Build a dual purpose bench

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Plant, yellow jar candle and pink cushion from Woolworths; turquoise vase from MRP Home; bags from Typo; yellow cushion from @home
Plant, yellow jar candle and pink cushion from Woolworths; turquoise vase from MRP Home; bags from Typo; yellow cushion from @home
This easy-to-make bench has a dual purpose: extra seating for when it’s needed, plus handy storage space.

Hard labour 3/10

Skill level 4/10

Time needed ± 1 hour

Do it yourself for less than R1 500:

wood and screws R800,

crates R480,

castors R184 (paint/varnish excluded)

You will need

Shopping list

• 18mm plywood, cut to: 

one 1 280 x 350mm piece (back)

two 450 x 350mm pieces (sides)

two 1 360 x 450mm pieces (top and base)

• four 75mm plate castors  (2 with brakes)

• one packet 6mm x 40mm chipboard screws

• one packet 8mm x 16mm chipboard screws

• wood glue

• wood filler

• 120-grit sandpaper

• paint or varnish (optional)

• three 400 x 400 x 300mm 

pine crates


• cordless drill and 3mm drill bit

• pencil

• tape measure

• paintbrush

• scraper

Project notes

• Buy pre-made crates or recycle  milk- or cooldrink crates and adjust the measurements of the bench accordingly. Our crates come from The House of Crates in Cape Town.

• Sand the wood beforehand.

• Remember to drill pilot holes.

Get started

1. Glue and screw the back board between the two sides with the 6mm x 40mm chipboard screws. 

2. Position the top piece, making sure it overlaps equally on both sides; glue and screw together. Turn the bench upsidedown and attach the base board in the same way.

3. Attach a castor to each corner of the base (using the 8mm x 16mm chipboard screws).

Note: The two castors with brakes must be positioned at the front.

4. Fill all screw holes and blemishes in the plywood with wood filler and allow to dry completely. Sand the wood before you paint or varnish in the finish or colour of your choice. Place the crates inside the bench.

Create the paint effect

You will need

Shopping list

• water-based enamel paint (we used leftover Dulux PearGlo in the colours Night Jewels 6, 4 and 3, and Quartz Flint 2)

• primer 


• sponge rollers and trays

• masking tape

• tape measure

• pencil


Hard labour 1/10

Skill level 1/10

Time needed 2 hours, plus drying time

1. Paint the front of the three crates with the primer. Allow to dry completely.

2. Paint the front of the crates with two coats of Quartz Flint 2, letting the paint dry between coats. 

3.  Measure and mark the centre on the top edge of the crates. Mask a triangle from the bottom corners of the crate to meet on the mark you’ve made.

4. Paint the triangle you masked in step 3 with two coats  of Night Jewels 6. Allow the paint to dry between coats. Remove the masking tape when the paint has dried.

5. Measure and mark the centre on the bottom edge of the crate. Once again, mask a triangle from the opposite corners and the mark you’ve made

6. Paint this triangle with two coats of Night Jewels 3. Let the paint dry. Leave the masking tape in place for now.

7.  Mask the shape of the first triangle again. Paint the diamond shape with two coats of Night Jewels 4. Let the paint dry and then remove the masking tape.

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April 2023

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