Saturday, July 1, 2017

DIY Fire Pit Sofa Bench with Step by Step Insructions

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One year ago we built a fire pit in our back yard (it only cost $60 to do and it's one of my favorite things we have every made!)  We have used it lot this past year and we just love it.  We have s'mores whenever we want and roast hot dogs on it and just sit around and chat.  It's so fun to wind down and chat with the kids (and unplug!).  Since we use it so much we decided that we could make a sofa bench for it.  I am so excited for the bench and cannot wait to use it all summer (and fall, winter and spring) long!  What I love about the design we did was that you can have 5 sections like we did or you can have 4 or 3 or 8, it's up to you! :)

Before I get to the very detailed tutorial (I'm going to try to explain it as well as I can) I wanted to explain the different angles real quick.  Since we had vertical angles (when the wood is vertical) and horizontal angle (when the wood is flat) you have to cut them differently.  For the vertical angles, you have to cut the wood at an angle going from top of the wood and the horizontal angles you cut the wood when it is laying flat.  Hopefully it will make sense as I go along (there are pictures!).  

When we were trying to figure out the size of the bench, we measured the diameter of our fire pit (which was 51").  Then we determined how close we wanted the bench to be (which was 18").  Then we figured the width of the bench (which was 16.5").  So we added the diameter of the fire pit, then the 18 (twice) and the 16.5 (twice), making an equation 51+18+18+16.5+16.5=120 (that is the diameter of the whole circle that the bench would make).  We then times it by pi (3.14) to get 376.8.  That is the circumference of the bench if it were to go all around the fire pit.  We used the angle of 22.5 (45* degrees, for each turn but since there were two cuts for each turn, we divided it by 2) so that makes 8 different sections, so we divided the 376.8 by 8 to get 47.1".  So that is how we got out started point to start building.  The back of the base will be 47".  To determine the inside of the bench, you do the same equation but don't add the depth of the bench (the 16.5") and then you times by pi and divide by 8, which gave us 34".

The first thing we built was the base.  We used 2x6s for the base and cut out 5 pieces of the 2x6, each 47" long.  The angles that we used for the back pieces is 22.5*, so we used a table saw cut the wood at an angle.  Both sides of the wood will be at the 22.5* angle, so when you put it through the table saw you put it through one way and then flip it over and put it through (for the other end).  Also the 47" is the longest point of the wood.  

Once all of the 47" pieces were cut, we then screwed them together using 2 1/2" wood screws.  To make the wood not crack, we would drill a hole first and then screw it in.  

Here are the 5 back pieces together.

Now time to start working on front and sides of the base.  The inside pieces were cut to 40" (you want these a little longer so part of the board goes in the middle of the base, it's helps give a place to screw the seating on), the first one on the left side of the base was cut with the left side at a 22.5* angle  and the other side was just straight.  For the side piece, we cut it 18" (it's a little longer because of the angle) and the ends were cut at a 22.5* angle, but this time there are parallel so when you put it through the table saw, you don't flip it over.  We put in two screws on each side of the wood.  

Next we worked on the support pieces in the middle.  These are just straight cuts and are 13.5" long.  

For the inside pieces (for the next three) we cut them to be 40" and then the left side at a 45* angle.  We put the angled side onto the piece to the left and screwed it in from the inside.  To determine where to put the angle, you place the board onto the ground and move it until the depth of the base is 16.5" (or where the 13.5" board fits).  Once it's 16.5" deep, the angles will meet up and it will be centered (and the 16.5" is the total depth, from front to back).  Continue doing that for 4 sections. 

For the last piece, you have to measure it a little differently.  The left side of the board will have a 45* angle but the right side will have a 22.5*, these angles will be will be in the same direction (so you don't flip the board over).  We measured the distance between the side board and the point there the board is 16.5" deep and it was 33.5".   The side board is the same as the other side, 22.5* angle on both sides, parallel and 18" long.
Here is what the base looks like.  

Now time for the legs.  These were super easy, nice straight cuts and no angles!  We cut 12 legs and there were 15.5" long.  We put them inside the base and screwed them in (we used 4 screws for each leg).

We put on 6 legs while it was upside down.  Man I look super tall in this picture ;). 
Then we flipped it over and put the other legs on.  My boy was super excited to try it out!

We put the rest of the legs onto the base.  Some of the legs were put on first we had to take out the screws and make them level once it was all flipped over. 

Now time for the seating :).  I actually took over this part when my husband was at work.  It's easy but lots of measuring.  Since these angles are horizontal, I used the miter saw to cut the 22.5* angle instead of the table saw.  You will flip the board over to cut the other angle.

I started with the back and then worked my way forward.  These board were all slightly different size, so I had to measure each one individually and then cut it. 

Once I had the back piece, I use it to measure the two boards that go in front of it.  The short side of the back board was the same size as the long side of the middle board, so I used that to measure the board.  And then I used the middle board to measure the front board. 

Here is what it looks like  on the base, it's starting to look like a bench!

Here are all of the boards put on.  All of them are cut at a 22.5* angle.  

Now time to screw on the seating.  The boards would crack without drilling the hole first, so we did that on all of the boards.  We put 4 screws in each board and then we put one screw into the next board (at the angle) to secure them together and to tighten the angles and sections. 
Here is all of the boards screwed on.  

We then filled the holes with wood filler (the kids helped me do this) and then we sanded the whole thing (I actually sanded the wood all along the way). 

We then moved the bench over to the fire pit area before putting on the back.

Now for the back of the bench.  We wanted the back to be at an angle (instead of straight up and down), so we did a 15* cut at the base of it.  But we didn't cut the whole board, instead we cut off a corner.  The cut is a 15* angle,  3/4" x 3.5" off the corner and it is 24" long.  We used a 2x4 for the supports.  We put 4 screws in for each support.  Each support is about 12" inches from the sides. 

We put 2 supports on each section. 

Now for the back.  I would have liked to have the back be continuous but with all the different angles, it wouldn't be easy to figure out, so we decided to make a gap in between each section.  And the main reason for that is we wanted our kids to be able to get through the gaps so they don't have to go around the fire to get on or off the bench.  So we cut  a 2x6 and a 2x4 for each section.  The sides are a 22.5* angle to make it match the angle of the turns.  How we figured the size of each board was we measured the distance of each section (the longest point) and then measured 3 3/4" from the corner on each side.  So the end sections were around 45" long (we had the back all the way to end) and the middle three sections were around 39 3/8".  

We screwed on the back pieces to all the supports (we used 4 screws for each support) and then filled the holes with wood filler and sanded the whole thing. 

Now time to paint it!  I covered the fire pit and area with plastic.

Then using my Wagner paint sprayer and white exterior paint, I started painting the bench.  I used 1 1/2 gallons of paint. 

And here it is all painted white, I love it so much!

I wanted to add some pillows to the bench, but we have a LOT of wind here, so I took a 12" piece of ribbon and then sewed it into the pillow and then I sewed on some velcro onto the ribbon. 

I then put the ribbon around the support to keep the pillow in place.  Now they will stay still but they can easily be moved. 

And that's it!!  It took us several evenings to build but it was so worth it! 

I absolutely love how it turned out and I love all of the fun colored pillows I got for it too! 

Here is a break down of all the cost and materials that you need:
18 2x6x8's at $6.05 each =$108.9 (we got one of the nicer wood, not just the cheap one)
5 2x4x8' at $2.98 each= $14.9 (it wouldn't hurt to get one extra though :D).
2 4x4x8' at $9.50 each= $19.00
2 1/2" wood screws 393 pack= $30 (we used roughly 308 screws)
2 gallons of exterior paint = $50
Total= $225 for 5 sections (it could be less if you make it smaller). 

I'm so excited for this bench, it's actually quite comfortable and can fit a LOT of people on it!  Plus we can enjoy the fire and sit back and enjoy watching a movie outside :). 

I found these outdoor pillows for only $5 each, they are so much fun!