diy garden bench on porch placemat pillows

DIY Garden Bench & More Placemat Pillows

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Moving from an apartment into a house has been awesome, especially because it means we have so much more space to work on projects. Today I’m sharing a DIY garden bench & some more placemat pillows. Build this DIY Garden Bench. See the bench we built using Ana White's plans as a guideline plus more placemat pillows!

DIY Garden Bench and Placemat Pillows

If you follow me on Instagram you probably see photos every so often of furniture the hubs is building. Prior to moving he hadn’t built anything since shop class in high school, and yes that was a while ago.

In the past couple of months, he has built a couple of desks {including this one}, a storage shelf, and his latest endeavor, a garden bench. I get to be the helper and am slowly learning how to be more comfortable around power tools. Best of all, we feel like if we see something in a magazine or in the store we can’t afford, we will just build it! There is something so exciting and freeing about that.

Eric learns something new from every project and I am amazed every time I walk into the garage and see the transformation of what was once a pile of wood.

Build this DIY Garden Bench. See the bench we built using Ana White's plans as a guideline plus more placemat pillows!

One of our favorite building resources is Ana White. I was able to meet her at last year’s Haven conference and she is seriously amazing, and her story is super inspiring. Seriously, you should read it here if you love DIY, want to DIY, or wish you could DIY, but think you can’t {by the way, you can!}. Chances are, you already follow her, but if not you definitely should! Here is a link to the garden bench plans Eric went off of.

This bench was actually built for his co-worker, Hannah, and when Eric’s buddy wanted to come over to hang out he got wrangled into helping with the bench. I think it made them feel better about playing their video game later on, after messing around in the garage for hours, haha. Yes, he still plays video games, umm does that change once kids are born?

Anyway, they didn’t take many photos but you can get the plans off Ana White’s site anyway, so I’ll show you a few photos and here is what Eric said they changed:

We made some changes to the height of the seat, the arm rest and the overall height. In order to make the bench fit Hannah perfectly we lowered the seat level by two inches. We then lowered the arm rest by one inch (the distance between the seat and the arm rests in the plan wasn’t big enough) making the distance between the seat and the arm rest one inch larger, but the overall height of the arm rest ended up being one inch lower. In order to make it all look right we then had to drop the height of the back rest an inch as well.

Hope that makes sense, but you can also see the “brag posts” on Ana’s website for even more bench inspiration.

Before Eric dropped this DIY garden bench off for Hannah I snapped a few shots of it on our porch, along with some new placemat pillows I recently made. In case you missed my post on how to make placemat pillows around Christmas, you can read it here. And you don’t even need to sew them up, just use some Liquid Stitch instead. I LOVE that stuff!

Build this DIY Garden Bench. See the bench we built using Ana White's plans as a guideline plus more placemat pillows!

One of the placemats I bought on clearance at Target right after Christmas for about $2 and then I picked up a 4 pack of placemats for $5 at TJMaxx a couple months ago. I love that they are square. I used the “stuffing” from old pillows to make these bad boys and love the pop of color they bring into our living room. They also look really good outside and did you know you can spray any throw pillow with Thompsons’s WaterSeal Fabric Seal to make it weatherproof? I learned that at the Haven conference last year, and thought it was pretty neat.

Build this DIY Garden Bench. See the bench we built using Ana White's plans as a guideline plus more placemat pillows!

Eric used the tea/vinegar stain on the DIY garden bench, but the color wasn’t coming out as consistent across the boards – I think partially due to the fact he didn’t stir it in between. Regardless, we went over the tea stain with a darker Rust-Oleum stain afterwards that made it look almost black. The stain would have looked completely different without the tea stain underneath, but I still think it turned out great. What do you think?

Oh and please excuse the pollen all over our porch. I did a little sweeping but that thing needs some serious power washing! I’m just happy the sun came out for a little bit over the weekend, it was a gorgeous day!

Build this DIY Garden Bench. See the bench we built using Ana White's plans as a guideline plus more placemat pillows!

Have you built your own garden/porch bench or have any favorite furniture building resources? If so I’d love to hear about them!

Thanks for stopping by!


  • Aaaah the bench is FAB, Katie! I totally saw those placemats on clearance at Target and wish I had thought to make them into pillowcases!!!! Genius.

    April 21, 2014
  • Skillz.

    April 21, 2014
  • Hi Katie, Your bench and the place mat pillows turned out amazing. Making me wish I had a house with a front porch. Happy Spring.

    April 21, 2014
  • That bench is awesome! Go Eric! And great minds must think alike cause I bought one of those placemats on clearance to make a pillow too 🙂 I can just see you sittin’ on your porch enjoying the quiet. I don’t know what quiet is, I have kids…enjoy it while you can!

    April 21, 2014
  • This is beautiful! Love how it turned out.

    April 22, 2014
  • Holy cow, I am so impressed! The bench (and pillows) look amazing 🙂 I haven’t built anything out of wood but would love to someday. Totally inspired by this!

    April 22, 2014
  • karin

    I just love this and will be featuring you at our TWIRL and TAKE a BOW party.
    Thanks for linking up!

    April 27, 2014
  • Just wanted you to know, I loved this so much, it’s being featured on The DIY’ers!

    April 28, 2014
  • Awesome bench that looks even better with the pillows!! You two were meant to be together. 😉

    April 28, 2014
  • Both the bench and the pillows are lovely! Pinned it!

    Thanks so much for sharing at the linky party,
    <3 Christina @ I Gotta Create!

    May 3, 2014
  • Your bench looks terrific! I love how you stained it dark. It really makes the placemat pillows that you made pop. I’m going to start looking for inexpensive placemats to use for pillows for my home. That’s a great idea!

    May 5, 2014

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