A few years ago we build a pergola in our backyard to create an outdoor space that we could use for gatherings. That’s when we realized just how expensive outdoor furniture can be. So I did what I always do when there’s something I know I can build instead of buy, I started scouring the internet for a plan I liked. It didn’t take long before I found an outdoor couch plan from Ana White. I decided to customize her plans to fit the style I wanted and the cushions I had.
That couch ended up working out so well that I some friends who wanted to build some too. I found some cushions for a steal at World Market and we customized the plans to fit those cushions as well. I ended up with one extra set of cushions that I’ve had sitting around for the last 4 years. Last week I finally decided it was time to make the second couch.
The video below will give you a quick overview of the build.
15 2×3’s – This number may vary depending on the length and width of your cushions
2 1/2 inch self tapping screws
Kreg Jig- I use this one
Miter saw or circular saw
Random Orbital Sander
Stain – I used Special Walnut
Sealant – I use water-based polyurethane
The first step of this project is building the frame. This step is customized to fit your cushions. My cushion was 66″ x 34″ so I cute my length boards 66″ and my width boards 31″. I cut the short boards 31″ to account for the 1.5″ from the 2×3’s.
At each end of the short boards make two pocket holes using your Kreg Jig. You can use a basic handheld jig and clamp it to the board, but if you’re going to be doing furniture projects I definitely recommend getting the K5. It will save you so much time in the long run! And in order to not show any screws or holes I used a lot of pocket holes in this build.
When you attach your frame make sure to keep your corners square. Using self tapping screws will definitely help with this by giving you a nice, snug joint.
Next you’ll add supportive braces. Since my length was 66″ I put my two middle braces at 22″ and 44″. Add two pocket holes at each end of the braces and attach to your frame.
Next you’ll need to build the arms. For the arms I followed Ana White’s plans for the height of each board. Use pocket holes to attach the sides and the bottom board. I made sure to attach the bottom board so that the pocket holds would be covered by the seat side of the couch. Drill holes through the bottom board to secure it to the top board.
After building the both arms you can attach them to the seat base. If you’re working alone you can use some boards to prop one end while you attach the arm to the other end. I cut a few spare boards 10″ to support the seat base and keep it level while I attached the arms.
To give the cushions some support you’ll need to add boards to the base. I cut 7 boards 66″ long. Space them out evenly and screw them to the boards underneath.
Cut another board the length of your seat. Mine was 66″. Drill pocket holes in each end and attach to the arms.
Who here loves sanding?? No one? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Sorry to say, but get ready to sand. And sand. And sand. I prefer to sand after most of the couch is built. I don’t want to be sanding extra wood that doesn’t make it into the final project. Who’s got time for that?? I made sure to sand really well and down to a fine grit wherever I knew it would be exposed and people would be touching the wood. Everywhere else I gave it a rough sand to to make sure there weren’t any places that would give slivers or tear at the fabric. If you’re going to plug your pocket holes with dowels, now would be the time. You can get pocket hole dowels like this. Add a little glue and put them in so they are flush. You may have some that don’t fit in totally flush and then you’ll need to sand them down flush. After sanding I stained with Minwax Special Walnut.
This may be the trickiest part of the build. The easiest way to make sure everything fits really well is to go board by board instead of cutting everything at once. First I did the back supports. I found the center point of the back and then found each quarter point. You can see in the video below how I marked the boards based off of those points. After cutting them you’ll want to sand and stain them. It’s easier to do when they’re not attached so you don’t have to get into those tight angles. When attaching the angled braces I used pocket holes to go into the top and I screwed straight in from the back to secure the bottom.
On the arm braces I used pocket holes on the underside to screw into the arm. For he bottom I screwed into the bottom from underneath the arm boards.
Put your cushions on and you’re done! Now sit down and enjoy your work!!
I hope you enjoyed this build. If you build one I’d love to see it!