Today I’m sharing how to make this beginner DIY wood bench (which can be used outdoors or inside), sponsored by The Home Depot Canada. I’ve been asked to share some simpler DIY builds and this is a good beginner project! You don’t need a lot of tools (where I’ve used power tools, you can swap in a lot of cheaper hand tools) and it has a simple construction.
The last bench we made had welded legs, so I know not everyone can easily duplicate that at home. I wanted to make a really simple, easy DIY bench as a beginner woodworking project. And, to be honest, the welded bench ended up being way too heavy for what I had in mind. I wanted a bench I could easily move around the property, to the deck or fire pit for parties, maybe to the front patio in the summer. But it’s a sturdy little thing and I actually need help to move it. So it has a more permanent home on the bunkie deck, where it’s really useful. Guests can set their luggage or bags down while they fumble with the lock (while getting smothered in kisses from our two pups). Because the welded bench has a more permanent home, this year I decided to make something lighter to serve the original purpose I had in mind: something I can easily bring into the coop when hubby and I chicken watch, or bring down to the fire pit to set out some plates and dishes.
As a fun challenge, I tried to keep the cuts, tools, and steps to a minimum so anyone can build this beginner DIY wood bench. I also used wood from The Home Depot Canada, so it’s easy and affordable to find the supplies. You might even find some leftover wood to use (our house came with a ton of wood stuffed in the garage rafters from the former owner, haha). Plus using wood intended for construction lends a cool, rustic/modern vibe with lots of interesting texture.
Supplies for This Beginner DIY Wood Bench:
- 2×2 Framing Lumber
- 2x12x12 Dimensional Lumber
- Compound Miter Saw (or Hand Saw/Miter Box/etc.)
- Belt Sander (and/or Sandpaper and Sanding Pad)
- Wood Glue
- Drill and Bit
- 3″ Deck Screws
- Behr Exterior Wood Stain (Chestnut)
- Rust-Oleum Lacquer (Turquoise)
How to Make the Bench Top:
The bench top is SO easy! I grabbed a piece of 2x12x12 dimensional lumber (just a big solid plank o’ wood), and cut it to length using my Makita compound miter saw. The bench seat is just one piece of wood – so easy! You could even get this wood cut at the store if you don’t have a miter saw… Just go to The Home Depot Canada prepared with your measurements (mine is 42″ L).
After it was cut, I used my belt sander to remove some of the paint I had accidentally dropped on it (the garage was insane this summer!), and to smooth it out. I sanded both the top and bottom, as well as the sides and cut ends. I followed up by hand sanding with a finer grit sandpaper to really smooth the surface and prepare it for stain. If you don’t have a belt sander or orbital sander, just use sandpaper and a sanding block – a bit more elbow grease but way cheaper if you don’t already own the tool.
Next, I applied Behr Exterior Wood Stain in Chestnut – leftover from our DIY live edge patio table with welded chain legs. You can buy little sample pots of this stain for around $5 – but sometimes they’re with the stain, sometimes with the sample paint pots so make sure you track one down to save a lot of money. You can use any kind of exterior stain if you have some left over, and there’s no top coat required. You could also choose pressure treated wood instead, or opt for cedar and let it weather and grey naturally.
If you want to try something different, you could use my shou sugi ban wood burning tutorial. This is the perfect kind of small project to use for some wood burning experiments.
How to Make the Bench Legs:
While the stain dried, Hubby and I worked on the legs. We used 2×2 framing lumber for this project, which is inexpensive but I think the square shape looks cool. You can adapt the measurements, but in the photo below I list the cuts we did. We used the miter saw once again – but you can use a miter box, hand saw, circular saw, reciprocating saw (SO much fun!) – whatever you have in your toolbox.
Before sanding or assembling, we double checked the fit by cutting off a slice of wood from my bench seat leftovers and making sure it would fit together:
With the fitment confirmed, we marked where the joints would go and pre-drilled holes. We applied some wood glue and then screwed the joints together to hold the glue and offer additional strength.
In the end we had two legs that looked like this:
When the wood glue had dried, I used my belt sander again and sanded the sides and then followed up with some hand sanding. You can cover the screw holes with wood filler (or wood glue mixed with sawdust, is a neat hack) and then paint or stain. I spray painted the legs using Rust-Oleum Lacquer in Turquoise. To affix the top, we pre-drilled holes through the bottom of the legs and then affixed to the bottom of the bench seat with wood screws. You can see that the bench top overhangs the legs a bit – that was an aesthetic choice. I just liked how that looks, but you can line them up if you prefer.
When it was done, we decided to add one more piece of wood for strength so we cut another piece of 2×2 framing lumber to 37″ long, sanded it smooth, and then glued and affixed with wood screws between the legs. Then I gave it a quick coat of matching spray paint. This last piece of wood will help prevent racking and offer more stability.
And that’s how we made this easy beginner DIY wood bench with minimal wood cuts and steps. I love the design – look how cute the handles on the top are! And because the wood has some imperfections, it feels a little bit rustic, which is a refreshing departure from my usual projects. The best part is that this DIY wood bench is so light and easy to move around. I can grab the two handles and even move it piled high with my enamel plates, haha. So much lighter than the welded bench, that’s for sure.
I love the pop of turquoise with the warm wood stain – it adds a little more color to the deck decor, which is fun. The bunkie is so colorful but I’ve been choosing a lot of grey/black for the main house deck. I like how this brings back a little color, without committing to anything permanent.
If you squint, the square wood looks a little like the square metal tubing I like. This could be a welded bench painted turquoise 😉
I hope you like this beginner DIY wood bench! It’s easy to make, even if you don’t have many power tools. I’ve had requests to do some more beginner level projects and even some basic tool workshops/tutorials – like Welding 101 and How to Use a Miter Saw. I will definitely work on those! And if you have any requests for DIYs or tutorials (for any skill level), just let me know. You can always leave a comment below or find me on social media (I’m @danslelakehouse everywhere).
Looking for more woodworking projects? Check out our walnut plywood DIY bed, DIY frame for art, DIY plywood storage bins, DIY plywood storage cubbies, DIY solid walnut waterfall desk, DIY solid maple counters, DIY walnut trivet, easy DIY hex coasters and the rest of our DIYs, right here in the project gallery.