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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  • http://www.fyimodularhomes.com/ julia@fyimodularhomes

    The bench is adorable, and you did a great job on the fabric – I have a hard time with the corner folds everytime!!!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04707073682080677083 Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home}

      Thanks, Julia! Just takes a lot of trial and error :)

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05903543153336264584 Jojo

      Thank you so much. I am in the process of redoing a guest room and am going to make two of these for a place to put the opened suitcase. These are wonderful.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10312388314520066495 Jeannine

    Thanks so much for the tutorial!! I just told my husband we’ve got a project to tackle…

    Jeannine @ The Concrete Cottage

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10560899148296081724 Laura

    excellent tutorial-very easy to follow! your stool turned out beautifully!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04707073682080677083 Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home}

      Thanks, Laura!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14409724935239296352 sarah m. dorsey

    love this! I think I’ll have to give it a try soon! thanks for sharing :)



  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04303399189647950307 Pam – @diy Design Fanatic

    Awesome! Your bench looks fantastic. Found it on Pinterest and will share on Facebook!
    p.s. you might want to take off your word verification. Many won’t leave comments if a blogger has it on. Also, it’s easy to lose comments if someone closes their tab before the verification comes up. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11527069816821276416 Kahli

    Oh my thanks so much for this tutorial! I’ve been wanting to make a bench for my desk for weeks and couldn’t find a good tutorial. I seriously love you now haha.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04707073682080677083 Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home}

      Thanks, Kahli! Same happened for me – couldn’t find a tutorial…so I figured it out for myself! Very happy to share :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03938607908180347149 Ching Makes Things!

    What a great job! Love the idea of drawing the parts out first as I’m a visual person too. Thanks for sharing! :)

  • http://www.iwantblinds.com.au/winter-warmer-sale Custom Made Blinds

    You made it look very easy to do! And the result is amazing! It’s an instant home decor for any home :-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07422029569149601955 Katie

    gah—this is gorgeous and looks like you spent hundreds of dollars on it!!!

  • http://jenifercotter.com/ Jen

    Love the clean lines – you did a beautiful job!

  • http://www.smallhomelove.com/ jacky @ small home love

    Wow I can’t believe you made this from scratch! It came out beautiful, much beter than the inspiration. Pinned it, just in case I ever feel the urge to tackle this project, lol.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04707073682080677083 Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home}

      Thanks, Jacky! Congrats on the Etsy shop :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14796723747737172035 Jen Lossing, The Consigner Designer

    This is awesome! I love the fabric choice. Great job!

  • Steve

    Love this project! Just one quick question…
    9 1/2″ + 9 1/2″ = 19″
    When you add in the perpendicular 19″ board, doesn’t the small piece overhang by 1 1/2″?
    It doesn’t seem to add up in my mind. Any help would be much appreciated!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04707073682080677083 Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home}

      Hi Steve,

      I can see how that would seem confusing. Remember that the leg pieces are all cut with angles on one end, making one side of each piece 9 1/2″ but the other side of the piece is shorter because of the angle. Only the longer side is 9 1/2″. Promise it all fits together like a neat little puzzle if you follow my measurements exactly!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13084166456186379106 Jeanette

    I love your stool! I’ve been wanting a bench at the end of my bed for ages and I’m thinking that I could make 3 or 4 sets of legs with a longer top? Do you think that would work if I use all of your measurements but just increase the size of the top? I’m pinning this one!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13984200528003070503 Tina

    looks awesome!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07848936864799611251 Cassie @ Primitive & Proper

    jennifer this is awesome! i love the nailhead trim- it has a little more elegance, the fabric is modern, the wood is rustic, and together it all unites beautifully!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10942704410174876211 Cathy Wall

    Wow! You are a pro…. the bench looks amazing and is perfect for the room, well done! Visiting from Primitive and Proper….
    Cathy @ Room Rx

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09261137266900736578 A Little Knick Knack

    That is awesome. I love the fabric. Can you come over and make one for me? :) Great job!

  • http://www.onceuponasewingmachine.com/ Donna

    This is great! I love it. In our house even a little person could use it as a sitting place. Thanks for sharing
    Donna @onceuponasewingmachine.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12864409955864362638 Lisa

    I can’t believe you made this! It looks so professional! Love it :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01229404946717332701 Emily Kathleen

    Great tutorial! Love your bench – I may have to try making one for our living room!

    I just discovered your blog through a link party and absolutely love it! You definitely have a new follower :)

    Emily @notwithoutheels.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11631539498962305419 Craftberry Bush

    Hey sweet Jen…I have seen this on Pinterest several times and i am so happy that you took the time to share at our HAPPY HOUR linky party…It’s these sort of beautiful projects that inspire me on a daily basis…so thank you….hope you have a great weekend…talk to you soon..xo

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05634285583161671379 Jaime Lyn

    Oh my goodness I am in love with your bench. Seriously what a perfect tutorial and project!!!! Thank you SOOO much for the inspiration and for linking up at happy hour!!! i am off to “like ya” via facebook—because I sure am your newest huge fan!!!
    Jaime from crafty scrappy happy

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08142829776819794097 Glamorous Mommy

    This turned out great! I love it :)


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16592945170172493195 Christy

    Love this! Cute, cute – and, great tutorial! Just stumbled across your blog – can’t wait to check it out!
    Christy @prettyparsonage.blogspot.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11817959909577350857 EuroAmerican Home

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11817959909577350857 EuroAmerican Home

    That is a really nice stool/bench. I’d make it longer and put it in my (future) breakfast nook.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17998620369219502541 How2home

    This bench is amazing! I’ve been thinking about doing something like this but didnt know where to start and this is a great tutorial! Thanks so much for sharing with us :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06593848536045150859 Beth@Makemeprettyagain

    Thx so much for a very nice and detailed tutorial. Very thoughtful. I love the bench! Great job.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12806899753943679173 Vintage Street Designs

    WOW…this is beautiful! I just LOVE stools! You did a fabulous job. Thanks for the tutorial. I’m happy to be your newest follower. Would love to have you stop by for a visit! Blessings ~ Judy

  • Anonymous

    This is such a great idea. My husband had just told me to get a couple of luggage racks for our long narrow guest room which can’t handle a piece of furniture to hold guest luggage. I did not want to get something from B,B&B because my guest bedroom is too cool for something so ordinary. This is perfect. I can put my own spin on it with fabric. ~~~Connie DeVore

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04707073682080677083 Jennifer {The Chronicles of Home}

      Sounds like a perfect use for this kind of piece! Thanks for stopping by, Connie!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00486187975929101967 Danie at Pasadya

    What an awesome tutorial, Jennifer! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Ronny vaghese

    I made this X-Bench, and steve was correct… I had all the pieces cut exactly to specs.. and the perpendicular 19 and 9.5″ pieces were off exactly the way that Steve said it would be.

    According to your drawing with the marker on the cardboard and the measurements… these pieces are off. I’m not sure why I’m the only one to mention it.. or why the illustration has not been corrected.

    Please advise. It seems that from your plans, that two 9.5″ pieces were to lay side by side with each other, they would be basically an identical 19″ piece, which is what I have now. Adding the long 19″ to lay perpendicular to these creates it being too long. I had my carpenter friend look at this too, and he thought the same thing.

    • Jennifer@TheChroniclesofHome

      Ronny, I’m out of town right now and it’s been a couple years now since that question from Steve. My recollection is that I checked out the measurements then because I get that it doesn’t quite seem to add up. I’ll measure the pieces on my benches when I get home and will either clarify or correct and will let you know.

      • Jennifer@TheChroniclesofHome

        Ronny – I just measured and it all adds up. I wonder if you might be orienting the pieces in a different way. The 9.5″ measurement for the short pieces are for the longer sides – because of the angle the short pieces are 9.5″ on the longer side and 8″ on the shorter side. The longer side is flipped on either side of the 19″ piece so one continuous side gives you 9.5″ + 8″ + 1.5″ (the width of the 19″ piece running through the middle) which all adds up to 19″. I understand that it’s a bit hard to get your head around but it works because the 9.5″ sides are opposite each other. Hope this makes sense to you – tough to explain without having you next to me so I can show you!