Toy Box Into A Bench

2:45 PM

Last spring I bought this chest at the thrift store for $10.00
Since then, we've used it as a toy box in our family room and it looks like this, overflowing with stuffed animals and looking crappy.
So I made a new lid and cushion, along with a paint job to hopefully make it look like a bench rather than the toy box. 


1. LID
I bought a little 2'x4' sheet of MDF 1/2" thick for the lid/ seat.
I had the guy at Home Depot cut it down to size for my box.  I measured 1/4" overhang on the front and two sides.

I chose not to prime.  So I just painted 2 coats of semi-gloss white paint.  I painted the lid separate from the chest.

I used a long skinny "piano hinge" that was 1/2" wide on each side, and 30" long.  It was $6.50 and worked well to secure the lid to the skinny back wall of the chest.

I debated whether or not to add the lid to the toy box.  Lots of comments in this post gave reasons for or against the lid.  The main concern was the lid coming down on kids' heads and fingers.
But I found these cool hinges at Lowes for only $2.65 each called Spring Lid Supports.
They have right and left hinges.

The directions where to screw the hinges are specific and on the package.  Once it's on, it holds the lid up and open, then folds on itself to close.  These are awesome and I found I only needed one to hold up the toy box lid.  The lid can only open 65 degrees with the hinge, but I thought it was plenty of room to get everything out, plus it prevents the lid from opening to much and hitting the wall behind the chest.

The lid is finished and onto the cushion!


I always forget how stinking expensive foam is.  JoAnns had their foam 50% off, and it would have still cost me $15.00 for 2" thick foam.  So I took the cheaper route with using 1" foam I already had from Walmart.  So I just layered 2 pieces together to make the foam 2" thick.  I did have to whip stitch some scraps together for one of the layers.

I measured my foam to know how big to cut my cushion fabric, and added 1" in each direction for 1/2" seam allowances.  I cut a top out of canvas, and used scrap denim for the bottom.
For the sides, the same thing, adding 1" for seam allowances.  Since my foam was 2" thick, the strips for the sides were 3" wide.

PIPING:  To make the piping, I cut the yellow canvas 1.5" wide and sewed them together in one long strip.  I measured the perimeter of the cushion and cut a piece of thick cord with a few inches to spare.  Next I folded the skinny strips around thick cording, and using my zipper foot sewed the piping in, leaving the first and last 3-4" unsewn.

Using 1/2" seam allowance with the zipper foot, sew the piping all around the edges of the top and bottom pieces.  Leave 3-4" unsewn in the beginning to connect it with the end. 
When you get to the end, you need to connect the two pieces.  I lay it flat, and take the yellow strips to see where they lay meet, then sew the yellow strips together.  Next I trim the cord to match up and just sew it all to the base.  Step 4 in this table cloth tutorial has better pictures demonstrating this step to bring the two ends together.

To fix the problem of having a cushion on the toy box that would fall off all the time, I used industrial velcro to secure the cushion to the box lid.
So I sewed 2 pieces of the soft side of the velcro to the bottom cushion piece.

I decided to have a zipper in the back of the cushion side to get the foam in and out.  For the back side, rather than cutting a 3" wide strip, you cut 2 strips 2" wide.  Then you sew them together, adding the zipper in the center seam.  With 1/2" seam allowances, once the zipper is in, that strip should be 3" wide like the rest of the side strips.
Then you just sew the sides to the top piece, meeting the two ends up like the piping.  

At this point, you just line up the corners of the sides to the corners of the bottom piece and sew them together around the big rectangle.
**Make sure you leave a few inches open in the zipper before you sew the cushion shut.  You need the hole to flip it right side out.

Once you've flipped the cushion cover right side out and jammed the foam in, you can attach the scratchy halves of the velcro to the box lid.
The industrial velcro has a super sticky backing.  So I just stuck the scratchy velcro (with the plastic backing still on) to the cushion on the fuzzy velcro half.  Then I peeled the plastic backing off, then positioned the cushion on the lid and stuck it down squash the velcro onto the lid.  This way the velcro on the lid would match up where I want it to the cushion velcro.

Then it's finished!!

It goes in our family room right next to our garage door, so I am glad to have a bench to sit on to get shoes and coats on before heading out the door.
So far it's been great, the velcro keeps the cushion where it should be (unless the little guy pulls it off), and the spring lid hinge makes it safe.  But the best part is it looks a lot better, and I can hide the toy mess.
joining linky party @ savy southern style

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  1. I need me one of those benches! May just have to rig one up too.

  2. This looks great! What a great find at the thrift store too... I'm never that lucky!
    I've been needing to make a cushion like this for awhile... maybe this will be my push to do so!

  3. super demo... great inspration !

  4. Love this too! All your posts are reminding me how much I really need to get back to getting this house in order. hmmm.

  5. Love the bench/toybox! A great idea and great job!

  6. You are too crafty for your own good!! Love it!! :)

  7. I wish I had your eye! I am so impressed that you can make such cute, modern things out of older/used stuff!

  8. awesome!!! i love the fabric on that! it is just gorgeous!

  9. Now this is an awesome $10 the fabric! I’m having a GIVEAWAY going on…hop on over and enter. My weekly NIFTY THRIFTY TUESDAYS PARTY is going on…would love to have you join in on the fun.


  10. I love how you pieced the foam! I am cheap like that too! LOL Looks really fabulous! Fabric selection looks really good against the white.

  11. Great transformation and tutorial. I appreciate you joining the party. Love your blog title. Would love for you to add a link to my party in your post so others can find it and may want to join in.

  12. Great job! Visiting from Boring to Better!

  13. Well done...I love how a couple of thoughtful changes can really breathe new life into old junk.

  14. I love this bench and storage chest!!!!! You are so creative and I love it! I am your newest follower!!! Come join me at my blog! Brooke
    Girl Boy Girl Inspired

  15. Wow! You are so good at writing tutorials! Love the bench. It looks lovely and holds so much stuff!

    Would love for you to drop by this weekend and join Passion for Paint!

  16. Last spring I bought this chest at the thrift store for $10.00 ...


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