How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

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.

Materials List:

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

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.

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

2. Use the panel you just cut to pattern your second panel.

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

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.

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

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”.

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

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”.

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

7. Pin the boxing on one side of the zipper so the folded side is half way across the zipper teeth.

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

8. Using a zipper foot on your sewing machine, sew one side of the zipper plaque to the zipper.

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

9. Pin the opposite side of the zipper plaque in place on the zipper flange and sew it down as well.

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

10. Make bias piping. Follow our How to Make Bias Piping video for this step.

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

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.

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

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.

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

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.

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14. Fold the angled fabric over to create a clean piping junction and sew in place.

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

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.

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

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.

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

18. Sew the boxing to one of the plates.

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

 

 

19. Repeat the process with the second plate.

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

20. Unzip your zipper and turn your cushion cover right side out.

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

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.

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

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.

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing

23. Zip up your zipper and you’re done!

How to Make an Outdoor Bench Cushion with Boxing


Everything you need to sew your own outdoor bench cushion from foam to fabric is available at Sailrite.com.

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!

6 comments
  1. Thanks for the tutorial. Am I the only one who finds sewing the corners of the boxing to the plates a challenge? Mine never lay flat for a nice corner. I usually fiddle the corner and turn the extra fabric with the needle buried. It works but it’s never a smooth process. Any ideas? Is there a video that shows the turns at the corner in detail I should watch? Thanks!

    • jessica fullerton said:

      I staystitch the boxing where it will meet the corners and then notch the fabric to the staystitch line so that it is easy to turn a right angle. Then I cut the little excess triangle to reduce bulk and everything lies flat. Marking the exact place to turn with a pencil also helps as does a pin to make sure that the boxing is lined up exactly right at the corner.

  2. Jim said:

    Thank You, this is very helpful for us beginners, looking forward to more help, I also sail and want to learn how to make and repair my sails in the future

  3. Shaun said:

    Jim, I can vouch for the Sailrite sail kits. I too sail (15 ft dinghy) and wanted to build my own main/jib. I started with a main sail kit from SR based on the required dimensions (approx. 100 sqft). It came with thorough instructions and everything I needed (minus sewing machine) including computer cut sail panels, and all fittings. You basically tape the panels together with the magical basting tape and then double stitch each seam. The difficult part is managing the sewing as the sail grows in area. You continually roll, unroll, and reroll your work so that it will pass under your machine arm. Eventually I was running my stitches with the machine on the floor. With reef points and batten pockets, it took me a couple of months of weekend work to complete. Came out great. I still get a satisfied thrill every time I hoist it. The following winter I bought a jib kit from Sailrite (beautiful bronze hanks and all) which went together much quicker (due to experience and much reduced area) and now I have a terrific set. I really enjoyed the process, and recommend you get a kit rather than cut your own cloth, particularly for your first set. Best of luck!

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