Simple Bench Seat Protector Tutorial

When I started on the mud room I debated painting the bench a different color than the trim.  The trim is Benjamin Moore's Chantilly Lace, which is basically white.  I knew this bench will see a lot of traffic, which may leave traces of dirt.  In the end I decided to paint it white to keep the space light, and I would create a bench seat protector to add color.  It's a lot easier to change than paint, and it will keep the bench from showing signs of wear and tear.  

I didn't like the idea of a cushion.  I wanted the surface to be stable for things like grocery bags.  The most cost effect and reusable idea was to utilize materials I already had on hand.  

Materials
Piece of cardboard - large enough to fit the space you are trying to cover.  
Fabric - large enough to cover the size of the cut cardboard plus 1-2 inches.  
Tape measure
Pencil
Hot Glue Gun
Glue Sticks
Box Cutter (or any knife type object that will safely cut through cardboard)
Scissors
Cutting Mat or other pliable surface 
Optional: yard stick or other straight edge

++A note about the supplies.  The goal of the 4(for) green acres life is to be creative in your living by finding and using objects and materials that may otherwise be discarded.  In most cases these things still have a function and don't need to end up in the landfill.  The cardboard I used for this project came from the gather sign that is hanging in my kitchen.  The fabric and cutting mat both came from an estate sale.  The fabric is a bed sheet.  For this project, avoid purchasing new items.  Need a piece of card board large enough to fit your space?  Ask around.  Friends, grocery stores, appliance centers will usually give you their old boxes. ++

1.  Measure the space using a tape measure.  For a snug fit, try to make your measurements as accurate as possible.  Lay the cardboard on a pliable surface.  Either a cutting mat, or your yard will do the trick.  Don't try to cut your cardboard on your floor or concrete.  With the pencil, mark the dimensions of your space on the cardboard.  Since mine was rectangular I measured out the four corners and then used the yardstick to connect the dots with a straight line.  Once you have the cardboard marked, cut it with the box cutter.  Error on the side of cutting it too large.  You can always cut more off.
Once the piece is cut, take it back to the area and make sure it fits the space.  Adjust it as necessary.  Don't worry about the edges being rough or slightly uneven.  You are going to cover it with fabric.   
2.  Once the cardboard is cut and tested for fit you are ready to measure out the fabric.  Lay the fabric out flat and mark the dimensions of the cardboard adding an extra 1-2 inches to fold over.  I was not worried about lining up my pattern, but if you are pay special attention on how you cut the fabric.  Be sure to cut your fabric on a cutting mat.  Again, don't worry about straight lines.  The edge of the fabric will be on the bottom side. 
To make the corners easier to lay flat cut two diagonal slits in the fabric on each side of the corner. 

3.  For the final step, lay the fabric top side down on a table.  Lay the cardboard bottom side up on top of the fabric.  The only part of the fabric you should see is the border that is going to be folded over.  Using the glue gun, start to fold over the fabric and glue as you go.  Be careful not to pull too tight.  When you get to the corner, glue the center section down first and then fold and glue each of the side pieces last like in the photo above.  Once you've finished gluing all sides down allow the glue to dry. 
You're finished!  Lay your completed piece in place and start using it.