In February I visited a neat secondhand store called FilmGo, located in Vancouver on the edge of Burnaby. This undiscovered thrift store is full of props, furniture and knick-knacks from various film sets which means awesome vintage and era pieces. It also means that you can find some neat gems for a good price — if you’re willing to look.

I left with a $10 fishbowl and a $60 wicker bench seat. The fishbowl became a terrarium (see my article at GardenWise Magazine online) and I have just finished reviving the wicker bench seat.

Wicker Bench Seat - Before

Here is the before photo collage. I bought the bench seat because none of the wicker was damaged and the whole thing was sturdy. It was missing a chain from the inside, and the fabric was stained, but those were purely cosmetic. By and whole, the bench seat was in decent condition. As you can see, I stripped off three layers of fabric to find a small layer of disintegrated foam dust. Ew.

It looked like the chest had been painted red with the red and white striped fabric, then painted pale blue with the floral fabric, and then painted off-white with an off-white fabric. The inside of the lid was spray-painted gold, which seems to match the original red layer. I took it down the the bare bones and built it back up again.

Wicker Bench Seat - rebuilding and painting

“We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better...stronger...faster.”

I painted the outside, the inside and glued the lid back on. My parents worked on the back deck, and the cats played in the yard. I used Ceiling White matte-finish paint and wood glue to fix the top.

Then I picked up some foam from The Foam Shop. I chose a 1.5″ thick second-grade piece. The fabric I bought at Dressew and is a damask-patterned canvas, so it’s super sturdy.

Reupholstering the wicker bench seat

I used thumbtacks and a hammer to reupholster the seat, but previous owners had used nail guns. I simply measured, ironed a quick hem, and hammered away. The corners were a little tricky and I misaligned one part so I ended up fudging it with CrazyGlue. It stays in place and that’s what matters.

Finished bench seat revamp

Ta da! The chest sits in my entrance-way beneath a mirror with golden gilded corners. It’s quite the regal looking area now. The bench seat is the perfect place to store blankets and other living room items that I don’t want slathered in cat fur. I tend to drop all my bags on it when I first come in the door, but it will also work as additional seating in a pinch when I’ve got company.

DIY Costs:
Bench seat — $60
Foam — $20
Paint — already owned
Thumbtacks — $2
Fabric — $13/metre (bought half a metre. Enough left for a pillowcase)
Total: approximately $88.
Considering most wicker trunk-chest-bench-seats begin at $200 and go up from there (some $500+), I think it was a good deal.