Tutorial for DIY X Leg Upholstered Bench

Whether you call it an X leg stool, X leg ottoman, or X leg bench, the X-bench is an extremely versatile piece that can be used for extra seating anywhere you need it because it’s so lightweight and moveable.  It can be stored away against a wall or under a table when not in use, grouped around a coffee table, used as a coffee table alone or in a pair, or grouped at the bottom of a bed.  The possibilities are practically endless.

Now how would you like to make your own for around $50?!

FREE PLANS - build your own X BENCH for around $50!
I tend to be a visual thinker so took an old piece of cardboard and drew a sketch of the finished piece.  I’d recommend doing the same so you have a reference to be sure your angles are cut correctly.
Do keep in mind that the angles given here will work for these measurements, giving you a finished X leg bench that is 17″ square and 17″ high.  You can change the length of the bench from one X leg to the other without needing to make any angle changes but any shift in the width or the height of the bench will alter the angles needed to make everything fit together properly.
I like to make my first cuts using scrap wood and then lay them on top of my sketch to be sure I don’t make mistakes and waste my nicer materials.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cut my angles going in the wrong direction and am always so much happier when that happens on scrap wood!  When you’re ready to get started, use a miter saw to make the following cuts:
  • 1 1/2″x3/4″ oak hardwood planks – cut one end at a 50º angle.  Measure 9 1/2″ from the pointed side and cut the other end at a 9º angle.  Do this process eight times, giving you eight identically-cut pieces of wood.
  • 1 1/2″x3/4″ oak hardwood planks – cut one end at a 50º angle.  Measure 19″ from the pointed end and cut the other end at 50º as well.  Do this process four times, giving you four identically-cut pieces of wood.
  • 1 1/2″x3/4″ oak hardwood planks – cut one end at a straight angle.  Measure 17″ and cut the other end at a straight angle as well.  Do this process twice, giving you two identically-cut pieces of wood.
  • 1 1/2″x1 1/2″ oak hardwood plank – cut one end at a straight angle.  Measure 14″ and cut the other end at a straight angle as well.  You only need one piece cut like this.

You will also need a piece of 3/4″ plywood cut to a 17″ square, 4″-thick foam cut to 17″ square, at least a 30 1/2″ square of cotton batting, at least a 30 1/2″ square of the fabric you want to use to cover the top, wood glue, wood stain, upholstery nails (I used 88 nails purchased from Lowes), a staple gun and staples, 1 1/4″ and 2 1/2″ finishing nails, and 1 1/2″ wood screws.  I needed four 6′-long 1 1/2″x3/4″ oak planks to make the first three groups of cuts above.

Once the oak is all cut, use sandpaper or a pad sander to sand it down.  Lay one of the 19″ pieces on the ground.  Lay one of the 9 1/2″ pieces on top, lining up the ends, to determine which sides will be facing each other.  Spread wood glue on the bottom side of the 9 1/2″ inch piece and press into place on top of the 19″ piece, fine tuning the positioning so all edges line up exactly.

Lay another of the 19″ pieces on top, perpendicular to the 9 1/2″ piece, and repeat the wood glue and positioning process on the other side with another of the 9 1/2″ pieces.  Check them after 10-15 minutes to be sure none of the wood has slipped.

Do this same thing with the other two 19″ pieces and two more of the 9 1/2″ pieces.  Let the glue set up for 30-60 minutes, then carefully flip the glued X’s over and follow the same process with the remaining four 9 1/2″ pieces.  Also add a dab of glue in the center notch where the two pieces fit together.  Let the glue dry fully overnight.  Once dry, hammer three 1 1/4″ finishing nails down each length of the 9 1/2″ pieces.
Lay one of the X’s on the floor and put a dab of wood glue in the center.  Position the 14″ piece of oak in the center and let dry 30-60 minutes.

Carefully place the other X on top of the 14″ piece.  And then very, very carefully, pressing the X’s together, place the legs on the floor as they will stand when finished, to be sure everything is lined up properly.  Then again very, very carefully, flip back to vertical to allow the glue to completely dry.  The positioning part is very important or you could be left with a wobbly, uneven leg base.

When the glue has dried completely, hammer two 2 1/2″ finishing nails through each outside X-middle into the center piece to strengthen the bond between the X legs and the middle piece.  Then stain the wood using the stain of your choice (don’t forget to stain those two 17″ straight pieces!).  I used Minwax oil-based stain in Kona.

Place one of the 17″ straight-cut pieces on top of one of the X legs and position so the ends are flush.  Holding tightly, pre-drill small holes to make sure the screws go in straight and everything lines up.  Drive a 1 1/2″ wood screw through each pre-drilled hole, one on each end, then repeat on the other X leg.

**For detailed instructions on assembling and upholstering the top of the x-leg bench, go HERE**

The final step, after constructing and upholstering the top, is laying the assembled, covered seat upside down on the floor, carefully positioning the X base upside down on top of it, and pre-drilling a couple holes in the middle of each 17″ piece, now attached to the X base.  Drive a 1 1/2″ wood screw through each hole, and repeat on the other side.

Flip it over, and have a seat or prop your legs up!

FREE PLANS - build your own X BENCH for around $50!
FREE PLANS - build your own X BENCH for around $50!
The two benches wound up being photographed for Better Homes and Gardens magazine with my sofa that I reupholstered – you can see the photo that was in the magazine HERE.
And here are a couple easy-to-pin graphics if you want to earmark the tutorials for making this x-bench for later!
FREE PLANS - build your own X BENCH for around $50!FREE PLANS - how to upholster a bench
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