After building my bar (stay tuned for the reveal!), I was left with a large space of wall above the bar that needed something. Artwork would have been ideal, but what? It's a kitchen, and I wanted to keep the colors simple; just yellow and white. I'm also apparently super picky about words on my art, and as I looked at kitchen pieces, I just didn't see anything I loved.
Eventually, I came to the idea of a mirror! It's close to the back door, so it's nice for the purpose of checking your appearance on the way out the door. Plus, it's a pretty small kitchen, so adding a mirror along the wall would help expand the appearance of the space.
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- 1 x 3 Furring Strip (or other type of wood)
- Sisal Twine
- Dollar Store Sunflowers
- 2' x 3' Frameless Mirror
- Kreg Jig and Screws
- Wood Conditioner (optional, use if using a soft wood)
- Mirror Clips- Make sure you get the right size for the mirror that you purchased. My mirror was 1/4" thick, and I made sure the clips I was purchasing were intended for 1/4" mirrors.
I was using some leftover furring strips from my kitchen tool organizer project, so the wood was already sanded. If you purchased a furring strip for this project, it'll involve a fair amount of sanding to make it pretty. I typically sand with 120 grit sandpaper on a belt sander, then smooth with 180 grit sandpaper on an orbital sander. Alternatively, you could pay a dollar or two more for nicer wood and skip the sanding.
I cut two pieces to be 37 7/8" long and two pieces to be 21" long, then tested the fit with the mirror I purchased to ensure the clips and mirror would fit appropriately on the frame.
On the two smaller pieces, I added two Kreg Jig holes on either end of the piece.
Then I assembled the frame using Kreg Jig screws and wood glue. Note the clamp in the picture below: it is super important to clamp your wood anytime you're assembling with pocket holes (the kreg jig holes).
Since I was using furring strips, aka, super soft wood, I coated the entire frame in wood conditioner before starting. Then I stained with Minwax's English Chestnut, which I had around the house.
I secured the end of the twine to the frame using hot glue, then wrapped the twine around the frame until I had about 6 inches of twine.
I did this four separate times, two times in two opposing corners.
I cut four sunflowers off of a dollar store sunflower bouquet, and hot glued one onto each bunch of twine.
I started by attaching the mirror clips to the back side of the frame. I had three clips on the bottom piece of the frame, two on the top piece, and one clip on the right side of the frame. It is really, important that one side of the frame does not have any clips!! This is so that you can slide the mirror into place.
The pack of mirror clips did not come with screws, so I attached to clips to the frames with #6 1/2" wood screws.
Then I slid the mirror into place, and hung it on the wall!
Most of the typical woodworker supplies I had around the house- the frame was built from scrap wood, the twine I had left over from my doormat project, and I typically keep things like stain, wood conditioner, wood glue, and screws around the house. As a result, I only purchased the following things; if you make replicate this project, it may cost a bit more if you need to purchase more things. That being said, you might be able to cut down on the cost of the mirror by finding one at a thrift store that you could recycle- I wasn't patient enough to try!
1 Bunch Sunflowers
I love sunflowers. I'd say they're my favorite flower, but I don't feel like I actually know enough about flowers to make that determination. In fact, sunflowers might be the only flower I can actually identify, which might be part of why I like them.
Regardless, I like sunflowers. And in case you missed the memo, summer and fall are sunflower season, at least when it comes to floral decor stores. I'm assuming they grow in summer and fall in real life too, but, as mentioned, not a flower connoisseur here.
As a result, when I stop by Joann's, I tend to walk through the decor section admiring all the pretty sunflowers. I don't buy anything, because I'm willing to settle for whatever's left at the end of the season when everything is crazy marked down, but I window shop in the meantime. And on one of my most recent trips, I saw this:
I really liked the middle sunflower sign, but I walked away. Why? Because that was $30 for something I could make out of scrap wood. But the idea stuck in my head, and when I needed something for the space above my mudroom, I knew this would be perfect!
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- Scrap Wood
- Removable Sticker Paper- If you use my method, you'll need paper that can be printed on the back removable, non-sticky side. I used this paper, and was quite please with how it turned out.
- Two Sunflowers- I got a bouquet of sunflowers at the dollar store (for a dollar!) and just cut off two of them.
- Kreg Jig/Screws or Tie Plate- I used my Kreg Jig and screws to connect my two pieces of wood together, but if you don't have a Kreg Jig, no biggie. Something similar to this tie plate can be used on the back side of the wood to hold the two pieces together. If you do this, make sure to put wood glue between the pieces of wood for extra support.
- Wood Conditioner- Only necessary if your wood is a soft wood, like pine!
- Hot Glue and Gun OR Liquid Nails- For gluing sunflowers to wood.
- Picture Hangers
I cut two pieces (to be 30" and 22" long) of out of an old 1"x 6" piece of pine I had around. Then I centered the smaller piece below the larger piece, and connected them using Kreg Jig screws.
Since I was working with pine, it was super important for me to use wood conditioner on the wood first. If you're like past me, and thinking to yourself "that's not really necessary," let me show you what this wood looked like without wood conditioner:
If you're working with pine, wood conditioner is mandatory. I'm sorry.
Since I wasn't super picky about what my wood looked like for this project, I just wanted it to be darker, I used stains I had around the house. I worked my way from lightest to darkest until I was satisfied with the color. I started with Minwax's Early American, then tried Minwax's English Chestnut, then finished with Cece Caldwell's Hickory.
Since I used the wood conditioner, the stains didn't soak in as much as they would have normally, which is why it took me so long (and so many tries!) to get a dark color. And note that, even with wood condition, pine is still hard to stain! There are still some blotches on my wood. For whatever reason, I didn't take a picture right after staining, but you can see it in my final product.
You can make this in whatever font and size you want- I used Rancho size 275 . If you want the exact letters and size I used, you can download a really (not) snazzy free PDF here:
When printing, print on the BACK of the sticker paper. This allows you to cut out the letters so that what you stick onto your wood is white. The black ink removable side will get thrown away after you peel off your letter.
Most letters are symmetric, so this technique works. For letters that aren't symmetric, I retraced the letter on a scrap part of the paper, and then cut it out.
I laid the letters out to make sure they were properly spaced, then took the ink backs off and stuck them onto the sign.
For the sunflowers, I glued them using a hot glue gun. That being said, if I'd had any clear liquid nails around, I would have used that instead. It would have created a much stronger bond.
I put these weird little "push in" picture hangers I had around on the back of the sign. I didn't trust the "push in" mechanism, so I also added some screws to make sure the hanger wasn't going to budge.
Then I hung my sign!
Lets talk about pine. The wood, not the needles. It's a soft wood, light colored, and almost always the cheapest thing available at the hardware store. I really, really want to love it, as evidenced by the fact it's always the first thing I reach for when I need wood for a project. But this is a mistake. Why? Because pine stains terribly.
I know this. I've learned this lesson already. But despite that, I always buy pine. "It'll be better this time" I tell myself. No. No it wont be. Stop lying to yourself, Lindsay.
For this project, as per usual, I went to the hardware store and purchased a bunch of pine. I went home and made all my cuts. Then I tested the stain. And, as I should have known, it looked terrible (see above.)
So then I stood in my basement brainstorming all the ways I could make this project work without going back to the hardware store. I looked at the birch plywood left over from the kitchen floor. I looked at all the 100 year old trim I pulled down when putting up cabinets. And I decided I could do this.
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The following details the materials and cuts I made to complete my organizer. This can totally be adapted to use different materials or to make a different sized organizer. If you're adapting the plan, there are two key aspects: 1) the lengths of the front, back, and bottom are all the length you want your finished organizer to be and 2) the total height of the front needs to be at least an inch less that the full height of the organizer for mounting purposes.
Front: All of my plywood was leftover from my plank plywood floor project, and therefore already cut into 4" strips. As a result, the front and back of my organizer would need to be multiple pieces. For my front, I used 3 pieces of 1/4" birch plywood cut to be 10"x 2". Alternatively, you could use a single piece of something (not pine!!!) that is 10"x 6".
Back: I used 2 pieces of 1/4" birch plywood cut to be 10"x 4". Once again, you could use a single piece of something that was 10"x 8"
Bottom: This was a single piece of birch plywood 10" long. I cut the height to size after assembling the front and sides.
Sides: I sanded all of the paint off some super old trim that was once on my walls, then cut off an 8" piece (the finished height I want my organizer to be). I set my miter saw to be 10" and then cut a piece that looked the right size. Real official, I know.
Wood Glue: I am not a brand snob for this, and typically purchase the cheapest stuff I can find on Amazon whenever I'm running low. Currently, that's this.
Stain: I used Minwax's English Chestnut. Which, in case you were wondering, looks much darker on this table than it does on this project. Different woods take stain differently, so test your stain first!
Nails and Screws: I used my nail gun (see below) to put brad nails in, but you can use an old fashioned hammer and nails as well. Just make sure the nails are small!
Miter Saw- Absolutely essential for this project. While I suppose you could make all your cuts with a circular/jigsaw and a protractor, you will be miserable. I have this miter saw, and it makes me happy every single day.
Brad Nailer- Not essential for this project. You could definitely get away with a hammer and some finish nails. It'd just take a little while. That being said, I love my little electric nail gun, and don't think I could DIY without it.
Random Orbital Sander: I used to have a terrible Harbor Freight sander that my dad got me when I first started DIY-ing. It was awful, and the paper constantly ripped and it never seemed to actually sand anything. I now have this one, and it is so much better.
Drill/Driver- For driving screws and drilling pilot holes.
See the materials section for what cuts to make!
I sanded the sides (aka, the former trim) with 80, 150, and 220 grit sandpaper. The plywood I just gave a quick sand with 220 grit sandpaper, because I was nervous about sanding through the veneer.
I then stained with Minwax's English Chestnut. I choose to stain and finish before I put everything together to ensure I stained everything, plus it was a little neater this way. While you could stain after assembly, I think it would be difficult to reach some of the places inside the organizer, hence my decision to stain before.
I used Minwax Tung Oil Finish to finish my boards, primarily because I already had some in the house, but also because I just really like it. It's not pure tung oil (which is expensive), but is tung oil based and creates a nice solid, non-sticky finish on my wood projects. You do have to wait 24 hours in between coats, but if you're not in a hurry, it's a great finish.
I started by attaching the front pieces to the sides of the organizer with wood glue and brad nails. No screws here: this isn't going to be bearing any weight, so the nails and glue should be enough.
Then I attached the bottom. Same deal: wood glue and brad nails.
Finally, the backs. These I attached a little differently. Instead of just using wood glue and brad nails, I also used a couple of 1" screws on the top board. This was because the top of the back is what will be mounted on the wall, so I wanted to ensure it was securely attached to the rest of the organizer.
If you have a countersink bit (I didn't at the time, but got this one from Lowes a few days later) now is the time to use it. If the screw sticks out a bit it will push the organizer away from the wall, which is fine, but not ideal. Since I didn't have a countersink bit, I just pushed really hard with my drill when I was screwing in the screw, and achieved a similar (if not as pretty) effect.
There are two different ways I considered mounting this: 1) with screws or 2) with construction adhesive and brad nails. The first method is sturdier, given that you can get your screw into a stud or are using some sort of molly or toggle bolt. However, you end up having a visible screw that must be disguised in some way. Options include painting the screw a wood-ish color, or countersinking it and wood-filling and staining over it. The wood fill/stain option looks nice, but makes it near-impossible to remove the organizer from the wall, so you better be sure you never, ever need to take it down.
Given that future me might want to someday remove the organizer, I was mounting on a bead board panel, and that I don't plan to put anything heavy into it, I chose to mount using option 2, construction adhesive and brad nails. It was relatively straightforward: put adhesive on back, then attach to wall with brad nails. See picture the picture below for exactly where I placed my nails.
And that's it! Organizer done! I made two and used one to file receipts as I came in the door, and the other to store coupons from mailers that I might actually use. What would you use an organizer like this for? Tell me in the comments below!
Stay tuned for how I assembled the mudroom, built the tool organizer on the right, and made the "Welcome Home" sign!
So, you know my entryway redesign project? After finishing the board and batten, I spent some amount of time wondering what I was going to do with all the space above it. The space needed something. Art sounded like a good idea, but art is expensive, especially when I was imagining some sort of three piece set. I could make something, which is an ideal, less costly solution, but what should I make??
That was when I came across this beautiful Wood and Leather Trellis Plant Wall at Vintage Revivals.
Isn't it gorgeous? Unfortunately, it also looks like a lot of work. And requires a miter saw, something that I really do not have room for in my little one-bedroom condo.
So I set out to create a simpler version for those of us lacking power tools.
Ultra-Easy Indoor Trellis Garden
- Trellis; I purchased this from Lowes, and while I don't consider it the best quality (just a bunch of boards nailed together,) it was also the least expensive trellis out there, and still served my purpose.
- Stain; I used this, which I already had. I was aiming for something dark, and it did the trick.
- 8 4" Clay Pots
- Gold Spray Paint; I had this stuff still sitting around, and used it to paint the pots. I don't recommend it at all for this project, as it is not a paint intended for masonry. While the paint didn't peel off after it was dry, it did leave gold residue on my fingers whenever I touched the pots. Therefore, I had to try not to touch the pots after they were painted, or risk removing the paint. If I were to do this again, I'd probably use Rust-oleum's Universal Spray Paint, since it claims to stick to more things.
- 8 Cup Hooks; I used these National Hardware ones that I bought at my local hardware store. They came in a pack of 4, and worked great, however, Amazon has this 50 pack for $7, which is clearly a much better value. I would love to know if they work just as well, so if you try them, let me know in the comments!
- Plants!! I was determined to have an herb garden, and while I wasn't able to find thyme or cilantro at this time of year, I did manage to find parsley and chives, which was better than nothing.
- 2 2'' screws
- Brad Nails
Step 1: Stain the Trellis
The trellis I purchased was already stained a reddish/orange color, which was not what I was going for. I wanted something dark, so I stained with Varathane's Kona color. I was thrilled with how it turned out!
Step 2: Mount the Trellis
I started by finding and marking the studs in my wall with my handy dandy stud finder (have I told you how much I love my stud finder? It's the best, aka, cheap and effective. Even my dad was impressed when I showed him at Christmas, and he swears stud finders don't work.)
I then had a friend center the trellis on the wall, and I put in a few brad nails to hold up the trellis temporarily. While I did use a nail gun, it wasn't necessary, and you totally could have done that by hand (or have your friend keep holding the trellis up until you get your screws in.)
Then, in two of the places the top row of my trellis crossed the studs, I drilled small pilot holes for my screws. The goal here is to avoid splitting the wood when you insert the screws. I then drove the screws in, making sure that they hit the studs I was aiming for. These two screws are really what hold the trellis up, so it's important that the two screws both hit studs.
Step 3: Spray Paint the Pots
There's not really a trick to this, other than to make sure you use paint that is intended for masonry. Don't make my mistake!
Step 4: Transfer Your Plants to the Pots
I purchased all of my plants as 4" actual plants (and not seeds.) I know nothing about plants, or proper plotting techniques or anything, so I just kind of pulled the plant (by the green bits...) out of the plastic holder and plopped it into my pot. No plants died or seemed injured, so it seemed to work?
Update: All the plants died. Probably not because of my poor planting technique, but because this space doesn't get as much light as I thought, plus I'm not very good at watering plants. So I replaced all the plants with fake plants, and all is well (except the dead plants. They're not so well...)
Step 5: Make the Plant Hangers
This is apparently called macrame, and seems to be a thing on Pinterest right now, which I never would have known had I not gone searching for "attractive ways to hang plants." (Have you used/heard of it? My mom insists it's been around forever, and I would love some proof of that!) Macrame looks and sounds intimidating (to me, at least,) but I swear this is super easy, as evidenced by the fact I made eight of these plant hanger things, and I had never heard of macrame before.
1. Cut 8 pieces of string to be about 2 feet long. You don't have to be super picky about making sure each string is identical in length- I certainly wasn't.
2. Tie a knot a couple inches above the bottom of string. This knot should encompass all eight strings (as if your bunch of strings was one single string. See picture below.)
3. Above your knot, separate the strings into four sets of two. In each set, tie a knot about 1 1/2" above the big knot. These don't have to be perfect- when I was tying mine, I never even measured. When you're done, you should have four new small knots, one in each set of strings.
4. Resort the strings into four new sets of two. Each new set should have one string from each of the old adjacent sets. (see picture below.)
5. Tie a knot in each of the sets roughly 1 1/2" above the previous knot, just like you did in Step 3.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 to make your third row of knots.
7. At this point, I put one of the pots into the hanger to check for sizing. Occasionally I would tighten a knot here or there to make everything a bit more even.
8. Finally, using all eight strings, tie one big knot about an inch below the top of the strings. Put your planter in the hanger, and you're all set!
Step 6: Mount the Planters
Once again, to avoid splitting the wood (and to make my life easier), I drilled pilot holes in all the places I wanted to put a hanger. Then, I screwed in each of the cup hooks where I had drilled the pilot holes. My hands are sad and weak, so toward the end I used pliers to make sure the cup hooks were all the way in the board. I was careful to make sure all my cup hooks faced up, because that seemed like an annoying mistake to make.
Then I put my plants in the hangers and hung them on the hooks. Success!
I knew I wanted some sort of runner/mat in front of the dresser. And I wanted it to fit perfectly in front of the dresser. But past that, I really wasn't sure. I spent all sorts of time browsing Houzz rugs and hoping for inspiration. And eventually, I ended up in the jute/sisal rug section, and thought that the sisal texture would add awesome interest to the space. I probably would've purchased a rug then and there, because mass-produced rugs typically end up cheaper than anything I make, but I needed it to be exactly 55 inches long. I'm picky like that. And nobody sells 55" rugs. So in a typical me fashion, I decided to make my own.
- Non-Skid Rug Mat: I used this one from Walmart, because it was large enough, and the cheapest I could find. At posting, the Walmart mat was $6.87, while the least expensive correctly sized mat on Amazon was this one at $8.49.
- Sturdy Fabric: I used some excess blackout lining I had sitting around, but pretty much anything sturdy, sew-able and neutral colored would work.
- Sisal Rope: I spent ages trying to find inexpensive rope. As cute as this doormat would be, I didn't want to spend $100 dollars on it. I ultimately found 1/2" Sisal Rope at Harbor Freight at $5.99 for 50 feet. This was by far the best price, especially if you're extra cheap like me and show up multiple times in order to get 20% off (and a free tape measure!) each time.
- Sisal Twine
- Wood Glue
- Binder clips, clothespins, or other object that holds things in place
- Sewing Machine
Part 1: Make the Base
I cut the non-skid rug mat to the size that I ultimately wanted my rug to be (55"x 20") and cut the blackout lining to 1" larger on both sides than I wanted my rug to be (56"x 21"). This was so that I could hem the sides of the lining to create a smooth edge, while simultaneously securing the lining to non-skid material.
I then folded the lining over nonskid material, and pinned it into place.
And then, yep, you guessed it, I sewed around the entire perimeter of the rug.
Part 2: Add the Sisal Rope
This is the easiest step, but more time consuming and tedious than expected. I cut each piece of rope to be 55", the length I wanted my rug to be. Then, using wood glue, I glued each piece to the base.
The sisal pieces were inclined to curl up, so I secured each piece with binder clips until the glue dried.
It's clear in the above picture that I'm not very good at cutting the rope the exact same length... After all the rope was on and the glue was fully dry, I trimmed the edges using a jigsaw.
Step 3: Add Twine Flowers
Since twine flowers are useful for all sorts of things, I made a separate post on how I make my flowers, which you can find here.
After I'd made enough flowers, I glued them on to the edges of the mat using wood glue.
In order to make sure the glue stuck to the flowers and the rope, I weighted the flowers down with some heavy-ish books.
And then the mat was done!
I think the mat adds a lot of texture and interest to the entryway. I'm so glad I took the time to make it! Check out the final entryway reveal here!
I knew from the moment I started making my recycling bin/bench combo that I was going to want a burgundy cushion to sit on the bench portion. I figured I would have to make it- I doubted I would be lucky enough for burgundy cushions to just happen to come in the exact random bench size I needed.
So, when it came time to make the cushion, I made my over to Joann's in search of a cushion-like object to act as the filling. I thought it would be white. I thought it would have some sort of a fabric exterior, and would magically be the size I needed. Turns out, such an object does not exist, and I left Joann's ten minutes later with the realization I was going to have to do a bit more research if I wanted a functional cushion.
Clearly, I had no idea how to make a cushion at the beginning of this project. I also have barely mediocre sewing skills. Like, I can thread the machine, but then I'm pretty much running on luck. So if you have any sewing skill whatsoever, you can probably manage this project. It's that easy.
Part 1: Making the Cushion
To Make the Cushion, You'll Need:
Step 1: Cut your foam. The length of my foam was cut for me at Joann's, so I only had to do one cut to make my foam the dimension I wanted (24 1/2" by 15"). Which was good, since cutting the foam with a bread knife is definitely not ideal. Regardless, I measured my line, then sawed back and forth with the knife.
You'll notice in the photo above, this led to a very uneven cut. I wasn't too worried though; the purpose of batting is to even out things like this, so I was pretty confident that this wouldn't be seen or felt in the end product.
Step 2: Attach your first layer of batting. I figured out the best way to do this is to act like you're foam is a present that you're wrapping with wrapping paper. Really. Cut the batting as if it were wrapping paper, and then wrap the foam as if it were a gift. Then pin the batting into place, noting where you're putting pins so that you don't accidentally leave any pins in your foam!
Once you like the way you've arranged the batting, glue down the batting, removing the pins as you go.
Step 3: Attach your second layer of batting. Basically, repeat step 2.
Step 4: Set your cushion aside. No, really. You're done with the cushion, and now you can move on to making the cushion cover!
Part 2: Making the Cushion Cover
To Make The Cushion Cover, You'll Need:
Plan: We're going to have two main pieces of fabric here: the top "plate" that covers the top and sides of the cushion, and the bottom "plate" that covers the bottom of the cushion. Ultimately, we'll sew those two things together to create our cover.
Step 1: Cut out your bottom plate. It will be wider than your finished cushion to account for the overlap of the velcro. Because the velcro does not the affect the length, the length will be your finished cushion size. You can use the following formula to find your width:
(Ideal Cushion Width) + (Width of Velcro) + 1 inch = Width of bottom plate piece
So, as an example, I wanted my width to be 15". My velcro was 1" wide. So therefore I should cut my piece to have a width of 17".
Step 2: Cut your plate into two pieces. This is so that they can attach with velcro and the cover can be removed for cleaning. However, you won't be cutting the piece directly in half. Instead, one of the pieces needs to be the width of the velcro longer than the other. So, since my piece was 16" wide, with a 1/2" piece of velcro, instead of cutting each piece to be 8", I cut so one piece was 8 1/2" and the other was 7 1/2".
Step 3: Hem one length of each piece with a 1/2" seam allowance. Right now, you have two pieces of fabric, both with rough sides. Three of those sides on each piece will be hidden because they'll sew into the top plate, but the side with the velcro will be exposed, so therefore we need to hem it. Remember in Step 1, when we added in an extra inch? That was so we could have a half inch hem along each length.
Step 4: Sew on your Velcro. You'll be sewing the velcro onto the length that you just hemmed. Your ultimate goal is for the two pieces to attach like this:
Therefore, the rougher piece of velcro will attach to the right side of the smaller piece of fabric. The softer piece of velcro will attach to the wrong side of the larger piece of fabric. One you've pinned the velcro in place and are satisfied with how it matches up, sew.
Step 5: Cut Out The Top Fabric- I used the dimensions I wanted my cushion to be (25 1/2" by 15") to draw an outline of the cushion on the wrong side of my fabric. Then I outlined that drawing by 3", the height of my sides.
From there, I cut out my outline using my cutting mat and rotary cutter. But I wasn't done! I then cut out the corner squares, since they would not be necessary in the forming of my cover's corners. See picture below.
Step 6: Sew the corners with a 3/8" seam allowance- I pinned the corners together, right sides together, so that after all four corners were done, the cover looked like this:
Once you are happy with how you've pinned your corner, sew!
Step 7: Sew the Bottom Plate to the Top Plate- Once again, this will be with a 3/8" seam allowance, and right sides together. Pin everything in place first, doing your best to align corners. The velcro of the bottom plate should be velcro-ed while you do this. Once you're done pinning, you should have an almost-cover-like-thing:
Sew. When you reach each corner, raise your presser foot while keeping the needle embedded in fabric to turn your fabric 90 degrees.
When you've finished sewing, you have a cushion cover! Turn inside out, and insert your cushion.
I didn't do a DIY cushion to save money, but instead because I needed a size that wasn't easily purchasable. Regardless, I'm always curious to see if I actually did save any money by making the cushion myself. Here was the cost breakdown:
Foam for Cushion......$17.00
Total Cost: $44.51
Everything I purchased was either on sale or purchased with a coupon. Additionally, I have teacher's discount that gets me an extra 15% off my entire purchase (which was included above.. I teach math.) An Amazon search of full length bench cushions shows that they tend to run between $20 and $80, so from a cost prospective, it probably only makes sense to make your own if you require a certain size or pattern.
One last thought: I notice that my biggest expense was the cushion foam. You could save a ton by recycling an old cushion around the house you no longer need- taking off the old cover and cutting the foam to the size you want. Alternatively, you might be able to find a cushion at thrift store that could serve your purpose for a fraction of the cost as well.