...my front porch...{a makeover}

This post was originally a part of The CSI Project's Garage Sale Makeover series...to read more, start here...

Today I'm going to show you how I brightened up our ultra-drab front porch with a couple of items I found at a garage sales! Yay!

Here is Exhibit A...our front porch...I love this space because it is completely covered and I love love love to be out here when it's raining...however, it's not pretty...it doesn't even approach anything that I would ever call inviting.

Sitting on Exhibit A you will see Exhibit B...the picnic table bench I got from a neighborhood garage sale...FOR FREE. The homeowners had the bench out in the driveway & when I asked "how much?" - they looked at me like I was crazy and then said, "you can have it..." - oh. yes.

Worn, weathered, banged-up...perfect...

I knew this was going to be the beginning of a beautiful relationship...

I headed out to Menards and ran straight back to the mis-tinted paint section...and, BINGO! 

For $1.00 (that's right, $1.00), I got this pint of exterior latex in a shade of brown I thought would work really well...

Then I ran over to JoAnn to pick up some more goodies, and darted home to get started...

After a little clean-up, a little sanding (very little sanding, actually, just to get some big yucks off...), and only 1 coat of paint (it covered really well, and I was really anxious to get this done!!!), I had this...

much better...

While the paint was drying I ran inside to get started with the rest of my makeover...
This is what I picked up from JoAnn...

Outdoor canvas in super-bright summery colors...1/2 yard of each...

2 16x16 pillow forms...
And this is what I already had in the house...

A paint drop-cloth & some 3/4" foam padding...

I made some pillows first...super-easy...here's a quick reminder on how-to...
First layout your pillows on your fabric...this was especially easy because I had bought 1/2 yard of the fabric (18") and my pillow forms were 16"...no cutting on the sides at all...

Fold over the top and bottom of your fabric over your pillow, making sure to overlap your fabric by a couple of inches...cut off the extra fabric & hem the top & bottom...

Once the top & bottom are hemmed, place the fabric back around the pillow form, right-sides-in, the way you would like it to be on the finished pillow...gently remove the pillow from the fabric & pin the sides of the pillow together...

Sew up the side seams, turn your pillow cover right-side-out, iron & you're done! I left the plastic on my pillow forms for this project...because the pillows would be outside all summer I wanted to make sure they were as protected from the weather as possible...

Now...the fun part...
A padded cushion for the bench!

I measured the top of the bench and cut my drop cloth like this...

*1 piece that was the length & width of the bench + enough for my seam allowances (I always use 1/2")
*2 pieces the length of my bench and a couple of inches wider than HALF my bench width...(I plan on overlapping the pad cover the same way I did with the pillow cover above).
*Enough fabric strips to make straps that will attach the covered pad to the bench. I cut 6 strips, each 3" wide and just a random long length (I will cut these when I am finished and see just how long they need to be to wrap around the bench top). Here's how to make the straps:

Fold one long end of your strap to the middle & iron down. 
Then fold the other long end toward the middle & iron down.
Fold the entire piece in half & iron...then stitch down the length of the open end...easy peasy. If you're making straps that will be visible, you'll want to fold down the end of the strap before you sew...that will leave you with a nice clean edge. However, I know my straps won't be seen, so I just left them raw...

Once the straps were finished, I took all my drop-cloth pieces outside and laid them out on the bench.

First I put down what will be the top part of my pad cover...right side UP.

Then I placed my straps on top of the bench, in the places I needed them to be to secure the pad to the bench...make sure that you lay these so that they are facing IN towards the middle of the fabric you are using, and pin them in place on the outside edges of your fabric.

From here I just placed what will be the bottom pieces of my pad cover, right sides DOWN, sandwiching the straps between the layers...

Tuck your straps inside the "sandwich" and pin the long ends of your pad cover. Sew down the sides, push out the corners & iron. You should see that your straps are hanging down from the cover, secured between the two layers of fabric.

Next I cut my pad to fit inside the cover. I measured the final dimensions of my cover & cut the pad just slightly smaller...

Now here's a little tip...my padding was not long enough to fit my cover, so I cut two pieces, each wide enough to fit and together long enough to fit...and I just sewed them together on both the top & bottom of the pieces...

Worked like a charm...

Then I brought the whole thing outside again...I tucked the padding inside the cover and added hook & loop tape* to the back to keep the cover from moving around...

...(almost done...). From here I wrapped the straps around the bench & marked where the ends met...then I just added some hook & loop tape* to those places, stuck 'em together and done!

*You'll see that I used adhesive hook & loop tape on my cover...I'm usually anti-adhesive h&l, but in this case I wasn't sure where I wanted the fasteners to be, so I'm using the adhesive temporarily...it will (eventually, but probably later rather than sooner) be replaced with the sew-on tape...maybe...

Add the pillows, one of my vintage egg baskets from another garage sale, some magazines & a lantern...

Much more inviting...now I actually sit out here!

I love it...and it was so easy & inexpensive...the fabric was a little pricey, but because I bought only 1/2 yard of each AND they were 50% off, it was totally do-able...

Here are the parties I'm linking to:

Get Your Craft On @ Today's Creative Blog
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday on Coastal Charm


  1. Maggie ~
    Your bench came out so cute and so very inviting! I love the colors and I love that you did it for such an awesome price!
    Thank you for your great instructions too :)


  2. What a cheery entrance! Love the fabric choice :D

  3. i love the fabric choices too :) great makeover!

  4. hi Maggie, so lovely! And free? You lucky lady. Sweet picnic bench makeover and the prettiest cushions ever! Great job, I realy like your style! (visiting from one of my favorite places, Be Colorful)

  5. Cheery pillow fabric choices. Smart to use sturdy, but inexpensive, fabric for bench cover. Thanks for all the how to (I'm a novice sewer)

  6. This is the best tutorial and make over I have seen for a while ( make sure you out it up on Pinterest) I love the colour you chose for the wood. A bench can be quite an overlooked piece of furniture, but not now- wow what a transformation, excellent work. Well done x

  7. sooooo awesome! love the pillow colors. may have to go get those fabrics!

  8. LOOVE this bench, so cute;)
    Thank you so much for your lovely comment!
    I follow you back;)
    Lovely greetings...


  9. Wow, looks great! You are very talented!!!

    I found you at becolorful.

    Come check out my entry at http://amber-has-an-idea.blogspot.com/2011/06/photo-album-gift-from-average-to.html

  10. Great spot for sitting :) What a big difference! Your newest follower! Come by my blog if you get the chance!

  11. I think I already told you on CSI, but I bow to you. Still love this.

    Oh, and can I get your address cuz I'm going to send you some fabric just to see what you can do with it! ;)

  12. I {LOVE} this makeover! I seriously want to run to Joann's and pick up those same fabrics now - too cute! :)

  13. Looks outstanding...love the fabric that you used on the pillows!!!


  14. Maggie, I love your fabric choices, and I bet your neighbors want that bench back! It looks so great! I'm not a seamstress~but that's how I make my pillow covers too!!!
    Love it all,

  15. I love the bench cover! I have 3 wooden benches at home that we use around our campfire but we are currently building a new front deck that will need some jazzing up. I think I'll make covers for the old benches and move them to the new deck for seating! Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. I wanna sit and read! it looks wonderful! WAY TO GO!!

  17. I love the way you dressed up your bench! Very cute!

  18. Love your paint color and the fabric for the pillows, wonderful job on your porch! I'm your newest follower!
    Found you from Uncommom Slice of Suburbia.

  19. What a sweet cozy place you created, Maggie! I'm very jealous of your sewing ability! Wonderful job! :)

    xoxo laurie

  20. Looks great! I love the fabrics you chose!

  21. I just love the colors of the pillows, especially the orange one! I really need to learn how to sew! Thanks for sharing the tutorial :-) Makes it seem less daunting!

  22. Great tutorial, saw you on coastal charm

  23. This looks fabulous! I'd love for you to link it up to my Share the Wealth Wednesday link party at www.laughloveandcraft.com!

  24. I love your front porch! Mine is in progress.....I really wish it could stop raining!

  25. Bah! We missed your linky party... anyway we love the porch re-do! FAB! xo

  26. Visiting from delicateConstruction.
    Your bench is adorable! I love the colors.
    Come visit at http://dragonfliezcreationz.blogspot.com

  27. Popping over to say hello for the "Blog Party"! i host a garden party on Thursday's & would love to have you come by to peek around or even link up?!? hope to see you sometime! xoox, tracie

  28. Wonderful tutorial and awesome fabric! And a free bench.....awesome! I think I am inspired to make some bright pillows for my front porch....thanks!

  29. Maggie, What a welcoming venue. Thanks for sharing on Motivated Monday at BeColorful. I know my readers loved it.

  30. You did a great job on this! Do you ever wonder if the people who give the freebies will see what you've done and regret having given it away?

  31. So professionally & stylishly done! What would us creative DIY types do without those who lack imagination/interest/energy and simply toss out perfectly good stuff? Well, here's to them! May many more "diamonds in the rough" come your way so that they may be transformed by your special magic!


  32. Stopping over from Addicted2Decorating. Love your blog and I love this update. Awesome fabric!!! Very welcoming and thank you so much for such great instructions. :)

  33. I have so many chairs in my garage. And your information is helps to make my garage empty and helps to make stylish chairs. Great idea for giving a new look to furnitures.

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