(S) I knew I wanted a storage bench for the floor of the Rainbow Bridge Built-in but I didn't like anything I came across; so naturally I decided to build one. Originally, I thought I'd either find a Rainbow Bridge image I liked and put it on fabric or I'd have an artist draw up something similar that would fit my dimensions. The standard images didn't move me. An extensive search online found an artist's rendering of the Rainbow Bridge that moved me to tears. The artist, XXXXXXXXXXX, drew the person and the dogs running toward each other with the person's arms outstretched. You could feel the joy of that reunion in the drawing. Travis and all of my friends loved it too as they also felt the emotion of the rendition.
Now the hard part. How was I going to get an image from the internet into the very specific format the printing company required? I asked the guys in the IT group at my full-time job a ton of questions and they gave several suggestions including Fiverr.com. Fiverr.com is where one can hire graphic designers and illustrators to do a variety of image related jobs. I posted a description of the job and included an attachment of the drawing along with a price I was willing to pay. Artists/designers then bid on the project for you to select one. Each have ratings and profiles so you can see their previous work. For about a week or so, there was constant back and forth in large part because I wasn't succinct enough up front about what I truly wanted. Eventually, I just copied and pasted the exact printing requirements from the fabric printer and "Voila!" I got the image back ready to send to Contrado.com. Contrado had a large selection of fabrics from which to choose. We elected to go with a faux suede option they called Suede Vision. There was an option to choose a border and we went with a 2" border to allow for some extra fabric to wrap around the edges of the upholstery foam and staple to the underside of the bench lid. This site was very easy to use. We placed our order on a Saturday night and received it on Tuesday. It shipped from France to Maryland. Super fast delivery and it was absolutely perfect. The cost of the fabric was $29.47 and shipping was $9.79.
We chose Beechwood from one of our local hardware stores because it came in manageable 2x2 and 2x4 precut pieces. It was easy to find ones that were not warped, the price was reasonable and we loved the wood grain. We followed the DIY Upholstered Storage Bench design on thecreatedhome.com as a guide for ours. Seeing as how we do not yet have a woodshop, Travis had to get creative on how to run the router and circular saw so everything came out straight.
(T) First let's start by saying that there's nothing like creating a workshop in your dining room, but the best part is the slow increase of one's tool collection as these projects continue. This project alone helped add a Makita Router and Dewalt Miter Saw to my power tool arsenal. Using a 6' folding banquet table we were previously using as a computer table, I was able to have a firm foundation to cut and router our bench pieces. Since I did not have a table saw, cutting the longer pieces proved to be challenging relying on eyes and steady hands to make the long straight cuts. I instead clamped a longer board a few inches parallel to the cut line as a guide for my circular saw. This allowed a more relaxed and straight cut. I used this same method to guide the router along when using the 3/8" groove bit to inset the side panels.
(S) Upholstering the top was the easy part and required some fabric glue. On this project we used Fabric Fusion by Aleene's Original purchased at Michaels. After Travis cut and routered the base edges, he cut the sides. By this point I had already shopped our local Joanne Fabrics store for fabric to line the inside and outside of the bench. I chose a stretch denim in white and light blue. In retrospect a stretch fabric may not be the best way to go in the future as we did a lot of re-cutting and re-stapling to make sure it laid flat. Once we glued the sides into the routered base, Travis cut the inside and outside corner pieces, gluing them together. We then nailed them into place on the bench. The next step was to complete the wood frame around the top edge of the bench while carefully mitering the corners to ensure a square fit. After nailing the frame to the top, Travis ran a router around the frame edge to match the routered base. We used Legacy Heritage Pedestal Medium Corner Feet we purchased online at VanDykes.com. These were fairly inexpensive and we loved the look. We glued and nailed the feet into place after the top framing was complete.
The lid of the bench was the final piece to this project. We purchased a piano hinge and soft closing hinges which we knew were going to be the final step. First we needed to figure out how we were going to put the Rainbow Bridge poem on the inside lip. We considered vinyl lettering, painted stencils and other options before agreeing upon a wood burning option. After researching many wood burning kits, we elected to buy Wood and Leather Penography Kit by TRUArt from Amazon. After getting the top inside dimensions of the lip I went to FedEx printing store, elected a font and layout and had them print the poem on oversized paper. I then purchased carbon paper from Office Depot and went to work tracing the poem through the carbon paper onto the wood.