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A Tuft Act to Follow

January 18, 2012

When I was in high school my mother gave me my grandmother’s vanity bench to grace my bedroom.  She re-covered several times while I was growing up and it finally became mine when Ryan and I moved into our new home.  I kept the piece original for many years and but finally decided to refinish and recover the piece to match my style and our home.  During the process I found out some cool history from my grandmother.  Here is the original piece as it was given to me:

It’s been an accent piece in our bedroom for about five years now.  Because all of the furniture in our Master is black and not cherry, i decided this would be a good project to “before and after DIY”.  I got out my screw driver and removed all the screws securing the bench top, then got out my sander and removed about 50 years of stain and polyurethane.  I re-stained the piece with Minwax “Ebony” stain and re-coated several times with polyurethane, after light sanding between.


It took about 3 coats polyurethaning but I finally got the glossy coat I was after.  I then tackled the bench seat.  After removing 2 layers of fabric I found a really cool pink vintage crushed velveteen.

The velvet was covered up by 2 layers of fabric and a large layer of cushion.

My goal was to remove all the ugly fabric and extra cushion so I could preserve the vintage pink velvet.  Unfortunately the pink velvet was WAY to delicate and I was not able to remove it.  I decided to keep the original fabric in-tact and recover it.  My goal was to make a pillow out of the pink 1940’s fabric, but because it was so delicate it was just not possible.   The next best thing (in my mind) was to keep the original fabric in-tact underneath.

I found out from my grandmother that A) she didn’t know I had her bench B) that she didn’t know where the matching vanity is and C) It was bought  when she moved in1946 when she lived Springfield, NJ.   How cool is it that my bench dates back to 1946?

I decided to cover the bench with a white leather and contrast the fabric with black tufted buttons.  I made the black buttons with a kit I bought at JoAnn’s.

I cut my fabric to size and then I stapled it to the back of t the board using an electric staple gun.

After she was so beautifully staples back together I remembered that I forgot to drill the holes for the buttons.  Argh.  Just trying to keep it real.  I don’t claim to do anything perfectly.  I had to get out a flat head and remove almost all the staples (and I put in a lot!).   The first step was measuring where I wanted the button to go.  I marked the spots with a pencil and covered them up with masking tape.  The tape is suppose to prevent breakage when drilling into the wood.

After I had all the holes drilled in the bench seat I re-stapled the fabric  and threaded my needle with some heavy duty thread.   (FYI,  I watched several ‘how to’ videos online).  I strung the thread through the black buttons then through my drilled holes.  I secured each button tightly using about three knots through a large flat button on the back.  The flat button keeps the thread in place and tightens the top

After all the tufting was completed I screwed the bench top back into the frame.

Here is the finished product:

And in true Before and After DIY fashion the split screen:

The tufts aren’t as deep as I would’ve liked, (that’s because I didn’t add any extra padding underneath) but oh well.  Not too shabby for my first try at tufting….I’m thinking a headboard like this one I found on Pinterest may be next!

I hope I have made my grandmother proud!  My only wish is to someday find the matching vanity that goes with this bench.  I have the mirror, which I also refinished in the same black varnish several years ago.  One day my goal is to have the whole matching set together.

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