How to Make a Cork Bench
Rustic and simplistic designs are totally in, and you can't get simpler than cork. Cork benches can get expensive if you try to buy them from the store, but they are surprisingly cheap and easy to make. All you need is a plain bench and a roll of thin cork.
Choose a plain bench that you want to modify.Simple benches with straight edges rather than curved would work best for this. You can also use a long, low, narrow table instead, as long as you can sit comfortably on it. Avoid anything slatted or cushioned.
Clean the bench with a damp cloth.Even though you will be covering it, you still want to clean it. Any dirt and grim may prevent the adhesive from sticking properly. Wipe the entire bench down with a damp cloth first, then dry it with a clean towel.
Wipe the bench down a final time with rubbing alcohol.This will remove any residual oils. Don't worry if the rubbing alcohol removes some of the original paint. You will be covering the bench with cork, so it won't be noticeable in the end.
Paint the legs, if desired.You don't have to do this, but it's a great way to add a fresh look to your bench. Remove the legs first, if possible, then paint them using spray paint. Set them aside so that they can dry while you complete the rest of the bench.
- If you can't remove the legs, it might be easier to paint them with a paintbrush instead.
Paint the underside of the bench, if desired.You won't be covering the underside of the bench with cork, but it may still be visible from certain angles. You can paint it any color you want, but it might look better if you match it to the legs. A dark, neutral color, such as black, brown, or espresso would also work well. Let the paint dry before moving on.
- You can use spray paint or regular liquid paint.
Covering the Bench
Trace the top and sides of the bench seat onto a sheet of thin cork.Place the bench down on top of the cork, then trace around it with a pen. Flip the bench onto its side, and trace it again, Continue tracing around the other three side panels as well. You don't need to trace a panel for the bottom of the bench.
- I you cork has a front and back, trace onto the back of the cork.
- If your bench is too heavy to move around, measure the top and side panels first, then draw rectangles on the cork based on those measurements.
Cut the panels out.Set the cork down onto a cutting mat. Then, use a craft blade and a metal ruler to cut the rectangles out. The metal ruler will help make your cuts nice, crisp, and even. It will also help keep you from accidentally nicking the rectangles.
Coat one of the cork panels and matching bench side with spray adhesive.Wait about 30 seconds for the glue to get tacky. Don't do the other cork panels and bench sides just yet.
Press the cork panel onto the matching bench side.If the cork panel is peeling away, flip the bench over so that the cork is against the floor and the bench is weighing it down. Let it sit like that until the glue sets before moving on. This should only take a few minutes.
Continue gluing the rest of the cork panels to the bench.Again, work one panel at a time. If you do everything all at once, the glue will start to dry and lose its tack.
Let the glue set.How long the glue takes to dry depends on the type of glue you used, so be sure to check the label on the can. This should only take 30 to 60 minutes for most brands.
Adding the Finishing Touches
Consider adding stencils to the side edges.Place a stencil over one of the side edges of your bench. Dab acrylic paint over the stencil, working your way from outside-in. Peel the stencil away, then do the other sides. Let the paint dry completely before moving on.
- If the stencil is not self-adhesive, secure it with painter's tape first.
- You can paint the top panel, if you want to, but keep in mind that the paint will wear away faster.
Seal the bench with acrylic sealer.You don't have to do this, but it will make the cork easier to clean. Simply apply a clear, acrylic sealer over the bench, then let it dry. You may need to apply another coat or two; be sure to let each coat dry fully before applying the next. For best results, choose a matte or satin sealer; a glossy sealer may not look good with a cork finish.
- If you painted your bench (including the legs or underside), then this is a must.
Screw the legs back on if you removed them earlier.Once you have the legs back on, your bench is ready to use!
- If you can't find spray adhesive, you can try using hot glue instead. Apply the glue a little bit at a time to either the bench or the cork.
- You can also try brushing on a thin layer of liquid glue onto the bench and cork.
- You don't have to cover the sides of the bench if you don't want to. Covering just the top will also give it an interesting look.
- Don't be afraid to layer stencils. Be sure to let the first one dry, however.
- Save money by buying a cheap bench from the thrift store or garage sale.
- You can also save money by covering a wooden board with cork, then screwing on your own bench/table/furniture legs.
Video: How to make a bench: DIY video
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