Adding a big, comfy cushion is a fast way soften up a timber garden bench.
To make a simple cushion, all you need is a length of calico, a fibrefill insert and basic sewing skills.
Sew the cushion cover, including a zipper, then paint an original design on the front using fabric paint.
Available from craft stores and online suppliers, fabric paint comes in lots of bright colours. It’s easy to use and cleans up with water.
To make painted designs colourfast, they have to be heat-fixed. The easiest way is with an iron, but it’s essential to get the temperature right.
Cut two squares of calico at least 400 x 400mm. With right sides facing, sew around three sides by hand or use a sewing machine, leaving a 10mm seam allowance. Insert a zipper in the open side. To prevent the paint from bleeding through the layers of fabric, add a protective plastic insert.
Decorate the front of the cushion cover using fabric paint. Use a craft sponge applicator and a paintbrush to dab and splatter paint onto the cushion. Don’t try to build up a 3D effect, let the paint penetrate the fabric and flow out flat to prevent it from cracking and peeling later.
Let the fabric paint dry for 48 hours, then position a cotton cloth over the cushion cover to apply heat for up to five minutes using the iron. TIP To test the time and temperature needed for heat-fixing, paint a scrap piece of fabric, iron it, then wash it in the machine on a heavy-duty cycle.