Piped Bench Cushion–{Pretty Handy Girl}

Hi, CSI Project readers! My name is Brittany (aka Pretty Handy Girl).

Normally I don’t look this clean. I usually have sawdust in my hair or paint splatter on my elbows. I write a blog full of tutorials for everything from crafing and sewing to building and home repairs. Today I have a tutorial for making a bench cushion with piping. Before we get started I wanted to let you in on a little secret: The bench cushion and side table fabrics you see below are actually shower curtains!

You read that right. Shower curtains are not only inexpensive, but they are durable and can stand up to moisture. This makes them perfect for outdoor use. I bought both of these at Target for under $20 each! Materials:

Okay, let’s get started! Preparing the Foam Cushion – Lay your foam on top of the bench. Mark a line where you need to trim. Use an electric carving knife to cut through the foam. Wrap batting around your foam. Then trim the edges down to size. I had enough to put two layers on top of the foam and one layer on the bottom. This will make for a cushier and less “squared” cushion. Cutting out the pieces – 1. Lay out your fabric (err, I mean, shower curtain) folded in half. Place your cushion on top. Trace around the cushion about 3/4″ wider on all sides. Cut through the two layers. This will give you the top and bottom panels for your cover. 2. Next cut out four strips of fabric for the sides. Cut your lengths 2″ longer than your cushion. If your foam is 3″ and you use 1-2 layers of batting, you can use these measurements for your strips:

  • Front: 4.25″ wide by length + 2″
  • Sides (left and right): 4.25″ wide by length + 2″
  • *Back: 5.5″ wide by length + 2″
  • *Back Fold Over Flap: 3.5″ wide by length + 2″

*The back is wider and has two strips because we need to sew an overlapping flap and velcro to make the cover removable.

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100 Comments
  1. JC Allen 3 years ago

    Good photos and instructions!!! Give them more of your expertise!!!!

  2. marlee 3 years ago

    Very nice work!

    Do you have advice for a u-shaped cushion? I have a porch swing that is u-shaped in the back, and straight across the front. Can’t figure out how to size and cut the foam…

  3. Kel 3 years ago

    I can do this!

  4. Katharina 3 years ago

    This looks unbelievable… I am sure going to try – but am not sure wether I have the patience to do sew it this exact and good! Thank you for taking time to photograph and put a post together! Katharina from Germany

  5. tut 3 years ago

    Wonderful!!!
    And where did you get this great shower curtain?

  6. pryia 3 years ago

    Where did you find the foam?

  7. Jolynda 3 years ago

    I need to know if you have measurements for the strips if batting is not used. Love the tutorial, I think I can actually do this.

    Thank you

  8. Jolynda 3 years ago

    btw, I am using 3″ foam.

  9. Harriet 3 years ago

    For Marlee, you can make a template using wrapping paper (everyone usually has that on hand!) Try pressing into place and then even/clean up curve as needed and cut to size. Lay template on seat and double check curve is right and you’re good to go…

  10. jan 3 years ago

    I found this project after I found a shower curtain to use for an entry way bench. The only change I made was for the back strips, rather than cutting them and then sewing the edging down, I cut them from the edges of the shower curtain and used their finished edges. One less step. Worked out great.

  11. Linda 3 years ago

    I think that’s the prettiest piped cushion I’ve ever seen. I absolutely LOVE that (shower curtain) fabric color and pattern. I makes your already beautiful headboard bench look absolutely stunning!

  12. Sheila Kaur 3 years ago

    Britanny – you are insightful and truly wonderfully talented! I cant really sew very well but have always wished I could whip things up in a flash – with clean lines and a perfect fit …. aah well. Anyways, just wanted to say this is a brilliant project and the finish looks exceptional – Hugs, Sheila in Singapore!

  13. Janet Harris 3 years ago

    Best instructions ever, thank you very much.

  14. Steven 3 years ago

    what a beautiful project! your tutorial was so detailed. piping has always been somewhat intimidating for me but you make it seem so easy.

  15. Eileen 3 years ago

    Love your handy work! I am re-doing a 1972 Frolic camper and had to ask my father in-law to re-cover my cushions for me. You make it look so easy – and I know it’s not! I made curtains for the camper and it took every ounce of patience I had – lol… Great blog too!

  16. Sheryl 3 years ago

    Hi!
    I have been admiring and dreaming about doing this project for over 6 months! I finally found fabric that I love (which took way longer than it should have) BUT… I don’t have enough to cover the length of my foam piece in one strand. So I was wondering for any kind of input for what might look good to fix that problem. I was thinking of combining 2 separate pieces to cover the length and possibly add a ribbon over the seam. Or even combining three pieces with two pieces of ribbon to make it look a little more on purpose. Any thoughts? Thanks so much! And thanks for this amazing DIY project!!!

  17. Richard 3 years ago

    I make boat upholstery for a living , you’ve done a pretty good job there. What we do for a real snugg fit is cut the foam 1/2″ larger all over, then pattern the fabric the exact size of the foam. When you sew a 1/2″ seam allowance the size comes back down to the correct size and you have a really nice tight cover. When you have cut your top and bottom fabrics lay them exactly on top of each other good face to good face and make reference marks on both pieces. That way there is no need to pin the fabrics together when sewing the boxing, just go ahead and sew the piping and boxing to one side and join it when you get to the end making a complete boxing, then transfer the reference marks from the cover plate to the opposite side of the boxing this way both sides will align giving you a nice square cover.

    • laura 7 months ago

      about to tackle this project…thanks Richard for adding these useful tips!

  18. Thanks so much for your EXCELLENT tutorial! I made a window bench cushion and could absolutely not have done it without your instructions and photos. Much, much, MUCH appreciated!!
    Whitney

  19. Marcia 3 years ago

    most likely you wont be able to eliminate this paint over spray on the
    cushions

  20. Box cushions have always intimidated me. And piping. But she makes it look so easy!

  21. Penny 2 years ago

    Thanks for the toot! I needed a refresher coarse.

  22. Sharon 2 years ago

    Just finished my beautiful cushion for my new utility room bench, not yet made. Don’t see how to include a pic ill try again. Thx for instructions.

  23. Diana Shirley 2 years ago

    *Sigh* If only I could sew….. that is sooo awesome!!!!

  24. Melissa Aldana 2 years ago

    Ok The idea is awesome, the tutorial fantastic, pictures fantastic but all of that aside the bench is bloody Gorgeous.

  25. AJ 2 years ago

    I love the material. Went to Target and on line and can’t find the pattern. Already bought some red and white material but now I want blue and white. Going to Milwaukee next week and hope to find something similar to yours. What size batting did you use? 4 oz, 10 oz? Did you wrap it twice?
    Thanks

  26. Yes, yes, yes! I too used shower curtains for those same reasons. Only I just wrapped foam and used duct tape to secure on the underside–Ha! Thank you for the detailed photos! I am encouraged to try again :)

  27. Janet 2 years ago

    So many great tips. I will do this. The only thing I might do differently is put the Velcro on a short side, slip the covered foam into a plastic garbage bag (open end going into the cover first), then slip it out when the cover is on. I learned this years ago when making couch cushion covers, and it makes it go so smoothly, with no frustration. I also loved the idea about duct tape (LOL), which would be great if you wanted a temporary cover for a birthday or other party theme – use cheap vinyl tablecloths). thanks for being there.

  28. teresa 2 years ago

    this was an amazing idea, so much cheaper than buying waterproof material. I love it.

  29. kat 2 years ago

    thank you! really well described and instructed. i’m feeling confident enough to diy my new cushions!

  30. Spalover 2 years ago

    I recently brought some wicker furniture home from my shop. Naturally the fabric which looked lovely in the shop just was awful in my house, even on the porch! I used your wonderful shower curtain idea and great tutorial to make over a love seat and two chairs. They look fabulous! Thank you so much for your help!

  31. Courtney 2 years ago

    How much fabric do you use per cushion. I’m ordering the fabric online so I just want to make sure :).

  32. Meg in NE 2 years ago

    … I love the seat covers… but I love the bench too… it looks like it was made from an old bed? Did you makeit?

  33. Debbie Perkins 1 year ago

    Love the tutorial. Great instructions, fabulous photos. A shower curtain? Get outta here, why haven’t I thought of that. It would be a whole lot cheaper that Sunbrella fabric, for sure. I have a tip for you. If you put your foam insert inside of a garbage bag or some type of plastic bag, it slides in much easier. I tend to get my stuff pretty snug, so the bag helps me out. I have a twin mattress under by beach house, waiting for the hubs to make me a swing bed. Target, here I come for a couple of shower curtains. I could make a fitted sheet with those for underneath my house, hmm, pillows too. Thanks for the tips.

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