairs ever since seeing one made by KyLady on the HGTV trash to treasure forum in April 2008.  Hers was so beautiful and she even included a how-to on her post.

Unfortunately  I have no idea where to get those directions or even how to reach her for that matter.

I’d have to pay it forward by telling YOU how to make one of these for yourself.


The first thing is to take off the cushions and set them aside. (The back cushions will be re-used)


Then you take the front legs and the seat off one of the armless chairs. (you can see it in the right corner of the above picture)

Next remove one of the arms from the armchair and attach it to the 2nd armless chair..

These would be the outside arms of the bench.

Next step, attach the 3 chairs to each other along the sides and legs. (be sure to pre-drill and use wood glue too)

This is why using matching chairs is important for this project, they line up perfectly.


This is where it got tricky for me. 

The next step was to cut the front trim piece of the chair I took apart to fit into the front opening between the other two chairs.

As you can see in the photo, the front space for the middle chair is much smaller than the original chairs due to the shape of the original chair seats. (Its kind of a reverse seat shape.)

I made the cut but was not quite sure how I would get it securely connected in place. (note; if I were to do this project  today I’d have used my Kreg jig to make pocket holes in the back of that piece and then screwed it into the sides of the adjoining legs..  It would have been easy!)

Since I was stumped I walked away from it for a while.

It got moved inside the garage and sat there for nearly a year. 


Things got piled high on top of the bench and I soon forgot all about it.

garage , left

Then my son and his wife (Jason and Yurah)  bought a house and I was inspired to help them furnish their first home.

They had a front porch that was just begging for a bench like this!


So I dug it out, dusted it off and tackled it again.

Funny thing, all this really needed was that center front piece to be connected. 

Why on earth did I wait so long to do that? 

It wasn’t so difficult after all.

Simply pre-drill some holes at an angle so the screws go in through the back of the piece and into the sides of the chairs beside it. (as I said before, a pocket hole jig would have made this soooo much easier!)

Once that’s in place it’s time to paint. (or stain)  I chose Nutmeg spray-paint because that’s what I had on hand. Since my chairs weren’t really wood throughout painting was my only option.

A piece of 1/2 inch plywood (not shown) cut to size makes a sturdy base for the seat cushion.

Layer some quilt batting to make the seat as soft as you want.  Don’t use too much on the outside edges.  Secure around the batting with a few staples from a staple gun.  Next cut fabric approx. 3’ wider all around the  seat base.  Start in the middle of the front and back edges and pull and staple the fabric so the seat looks smooth.  Continue around to the sides, skipping the corners.  Once the 4 sides are smooth and even, go back and pull the corners around being sure to tuck them under neatly before stapling. 

I used the original pads for the backs of the seats and just stapled the new fabric around the sides.

You may need to take a hammer to drive home any staples that didn’t go in far enough.

  triple chair bench complete 001

Use screws from below through the original corner braces to hold the new seat on the bench..

(be careful not to use too long of a screw or it’ll poke through!)

 triple chair bench complete 004   

I used some antiquing glaze over the paint to enhance the “grain” of the faux wood.

This is entirely optional!

triple chair bench complete 007


triple chair bench complete 003

And that’s how to make a Triple Chair Bench. 

Although I didn’t like the chairs used to make this they looked totally different to me once done.

Someday I’ll use some really good chairs to make another one of these. 

What about you, will you be on the lookout for 3 matching chairs now?

Oh yeah,  remember the neighbor who was throwing the chairs away? 

Lynn showed her a picture of the bench and she wanted them back.

She simply could not believe they were the same ugly chairs she threw out!

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  1. Woman I love this project, what an upcycle! You did such a great job I am on the hunt for three chairs now.

  2. Oh my goodness Rose, I love it!

  3. I loved this project from the first time I saw Gail post it for you...PRE-BLOG!
    I just finished my own 3 chair bench and am about to post on it.
    I used the Kreg Jr. Had a terrible time with it long story.
    but it's done now. Anyway--
    You'll see it when I post it. Right now. I'm having a time getting pictures from my camera to pc... another long story!
    Anyway... seeing your bench and your great tutorial-- makes me see where I could have done a few things differently.
    Love your bench...
    so did the son and dil have the same appreciation for your creation?
    I think it looks wonderful.


  4. Love it, been wanting to make one myself for a long time now!!

  5. It is a really cool bench and I have noticed it often in your header. Great job! Hugs, Linda

  6. We must be in a parallel universe. I too, made a bench from 3 chairs and right now they are buried in my sisters garage. The only thing missing is the seat. Spring break is 3 weeks away. Hmmmm might be a good project to actually finish! LOL Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. What a fun piece for your son and daughter-in-law! Is that their house - the same house you are creating the mudroom for. Wow! It's gorgeous!!!

    I'm sending our old kitchen table and chairs to daughter #2 and need to reglue all the joints so the chairs don't collapse under them. I took one apart and couldn't quite get it back together myself, so I shoved it to a corner of the basement where I don't have to trip over it. I better ask the cave dweller for help, or I'll be giving the set to our GRANDDAUGHTER!!!

  8. you are my hero! I have always wanted to make one of these. I can't find three great chairs. :(
    Great tute! I wonder where KYlady is? hmmmm
    Glad you finally put this on your blog where it belongs! ;)


  9. Yes. I am looking for 3 chairs now! That is such a cool bench! It does look way different as a bench than it did as chairs.

  10. I've thought about these for years. Thanks for the tutorial.

  11. WOW, that is incredible!!! The kids must have been so excited to receive it! I would have NEVER THOUGHT of that...LOVE the fabric you chose also!!! Thank you "SO MUCH" for sharing that with us. You are a creative genius!
    Have a wonderful weekend,

  12. This is great! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Really great project. They look totally different. I love the color also.

  14. If this is what you do with less-than-ideal chairs, I can't wait to see what you do with ones you love!

    I have 6 vintage chairs that belonged to my husband's grandmother. They're harder than wang to sit on and I've been wanting to do this with them, but wasn't sure about how to go about doing it. Thanks for all the wonderful photos on how to make them fit together! I kinda had it figured out, but not exactly with the center seat. I hope it will work now! I'm excited!

  15. This is a wonderful project! THE not so wonderful chairs were fantastic after your make over. Great job

  16. hey rose,
    saw you featured on roadkill rescue! you definitely made these chairs much nicer looking. i still love my chair it's in my kitchen.

  17. Thanks for posting this tute!!!! I've had two chairs that I want to make into a bench and had given up for awhile until now. Thanks again!!!!! You did a wonderful job :)))))

  18. It turned out awesome! Thanks for sharing the steps.

  19. This has given me a great idea to turn an old wooden blanket chest into a seat, doubling up on the us, using two or three very old oak chairs in the loft. Thank you for sharing. :-) x

  20. great job! I was thinking of doing the same thing only I have to use the chairs for now. Will keep it in the think tank! thanks for the post. 1st saw it on My Repurposed Life!


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