How to make a bench seat cushion with box corners

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.

DIY bench seat cushion tutorial

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
  • Scissors
  • 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.

how to cut foam for diy bench seat cushion

Once you’ve cut your foam, dry fit it on your bench to make sure it fits properly.

how to make a bench seat cushion

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.

how to upholster a bench seat cushion

Step 4: Mark the folded edge.

With a fabric marker, mark the folded edge of your cushion cover the entire length of your fabric.DIY cushion for bench seat

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.

box corners on bench seat cover

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.
measure for box corners on cushion cover

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.upholster a seat cushion

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.

how to make a bench cushion

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.

how to make a bench cushion

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.

how to make a bench cushion

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 to make a custom bench seat cushion with box corners

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 to cover a bench seat cushion

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!DIY window seat with bench cushion

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!

DIY window seat with bench cushion

Shop this room: grey and white rug, blue chair fabric, garden stool, bench cushion fabric, lime pillows, blue pillows (no longer available), fur pillows, bamboo roman shade.

DIY window seat with bench cushion

Shop this room: navy and white pillow, pink throw (HomeGoods),  gold terrarium.

Shop My Living Room

Click Each Photo for Sources!




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How to make a bench seat cushion with box corners

About Corey

Corey is the creative behind Hey There, Home where she shares easy-to-follow and beautiful home decor and entertaining ideas. Her mission? To make home decor accessible to everyone, even if you don't consider yourself crafty, and to empower people to decorate their homes in a way that they can actually be lived in, not just looked at.

13 thoughts on “How to make a bench seat cushion with box corners

  1. April T says:

    I just tried to follow this tutorial, but the fabric ended up too small despite triple checking my measurements against the instructions before cutting. Looks like I’ll have to reorder fabric for this project 🙁

    When measuring the length of the fabric, you need to add an additional inch so you can have a 1/2 seam allowance on each side. Otherwise, there is no fabric left to sew!

    When measuring the depth of the fabric you must add in the full depth of the foam or your fabric will end up too short!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hey April, thanks for your honest input. My way makes for a nice tight fit but if someone prefers a looser fit then definitely allow for that.

  2. Sue Sullivan says:

    I’m curious about the fabric depth. You needed 54.5 inches by your calculation. Since the fabric is 54″ did you just go with that? and minimize the seam allowance?

  3. Robin says:

    I have some new cognitive issues but have been sewing for most my life and I’m almost 60. Your instructions say to fold the fabric lengthwise, and I have always thought that meant along the longest edge. But if I did that, my almost square foam would come out for a rectangular foam piece. I had to go over and over the instructions and just fold on the other end to make it work. Help?

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hi Robin! If your foam is square you’ll cut it accordingly. You want to fold it so that the two pieces meet in what will be the back side of your cushion. So there will be no seam on the front. Hope this clarifies!

  4. Jacque says:

    We are working on a sear cushion and considering your design? However, we are puzzled about the length dimension you suggest for the fabric. You do not include a seam allowance. Is there a reason for this?

    1. Corey Willis says:

      I use a 1/4 inch seam, Jacque, and I don’t cut for a seam allowance so that the cushion fits sung inside. If that makes you nervous, you could add a 1/4 inch for seam allowance. I’ve done it both ways and just prefer to have the cushion fit really snug. If you want, I’d love to see your finished cushion; please email it to me [email protected] 🙂 🙂

    2. Laura says:

      Where do you find foam that’s 96 inches long!?! I’ve looked everywhere! Joann’s only goes to 78. 🙄 would it be awful to put two pieces together?

    3. Corey Willis says:

      Hey Laura, great question – you can order the longer lengths of foam from Joann’s online and just pick it up in your local store!

  5. Kathryn says:

    I followed this and your directions and pictures were perfect. I love how my bench turned out! I used the electric knife and it went through the foam so easily. Thanks.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      I’m so excited that yours turned out great, Kathryn! Thanks for letting me know!

  6. Kasia says:

    This is very helpful, thank you, Corey 🙂 I’m planning on doing something like this for the pallet sofa for my garden. What fabric would you recommend for outdoors? Have you got any tips on waterproofing it?

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hi Kasia, I suggest that you spray your outdoor fabric with a water resistant spray, like Never Wet (by Rust-Oleum.) If they get wet, over time they will get mold on them. I live in a pretty dry climate, so I don’t have much problem with it. has an amazing collection of outdoor fabric.

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