A bench cushion is a great way to bring color and comfort to your home plus it adds softness to hard seats. We’ve shared how to make a simple bench cushion before that didn’t have any boxing. In today’s tutorial, we’re going to share how to make a bench cushion with boxing on the side. These box cushions aren’t too complicated to sew and are great for mudroom benches, window seats, banquettes and more.
For this tutorial, we’re making a cushion to fit on the top of an outdoor storage box. This box keeps patio cushions and pillows out of the elements when not in use and by adding a cushion to the top, it will now be able to be double as a bench for extra patio seating. We’re patterning our cushion off the dimensions of the box top. Since our cushion will be outside we chose a P/Kaufmann Outdoor fabric with a playful, small-scale pattern, Little Hipster Poolside. However any outdoor living fabric would be great for this application.
- Outdoor Living Fabric (we used P/Kaufmann Outdoor Little Hipster Poolside)
- Polyurethane Foam
- #5 Continuous Zipper—long enough for the back of your cushion
- Outdoor Thread
- Piping Cord
How to Make a Bench Cushion
1. Measure the bench you’re creating a cushion for. Write down those measurements. Then add 1/2” to each measurement. This will be your cut size for your fabric panels. Measure this out on your fabric and cut out your first panel.
2. Use the panel you just cut to pattern your second panel.
3. Next you’ll need to cut out the boxing. The boxing will need to wrap around your cushion on 3 sides (because the zipper will be in the back). Your boxing height should be equal to the height of your foam plus 1/2”. For the width add the measurement across the front, and the two sides, plus 8 inches. The extra 8 inches will let the boxing wrap around the back corners to meet the zipper plaque. Pattern and cut out your strips. If your boxing needs to be sewn together to have enough width to wrap around the whole cushion, cut one of your strips in half. Then sew the short ends of that divided boxing strip to either side of the full width strip. This will evenly distribute the seams on either side of the cushion so neither seam will fall in the front.
4. Cut your zipper tape so that it’s 2” shorter than your cushion width.
5. Since the fabric we’re using is a little thin, we’re going to double it to add strength to our zipper plaque. To do this, cut out your zipper plaque fabric with a length equal to that of your zipper and a height twice the size of your other boxing. Cut two fabric strips of that size. If you’re fabric is thick enough, cut your zipper plaque to the length of the zipper and a height equal to the height of your boxing plus 1”.
6. To double your fabric, press or pin your boxing strip in half. If your fabric doesn’t need to be doubled, press or pin your boxing fabric down 1”.
7. Pin the boxing on one side of the zipper so the folded side is half way across the zipper teeth.
8. Using a zipper foot on your sewing machine, sew one side of the zipper plaque to the zipper.
9. Pin the opposite side of the zipper plaque in place on the zipper flange and sew it down as well.
10. Make bias piping. Follow our How to Make Bias Piping video for this step.
11. Sew the piping to the right side of both your cushion plates (top and bottom). Start at the middle of one long side of the plate so your piping can join in the back of the cushion.
12. To join the piping, let the piping overlap itself by a few inches, and then cut off the excess piping. Use scissors to open the stitching in the piping cover on the free end to expose the cord.
13. Lay the exposed cord next to the sewn piping and cut the exposed cord so it lines up exactly with the other end of the piping. Fold the remaining fabric at an angle and then lay the sewn end so the cords are meeting.
14. Fold the angled fabric over to create a clean piping junction and sew in place.
15. Take a small piece of scrap fabric and fold it in half to create a small zipper stop. Pin in place. Do this for both sides of the zipper. Be sure your zipper slider is installed before adding your stops. Then sew the zipper plaque to the boxing on each side.
16. Find the center location of each side on one of the cushion plates. Match up those centers with the proper places on the boxing and pin in place. You’ll likely have extra boxing fabric at the back of the cushion. Create a fold so the excess fabric is under the zipper and pin in place.
18. Sew the boxing to one of the plates.
19. Repeat the process with the second plate.
20. Unzip your zipper and turn your cushion cover right side out.
21. If needed cut your foam down to size. Our foam was a little too big, so we traced out the measurements we needed on the foam with a Sharpie and then used an electric kitchen knife to cut the foam to size.
22. Stuff your foam into your cushion cover. Make sure to push out the corners so they are well filled out. If you want, you can even add a little stuffing to the corners to give them more of a rounded look.
23. Zip up your zipper and you’re done!
Do you have an outdoor bench that could use a cushion like this? Have you made a project like this before? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments!