Step 1- Build your base
I needed a base for my banquette. I didn't want to bother with building or framing it from scratch so I bought 3 Ikea Besta shelf units for $150 total. They're also pretty light weight, so I can move the banquette and clean under it easily.
They're not very deep, and I wanted to have enough space to sit comfortably so I made the cushion seat deeper by 3 inches. The cushion base and seat overhang at the back. This also allows me to still plug things into the wall sockets that are now behind the banquette.
Step 2 - Chose your cushion base
I decided to use 2' x 4' white pegboard panels for the cushions. I bought 6 of these for a total of $41.70. I had Home Depot cut them to size. These pegboard panels also come in 8' lengths, but they're made out of a thinner and flimsier material. Because I needed to span more than 4', I joined the pegboards with 2" double wide mending plates.
Step 3 - Cut your foam to size
The next step was to cut the foam to size. You can buy foam over the internet cut to your specifications, but it is super expensive. JoAnns and Hancock Fabrics sometime have good deals on their foam, but not as cheap as using camping pads, which is what I decided to go with. I really saved a bundle by using these. They're 6' by 2' and cost $22 each. I made sure I picked the firmest I could find.
The easiest way to cut foam is with an electric knife. I used a long ruler as a guide. It also helps to hold the knife blades from underneath with your other hand (make sure you're wearing gloves!).
Step 4 - Mark your tufts
Next, decide where you want your tufts to be. This is where using pegboard comes in handy.
Mark the holes before hand. Place the marked pegboard on the foam. Use a marker to create dots on the foam.
Step 5 - Make holes in foam
You then remove some of the foam where the dots are. I used a hollow end of a broom. Simply punch it through the foam and remove the cutout foam.
Step 6 - Batting
Next you'll want to glue the foam to the pegboard with spray glue, and cover it with some batting for extra cushiness. Staple the batting to keep it in place.
Step 7 - Make your fabric covered buttons
Make your buttons. This is where the project starts to get tedious, and frustrating. In all, I used 172 buttons! I bought all of the buttons on sale so they only cost me about 30 cents each, approximately $50 total.
This is where I almost lost it! Thankfully, I didn't cover all of my buttons at once, because after tufting a few, I realized that the backs would come off when I tried to tuft. This happened on a number of occasions. So I decided that I would glue all of the backs onto the buttons. This was an extra step but so necessary. I know upholstery shops will make you covered buttons for $1 each which is great if you're only doing a few, but not a couple of hundred.
Step 8 - Measure and cut your fabric
Next stage is to cut your fabric. Make sure you have enough fabric on either side of the foam to be able to tuft into the holes.
Step 9 - Tuft
Start tufting. There's definitely a bit of a skill to this, and it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I think it was a lot harder for me because I was tufting such long pieces. I started in the middle and worked my way out.
You'll want to guide the fabric into diamonds with your hands.
To secure the buttons you can either use a staple method, or a button method. The staple method was difficult because I was using a stapler that didn't have much power, so the staples weren't sitting as tight as I'd like to hold the cotton. Definitely make sure you use upholstery thread for your buttons. Pull the thread tight and staple in a zig zag fashion.
My hand started to hurt after a while of doing these, so I switched it up and decided to use some buttons instead of staples. Use a slip knot to pull the buttons tight. You probably wouldn't want to use buttons on the seat cushion because they might break when you sat on them, but for the seat back, this method could work fine.
Step 10 - Staple fabric on back
Then turn your cushion over and staple the fabric, making sure you pull it tight.
Step 11 - Make banquette skirt
Next step, the skirt. I wanted a tailored skirt that could be easily pulled up to access the storage in the bench.
I made some piping, and cut the panels. I ironed a 2 inch seam on either side of the panels.
The panels were then stapled to the underside of the seat cushion.
Base cabinets - Ikea Besta - $150
Foam pads - $120
Buttons - Dritz - $55
Peg board - $40
Mending plates - $7
Fabric - Warsa Lime Linen, Gray Lines Linen Inc 14 yds - $140
Batting - 4 yds - $20
Upholstery Thread - $3
Grand Total - $535!
Too many hours to count!