Inside: How to make a custom bench seat cushion with box corners for a really polished look.
It’s no secret that custom upholstery can be really pricey. That’s why, when it comes to projects like how to make a bench seat cushion, it’s usually worth your time to make your own.
Making your own bench seat cushion is probably a lot easier than you might think and will get you the exact look you want without spending a ton of cash.
What you’ll need to make your own bench seat cushion:
- Upholstery Foam Cushion: I used 3 inch foam to give my cushion a substantial look. Be sure to buy a piece of foam that is at least the length and depth of your bench. You can trim it down, so don’t worry if it’s too big when you buy it.
- Fabric of your choice: I used upholstery fabric with a bit of texture on my bench cushion. You will want to use a home decor fabric since it’s a bit thicker and more durable. (this is the exact fabric I used on my cushion.)
- A sewing machine- this is my favorite, not too expensive and not too complicated machine.
- Needle and thread
- Measuring tape and ruler
- Electric knife or hack saw for cutting foam
How to make a bench seat cushion with box corners
Cut your upholstery foam
You’ll cut your upholstery foam depending on the dimensions of your bench. It’s best to take your bench measurements and subtract about an inch on each side to give a little wiggle room on your finished bench cushion.
Lay your upholstery foam out flat and mark the length first with a marker.
Cut your foam using an electric knife. –Yes, an electric knife like you’d use to slice the holiday turkey.
I know that may sound weird but trust me, it’s the easiest way to cut through the foam and maintain a nice clean edge. If you don’t have an electric knife, you can use a hack saw. It’s a little more difficult, but it does the job.
Once you have your foam cut to the right length, measure and mark the depth of your cushion. Using a straight edge, draw a line the entire length of your bench cushion.
Cut along the line using an electric knife or hack saw.
Once you’ve cut your foam, dry fit it on your bench to make sure it fits properly.
How to cover your bench seat cushion
Step 1: Measure for your fabric.
To find the length of your fabric: Take the length of your cushion + 1x the thickness of your foam. Example: my cushion length is 90.5 inches and my foam is 3 inches thick. So 90.5 + 3= 93.5 inches long.
To find the depth of your fabric: Take the depth of your foam + half of the thickness of your foam + 1 inch for the seam x 2. This allows the fabric to wrap around and gives you a seam in the back. Example: my cushion depth is 24.75 and my foam is 3 inches thick. So 24.75 + 1.5 + 1= 27.25 inches x 2= 54.5 inches.
Step 2: Cut your fabric.
Make sure you’re working from a perfectly straight edge to measure your fabric correctly. You may need to cut your fabric to create a perfectly straight edge to start from.
Once you have your straight edge, measure for the depth of your fabric and cut accordingly.
Fold your fabric over in half length wise so that the good side of the fabric is facing in, then starting at one edge make a straight edge at one end. You may want to use binder clips or pins to hold your fabric in place, especially when working with a long piece.
Measure for the length of your fabric from that end to the other end and cut.
Step 3: Sew down the edge of each end using a 1/2 inch seam.
Step 4: Mark the folded edge.
With a fabric marker, mark the folded edge of your cushion cover the entire length of your fabric.
Step 5: Prepare the seams for your box corners.
With the sewn fabric still good sides together, pinch the top layer of the fabric and pull it over until the sewn seam and the marked edge line up exactly.
When doing this you’ll create what looks like a new corner with your seam running diagonally from it.
Place pins along your seam and through all layers of fabric to hold the seam to the marked edge on the opposite side.
Step 6: Measure for box corners.
Slide a ruler down from the corner you just created until the inches indicated on your ruler (from one edge of your fabric to the other,) equal the thickness of your foam.
Example: my foam is 3 inches thick. You can see in the image below that I slid my ruler down from the corner until there were three inches taken up on my ruler from one edge of the fabric to the other.
With your fabric marker, draw a line along the edge of your ruler at this point.
Step 7: Sew along the line.
Sew along the line you made using a straight stitch. Cut the excess fabric off, leaving about 1/4 an inch of excess fabric.
Step 8: Repeat steps 5-7 at the other end of your cushion cover.
Step 9: Turn your cushion cover right side out.
At this point you’ll have what looks like a big envelope with one long edge open.
Step 10: Put your foam in your cushion cover.
Starting at one end, hold the corner of one end of your foam and place as tightly against the inside box corner of your cushion cover as possible.
Slide your foam into your cover and when you get to the other end, hold the corner of the foam and push/pull it as tightly into the other box corner as possible.
This will take a bit of adjusting as you go. Be sure that the box corners are lined up with the corners of the foam and that the fabric on both sides of the foam are as even as possible.
Stitching the back seam of your DIY bench cushion
Once you have your foam inside your cushion cover and it’s adjusted the way you want it to fit, place it on your bench with the unfinished edge facing out.
Step 1: Create a fold at one end.
At one end of your cushion cover fold the short edge in so it lays flat against the foam — like you’re wrapping a gift.
Step 2: Stitch the top flap down.
Fold the top flap down so everything lays flat and pin to hold in place.
With a needle and thread stitch from the top of the diagonal seam to the bottom to hold the top flap down flat.
Step 3: Repeat steps 1-2 at the other end of your cushion cover.
Step 4: Grab the bottom flap and fold the unfinished edge of fabric in about 1/2 an inch.
Step 5: Fold the bottom flap up and pin in place folding in the unfinished edge as you go.
Continue the entire length of your cushion cover.
Step 6: Stitch your seam.
Starting at one end with a needle and thread, stitch the entire length of your seam using a simple loop pattern.
Once you’ve completed the seam turn your bench cushion over so that the stitched seam faces the back. Add your favorite decorative pillows to complete the look!
Creating these built-ins with a bench seat has been a great way to have plenty of seating in this small sitting area.
I’d say this room is coming together quite nicely!
Shop this room: navy and white pillow, pink throw (HomeGoods), gold terrarium.