DIY outdoor bench

You saw a little peek of the polkas from the birthday/ gender reveal party post last week. I’m finally spilling the DIY outdoor bench beans. Cinder blocks are kind of awesome. They are like (really heavy) building blocks for big kids.

outdoor cinder block bench


Here’s the before of the lovely outside patio situation… remember when we painted our free outdoor furniture?

How to make an outdoor bench

I knew I wanted a big ol’ bench to fit under the windows, I just wasn’t exactly sure what or how that was going to happen. And then I saw this awesome pin from BHG. Andy did a little Craigslist search for cinderblocks and we found some for $1 each. That’s a steal considering if you buy them at a home improvement store, each one is $1.50. So, Andy and I had a little craigslist adventure to the hill country and found tons of cinder blocks! (This pic is an instagram from Oct. 26th when we picked these suckers up.)

outdoor cinder block bench

Then Andy came home, and whipped up the bench base. Carrying these blocks did not look fun. Good thing I was just the photographer, I mean I am pregnant after all!

How to make an outdoor bench

Layer 2… We decided to add arm rests and even a little table for Andy to use when he grills just because we had extra blocks. The awesome thing about this bench is you can make it into a million configurations, and even change it up if you want!

How to make an outdoor bench


Then we went to Home Depot and bought one sheet of ply wood. Andy chopped it into 3 pieces for me. Each cushion is 30.5 x 41. Oh and do you like our fancy wood work shop, ha! Poor Andy really needs a table saw and a real work bench.

outdoor cinder block bench

I bought foam and batting from Jo Ann’s and found some fun outdoor fabric for uber cheap at IKEA. I really wanted black and white stripes, but ended up settling for black and white polka dots after searching high and low for my stripes. I made the 3 cushions the same way I made the cushion for my free chair I reupholstered. Cut the foam to fit the board, cut the batting to wrap around the board and staple. Then cut the fabric to wrap around the entire thing and add tons of staples. It’s really not hard. Do I think it will last outside forever, not at all. But, by the time it’s crusty, I’ll probably be ready for a fabric change anyway!

How to make an cinder block bench

The polka dots made it easy to keep the fabric straight from cushion to cushion! And here’s the finished bench, or at least finished for now. I think I might paint the cinderblocks.  White maybe? Turquoise? Who knows! Oh and some of those are real outdoor pillows and some of those are from the nursery and only living on the bench for the purpose of this 15 minute photo shoot session!

Bench 3

Here’s a good side shot of our new giant bench…

Bench 4

Here’s one in the middle of the day with some fun tree shade lighting…

outdoor cinder block bench

And here’s one more before and after:

How to make an outdoor cinder block bench

And here’s the cost breakdown:

  • 75 cinder blocks from Craigslist= $75
  • 1 piece of ply wood= $25
  • 2.5 yards of 1 in. foam (with 40% off coupon and I had a gift card)= $34
  • 2.5 yards of batting (50% off sale and I had a gift card)= $30
  • 3 yards of fabric from IKEA= $18
  • Stapler and staples= already owned
  • Pillows= already owned

Grand total (including gift cards)= $118


Not bad for a giant bench, huh? Have you ever made anything out of cinder blocks? I’m brewing up more cinder block ideas over here!


  1. I love that you took a semi harsh material (CMU blocks) and turned it into a lovely seating bench! Way to go.

  2. So creative and it looks fantastic! I may steal this idea if I can find some cheap cinderblocks.

  3. Wow! This is chic! The fabrics are so powerful!

    <3 Carsla

    Founder & CEO of Connect-the-Cloths

  4. I love this Jamie! and that fabric is adorable!

  5. This is amazing! Great idea!!!!

  6. What about painting the cinder blocks a fun color? They look pretty drab against the light colored wall. Just a thought. =)

  7. Cute. I am looking to build something similar with a curve for a fire pit. I wonder if I can use regular pavers. Also, I think your math is wrong…I didn’t see the total of $118 in the break out…

  8. You could use table cloths from the dollar store

  9. Michelle says:

    Did you know that Home Depot will cut your plywood for free? My husband doesn’t have much of a shop either so this little tip came in handy for us :)

  10. WOW! Came across this on pinterest and the first thing I noticed is that we have the exact same kind of stone on our house!! Whoa – where is this person!?! 😉 It’s called Austin Stone and it comes from a Quarry in Austin that is no longer open. We know this because we had to have some masonry work done and the Mason was very complimentary and told us all about it. I would love to see some exterior pics of your house because I am trying to pick out some color scheme options. What colors do you have now and what colors have you had? Thanks! And nice bench too :)

  11. Love this. We have raised garden beds in the back yard with cement blocks. This would be perfect to give some compliment to the wood, love it!!! Pinning to keep in the forefront of my mind. Thanks!

  12. love that! something like this is on my outdoor pinterest board, so love to see something come to fruition.

  13. What a creative way to add outdoor seating! Thanks for sharing at Motivational Monday. Hope you will link up again tonight!

  14. Thank you for linking up with us last week at Sunday Features. Hope you had the chance to do so this week. Didn’t have a chance to comment but last week we featured this wreath on our fb page. I love it. And I love burlap so I pinned as well. Thanks again!

  15. Hi! I love your bench idea. Do you think this would still work on dirt? I can level the earth, but I live in the Seattle area where it rains frequently, I’m worried of it shifting and sliding

  16. Spectacular! – I was thinking for myself that I would paint the cinder blocks for a pop of color…..

  17. What a great alternative for an outdoor bench! Thanks for sharing on Snickerdoodle Sunday.

  18. I llove how you solved your problem in such a creative way. Love the fabric – such a cheerful place to sit now. Thank you for sharing at Share It One More Time. Cathy


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