The internet is great for a lot of things, but perhaps its greatest characteristic is its propensity to facilitate knowledge sharing. A couple decades ago, if you wanted a great DIY project, you either needed to find the right book or have a crafty friend. With the internet, we're able to rely on each others' collective ingenuity, creating a whole that's much greater than the sum of its parts.
With $200 worth of supplies, five hours time, and a bit of persistence, Ben Uyeda creates an outdoor sofa that evokes modern West Elm style at a fraction of the price. The end product looks quite similar to their Portside Sofa — it's just about a thousand dollars cheaper.
For supplies, Ben starts with two 4 x 8s (both 8 feet in length), two 2 x 8s, L-brackets, lag screws, and outdoor cushions from IKEA. While this is a pretty easy project if you've got the right tools, they're not exactly tools that everyone would have lying around. Maybe this'll be the project that has you building out your tool box! In any event, you'll need a power drill, a circular saw, a miter saw, and an orbital sander to finish this project.
The first step in the project is cutting all the wood down to size. Ben cuts both of his 4 x 8s several times, landing with a set of pieces 32" in length. The directions for the 2 x 8s are a bit less specific — you're going to want them to be as long as three cushions, whichever ones you may be using. Ben uses one piece for back support, and another three for the seat itself.
Before bringing the pieces together, Ben sands them all using his orbital sander. You could use sandpaper, but it'll take a lot longer!
When putting the bench together, Uyeda starts with the side panels. The blocks of wood will be stacked three-high, but when you're done, it's likely that your lag screws won't be long enough to connect all of them. In Ben's case, he drilled holes a bit deeper "so that the lag screws could be recessed."
Each of your panels will need a set of L-brackets, which will support the set of the bench. If you've got a "favorite side" for your panels, be sure to put the L-brackets on the opposite side so that the grain will be visible.
Before dealing with the brackets for the back piece, connect the two panels using the 2x8s for the seat.
Now it's time to bring this all home. After securing the brackets for your backrest, the bench is ready for its last piece. Be sure to angle the brackets in a way that will leave you comfortable when you're sitting down.
After it's all put together, you're ready for the final touch — the paint job. Ben uses Minwax grey stain "because this piece is going outside and will turn grey in the sun anyways." For such a creative guy, it's a little surprising that he's taking such a pragmatic approach!
Were you inspired by this project? What changes would you make to make it your own? Let us know in the comments, and when you're done, share it with your friends on Facebook. They might come away even more inspired than you did!