DIY: Build Your Own Mission Inspired Bench

Mission- style furniture is expensive compared to other styles. Solid oak is used in the construction with distinctive details. The furniture is not painted; the grain is allowed to show. Cushions for the furniture are made out of heavy fabric, usually denim or leather.

This bench is inspired by the design and the details given match the style. The bench itself does not have to be made from oak wood. Any wood can be used and stained to mimic oak. If painting the piece is desired, go ahead.

This article assumes the builder has knowledge of woodworking skills and some skills working with fabric. Bartering with woodworking or sewing friends is always a good way to share plans and help each other. PA home builders will have expertise in woodworking for the construction of the benches. The size and shape of the benches will provide attractive look to the garden area. 

The “sand as you go” method works well with all furniture. Always measure before cutting pieces even when plans are given. The kerf on saw blades can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. If a well- worn measuring tape is off, even by an eighth of an inch, it can affect the finished piece. Wherever the term “approximately” is used, measure first.

The legs are attached with the 2 ½” screws, 1 ½” screws are used for all other a

You Will Need:

  • One sheet ¾” furniture grade plywood   
  • One 3- by- 3- by- 6′ · One 3- by- 3- by- 4′ 
  • Two 1- by- 6- by- 8′ · Two or three furring strips, 8′ long 
  • Fabric to cover bench and cushion

Cutting List for Parts:

  • One piece ¾” plywood cut 18″ by 54″ 
  • Two pieces each 2″ by 2″ with ½” groove cut in center ½” deep, approximately 9″ long   
  • Two pieces each 2″ by approximately 45″ long 
  • Two pieces each 2″ by approximately 9″ long   
  • Ten pieces each ½” by 1″ by
  • Two pieces each 4″ by approximately 45″ long
  • Two pieces each 4″ by approximately 9″ long

Tools and Items Needed:

  • Router or dado blades for table saw   
  • Table saw · Jig Saw · Measuring tools and markers   
  • Construction adhesive · Upholstery stapler · Two or three inch foam cut 18″ by 54″   
  • Sandpaper in varying grits · Stain or primer and paint · Angle corner braces, 1″ and screws   
  • Wood screws, #10, 1 ½” long and 2″ long · Pocket screw jig · Drill and bits

Step One:

Begin with the bench seat. Turn it over to the rough side and mark two inches in on all sides.

Place a leg against each corner inside the marks and attach with wood screws. Using construction adhesive to hold the legs in place before using the screws is acceptable. Reinforce the legs with angle pieces after the side trim is installed.

Step Two:

First, make the bottom bracing from the pieces marked C). Rip the pieces from the 1- by- 6. Before cutting to length, measure the distance between the front legs on the long side and the back legs. The distances should match. Cut the pieces to length and attach with pocket screws on the inside of the piece.

The pieces should be two inches up from the floor.

Step Three:

Measure the distance between the legs on the short side. Take piece B), and cut two to length. Attach with pocket screws on the inside of the piece. The groove side should point up. Ensure the bottom of the piece lines up with the bottom of the bracing, two inches up from the floor.

Step Four:

Measure the distance between the legs at the top on the long and short sides. Cut pieces F) and G) to length. Attach to the legs using pocket screws along the insides.

If desired, cut a groove along the bottom of the top piece beginning two inches from each side and 1″ deep at its height. This is a detail often found in Mission- style furniture.

Step Five:

Measure from the inside of the groove in piece B) to the top of the inside trim. Cut the ten slats to length and position 5 evenly on each side. Screw in place on the top and attach with construction adhesive in the bottom.

Step Six:

Cut the fabric so it fits over the top by 4″ all the way around. Staple underneath and trim the ends neatly.

Cover the cushion with fabric and place on top.

Alternatively, the cushion can be placed on top and the fabric stapled over it and under the bench top. Decorative trim can be attached around the bottom edge.

Paint or seal the wood according to your décor plans.

Notes:

  • Use four commercially made table or bench legs for this bench to match the décor.   
  • Use reclaimed 4- by- 4 lumber for everything but the bench seat. Cover the seat with fabric and lay the cushion on top.   
  • Place two benches together for a quick child’s bed. The cushions can be used as a mattress or use an air mattress.
  • Make the bench longer and place two together for an impromptu bed. Use cushions or an air mattress.   
  • If using commercially produced legs or reclaimed wood with different dimensions, measure first before cutting any pieces.
  • Use outdoor fabrics and wood sealer if using the bench on a patio.
  • Alter the measurements to make a coffee table, side tables and more.

Guests will be impressed by your design choice and will assume you purchased it instead of built it. Build a few for anniversary, housewarming or other occasion gifts.