Build your own modern outdoor bench from concrete and redwood following this DIY concrete bench tutorial and woodworking plan! We show you how to make a DIY concrete bench form, then build a redwood bench seat for durable outdoor seating.
We’ve done a decent amount concrete work over the past few years, like our huge DIY patio a few years ago, and since then a couple more small sections of patio at our current house that you’ve never seen… And our amazing contributors have made some really cool projects like this concrete frame, modular mini planters, this HUGE planter big enough for a tree and finally a side table.
So, today we thought it would be fun to create an actual piece of furniture using concrete. It was our first try and for the most part we REALLY love the outdoor bench. It is modern and beautiful and we learned a few things making it, which makes us excited for our next concrete project. (And, update, it’s still holding strong 4 years later!)
We made this bench for our backyard and wanted to share a tutorial of how you can build this DIY concrete bench for yourself. We’ve created full plans and instructions of how to build your own outdoor bench.
My husband and brother in law worked on the modern bench design, then built it. (Be sure to check out my brother in law’s shop, Curtis Frank Design — he makes really cool custom furniture pieces.) Get the printable DIY concrete bench plans HERE
How to Build a DIY Concrete Bench with Redwood Seat
Watch the video here first to get a good idea of the process that we took to build the modern concrete and redwood bench.
Modern DIY Concrete and Redwood Bench Building Plans
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Safety note: Working with concrete requires additional safety procedures and equipment. Be sure to read and follow all instructions and notes on the product packaging.
Important Note: We used fast setting concrete mix. If you are new to working with concrete, we recommend using the regular speed concrete mix, as the fast setting concrete mix requires working much more quickly for a successful end product.
This outdoor DIY concrete bench measures 12″ D x 48″ W x 18″H. The poured concrete sides are 2″ thick, and the redwood bench top is 1 1/2″ thick.
If you’d like to build a wider bench, you can adjust the concrete forms to be a bit wider to accommodate a full-width 2×6 board (5 1/2″ wide) instead of ripping the boards to 4″ wide like we did. (This will mean your bench seat isn’t as flat as ours, since ripping the rounded factory edges gives a really smooth bench top.)
Concrete Bench Building Instructions
The printable outdoor concrete bench tutorial and plan includes full instructions and cut lists for the concrete forms and redwood bench top, as well as assembly diagrams and finishing tips. The instructions include how to prep the concrete bench forms and pour the concrete, and how to prep and attach the redwood bench seat boards.
A few tips for building your concrete bench:
As you build the forms, remember inside dimensions are critical and be sure to use smooth plywood and screws. You can also use melamine for the sides to avoid having the forms stick to the dried concrete.
- Only use the screws on the outside of the form.
- Always pre-drill the holes for the screws.
- Only pin nail on the inside of the form in small areas. If the hole are too big they will fill in with concrete and be harder to remove.
Lay the forms on a smooth flat surface. We used sheet metal on top of a table, and melamine also works well. This will allow the concrete on the opposite side to be nice and flat.
After pouring the concrete into the form:
- Tamp concrete into every crack and corner with wood or a magnesium float. (A steel finishing trowel will bring too much cream to the top.)
- Scrape off excess mud with a straight board from edge to edge.
- Re-tamp and smooth with trowel.
- After 20 minutes or so gently hit sides of form with a hammer. This will help raise the air bubbles to the top. You will have to do this 10 min. sooner if working with the fast-setting mix.
- Vibrate the forms with a electric sander. This will also help bring the air bubbles to the top.
- Smooth concrete occasionally with a finishing trowel. As the concrete sets, it can be helpful to spray it with a water bottle to keep it workable.
Thanks for visiting our blog. I hope you found it helpful so you can build your own or one similar! Be sure to check out Curtis Frank Design on Instagram too!
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Published 16 Sep 2016 // Last updated 17 Apr 2020