Outdoor Sofa Cushions

So pretty. In a surprising twist, Allyson is writing her first ever post for the blog about sewing our outdoor cushions. So if you’re wondering why it is so much better, that should explain it…. If you know how to use a sewing machine, you can probably make box cushions and pillows. Pillow covers are one of the easiest projects for beginners to make because all of the seams are straight, and you can learn how to turn corners and install zippers. My mom taught me how to sew when I was growing up. I even had a business selling extra long beach towels with custom covers that held the towel onto the chair. Sewing is an invaluable skill to add to your DIY repertoire for flexibility and cost savings. I frequently use my sewing machine to patch torn knees and butts in our work pants. The most important rule…

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Outdoor Sectional – Part V – Stain

Some people love the color of old cedar. Gray and weather worn. I am not one of those people. It is nice that cedar doesn’t need any stain to last a really long time outside. But I want it to both survive a long time and look like fresh cedar for as long as possible. That means I need to protect the outdoor sectional with a coat of stain.  Not all types of stain are made the same. In order to understand the important part of each stain, you have to first understand that the thing that makes cedar age is sunlight. More specifically, the UV rays. With that in mind, it makes sense that the best protection against sunlight would be a tinted stain, and a dark one at that. The worst protection then would be a clear stain. It’s like wearing a long sleeve shirt vs sunscreen at…

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Outdoor Sectional – Part IV – Backrest and Seat Slats

In part IV of the outdoor sectional build, it is time to talk about the backrest and seat slat installation. Compared to the rest of the build, a fairly easy process. The best part was that at the end of it, I could sit my butt down on the sectional and enjoy the fruits of my labor! Not a bad reward for a day of work. For the backrest and seat slats, I used 1x4 cedar. The slats for the back had to be cut with a slight, ~6°, angle to account for the corner of the backrest where the two sides meet. They also had to get incrementally shorter from top to bottom. My strategy for this was to first cut the longest piece to size. That way, if I made a mistake or realized that the angle was wrong, I could recut that piece and turn it into…

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Outdoor Sectional – Part III

What does every good outdoor sectional need? A good backrest. So after finishing the base, I got started on building the backrest.  Since I am not a robot, the key to the backrest build was to make sure it had a slight angle to it for comfort. I once again set up a stop block for consistent lengths on all of the backrest supports and cut all of the pieces with a 6° angle. The angle is on both sides of the backrest support, so that it connects to the base square and the top runner sits square as well. It was worth it to really take my time on this step, as the angles had to be oriented correctly relative to each other. Almost forgot! Before cutting the backrest supports, I ripped the 2x4 down to 2½”. That way, there is room for support slats on the face of…

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Outdoor Sectional – Part 1

For the past few years that we have lived in our house, our outdoor furniture has been pretty lackluster. We have a couple of uncomfortable metal chairs that were hand-me-downs from my grandma. In addition, we have a couple of cheap plastic chairs that were left in the backyard by the previous owner. Surprisingly, these are actually really comfortable. We've even brought them to use during fireworks shows (in the before times). Regardless, it was time to upgrade to something bigger and better: an outdoor sectional. The local design expert, Allyson, found a really straightforward design online from Real Cedar. It is an L-shaped sectional that fit what we were looking for perfectly.  Real Cedar's outdoor sectional, mostly hidden by pillows and other junk. The design from Real Cedar came with SketchUp plans, which made it a simple choice to go with their design. We initially planned to use their…

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