How to Build a Freestanding Storage Bench

Need clever, good-looking storage? We'll show you how to make a freestanding storage bench for your organizational needs.

For busy families, a bench with hidden storage is more than convenient. It is a necessity. Plus, making your own is a lot easier than you might think. Follow our tutorial below to see how you can make a storage bench for your kitchen, mudroom, playroom, or anywhere else that needs a little organizational love.

  • Working Time 6 Hours
  • Start to Finish 1 Day
  • Difficulty         Projects Kind of Hard
  • Involves Painting, Carpentry Skills, Drilling, Nailing

What you need

Tools

  • Measuring tape
  • Table saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Corner clamps
  • Cordless drill
  • Nail gun
  • Putty knife
  • Miniature paint roller

Materials

  • 3/4" x 4' x 8' MDF sheet
  • Wood glue
  • 1-1/4-inch wood screws
  • Paper towel
  • 1/8 x 3 x 24-inch craft wood trim pieces (x15)
  • 1/2-inch brad nails
  • Wood putty
  • Paint
  • Clear spray sealer
  • Furniture feet with mounting brackets (x4)
  • Piano hinge
  • Lid supports (x2)

Cuts

  • Front and Back Boards (x2)
    3/4 x 15 x 46-inch
  • Side Boards (x2)
    3/4 x 15 x 16-1/2-inch
  • Bottom Board (x1)
    3/4 x 16-1/2 x 44-1/2-inch
  • Lid (x1)
    3/4 x 18-1/2 x 47-inch

How to do it

Step 1 Make Cuts

Using a table saw, make your cuts to the sheet of MDF. Be sure to wear a mask to protect from particles. Sand edges if necessary and wipe clean with a tack cloth. 

Step 2 Assemble First Two Sides

Lay out the bottom, one side, and back board for the bench. Run a bead of wood glue along two edges of the bottom piece as well as where the side and back will meet. Stand the back board perpendicular to the bottom piece and butt the side board against it to create a 90-degree angle. Clamp in place with a corner clamp.

Step 3 Drill and Repeat

Working quickly, drill pilot holes six inches apart along your glue joints, while pressing the boards firmly together. Once the holes are drilled, screw in 1-1/4-inch wood screws. Repeat the gluing and drilling process with the other side piece, followed by the front panel. You should now have a box without a top.

Step 4 Add Trim

Once the box is assembled, measure and cut trim pieces to size. Place wood glue on the back of the trim pieces. Press onto the front of the box, adding a vertical trim piece to each side as well as the center. Place remaining trim pieces horizontally between the vertical trim pieces to line the front edges. Secure each piece in place with a nail gun and 1/2-inch brad nails.

Step 5 Fill Holes

Use wood putty to fill any holes from the nails or gaps in your seams. A putty knife will make the application process a breeze. Once the putty has dried, sand it smooth, and gently wipe clean with a tack cloth. 

Step 6 Paint Box

Once the surface is smooth, apply the first coat of paint. We used a miniature roller brush then touched up with a brush. Apply at least two coats of paint, allowing it to dry between coats as needed. Finish with a clear spray sealer. Don't forget to paint the lid, too! The lid is the 3/4 x 18-1/2 x 47-inch board; it will be attached in later steps. 

Step 7 Install Feet

Once the paint has dried, turn the box over and mark location of feet mounting brackets per manufacturer instructions. Attach the brackets, then install the feet and turn over to test for level.

Step 8 Install Hinge and Supports

Lastly, you will install the lid. Center the piano hinge on the long side of the lid. Install per manufacturer instructions, with half on the box edge and the other on the lid. Next, install lid supports on either end of the lid per manufacturer instructions. Finish by topping the bench with a cushion or pillows, if desired. 

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