We needed a place to store things like puzzles & books in our "school room" and we had a perfect spot under the chalk board to tuck in a little storage bench.
So I drew it up with the boys and took them shopping for the wood. We let them do everything they could help with - drilling, putting in the screws, sanding and staining. It was a great little first project, and just what we needed for the space!
Here's all you need to make your own Simple School Bench:
- 2 - 1x12 @ 8'
- 1 - 1x12 @ 6'
- 1 1/4" screws OR Kreg Jig & 1 1/4" Kreg Screws
- wood glue
(A) 1 - 1x12 @ 60" (top)
(B) 3 - 1x12 @ 17 1/4" (legs)
(C) 4 - 1x12 @ 28 7/8" (shelves/back)
Start by attaching the legs to the top. Put one flush with each end, and the third right in the center (with a 28 7/8" space on each side). We used a Kreg Jig so there weren't any visible holes on the outside, but you can also drill down through the top into the legs with regular 1 1/4" screws.
Install a bottom shelf (C) on each side of the center leg. We spaced ours up 3" from the bottom of the legs. Use a Kreg Jig to attach them from underneath (no visible holes!) or drill through the legs into the ends of the shelves.
Then install the two back pieces (C). They should be flush with the back and sit on the bottom shelf. It has a couple inch gap at the top, which makes a great handle for moving the bench!
Fill the holes if you have any. Sand it all smooth (don't skimp on the sanding - you're piece will look professional if you do it well!) then finish it with any paint or stain and polyurethane you like! We did two coats of Minwax Early American stain, followed with two coats of semi-gloss polyurethane.
After I sanded our bench, the boys were checking it out again and one said, "Hey mommy! I wrote my name!" It was so cute. Little Brother added a few scribbles, and we stained & sealed right over top of their graffiti. I love that it will be there peeking at us forever.
We let it dry then moved it into place and filled those shelves with all kinds of fun & artsy goodies for the boys.
Coloring books, crayons, drawing paper, floor puzzles, art & drawing books, plus a couple industrial size tempera paints. With the art books & puzzles so accessible, they've been working on them every day! I probably should move the paints out of reach, though.
Drawing donuts on the whiteboard:
This is a great first project for yourself or the kids. You can easily adjust the length to fit any space you need! I think we might build a mini version for one other spot under our book racks.