I mentioned (here) that a small idea often snowballs. This was my small idea: Build a bench. I had the perfect wall that could use a bench. But I realized one bench wouldn’t be enough, so I decided on two. Once the benches were on the wall I needed a photo collage above them…if you give a mouse a cookie, the story of my life.

I searched through my favorite building site ana-white.com and found the plans for the rustic x bench, modeled after a Pottery Barn bench. There’s even video instructions for this plan if you need a little extra help!

I altered the plan slightly, as I needed a bench that was just a little taller than what the plan offered. But other than that it was strictly following instructions and all measurements can be found at her site.

1. Cut your four legs at a 5 degree bevel and 5 degree angle. If these are not exact, your bench won’t sit flat on the floor. I cut one leg, and moved the wood down, cut the next leg and so forth.

2. Cut apron and base with a 5 degree angle (but no bevel). I used my Kreg jig to attach them to the legs. If you don’t have a jig, you can pre-drill some holes and use regular screws. But the kreg jig works like a charm, totally worth it!

I pre-drill my jig holes before I ever attach anything together. I map it out as to what pieces need drilled and where and I make all the holes in the beginning. So when it was time for me to attach the top, I already had my holes ready for screws.

3. Attach the two sets of legs together with another apron. I used some 3 foot clamps to keep everything tight as I made the attachments once again using the predrilled jig holes.

At this point, you have a bench that looks like this:

Sadly I didn’t take any pictures of making and attaching the cross bars. This was by far the most difficult step of the whole process. I was dealing with some funky angles so I would make a cut and place it on the bench and then adjust 1 degree one way or the other. I had to do this for two crossbars for each bench. It took at least an hour – way too long! I attached them using my nail gun, shooting through the apron and base piece of wood.

4. I clamped my top to the base and secured them with screws.

At this point I filled what few holes I had made with my nail gun. The nice thing about using a Kreg is the holes are hidden, so there’s no need to fill them. I sanded the whole thing down and primed and painted.

And there you have it – two benches for $20 a piece! I’m quite pleased with the results.

I’m ready for my next building project…