A few years ago I built a DIY aztec patterned storage bench. It’s one of my favorite projects, and (spoiler alert) since I’m launching a YouTube channel next month, I wanted to recreate it so that I could film the process.
I opted to put a little bit of a different design spin on this DIY storage bench, plus I used some different tools this time around, so I thought I’d go ahead and post another tutorial.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Home Depot. All opinions are my own.
Project Supply List:
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- DeWalt Handheld Compact Circular Saw
- DeWalt Compact Drill and Driver
- Orbital Sander w/ 80 grit and 120 grit sanding disks
- Crown Stapler or Brad Nailer and 1 1/4″ staples or brad nails
- 1 x 12
- 2 x 12
- Wood Glue
- Measuring Tape
- Painter’s Tape
- Pocket Hole Jig
- 2″ pocket hole screws
- 2 1/2″ wood screws
- Countersink drill bit (optional)
- Speed Square (or board to use as a straight edge)
- Paint with Primer
- Polycrylic or topcoat of choice
- Wood Stain (I used Special Walnut)
- Paint Roller/brush
- Furniture feet (x4)
- Drawer Pulls (x3)
- X-Acto Knife
- Wood Filler
- Putty knife
First, cut your wood to the following dimensions:
2 – 2×12 boards, each cut to 5 ft. long
4 – 2×12 boards, each cut to 11 3/4″ long
6 – 1×12 boards, each cut to 17 1/4″ long
6 – 1×12 boards, each cut to 9 1/4″ long
3 – 1×12 boards or 1″ thick project panels (that’s what I had on hand) cut to 15 1/2″ x 9 1/4″ (cut to fit bottom of boxes)
I used my new DeWalt handheld compact circular saw for this and I am actually obsessed with this tool. It’s easy to handle, cuts like butter, and is lightweight. I used a speed square clamped to my board as a guide to ensure that my cut was straight. Honestly, I’m not sure I will ever go back to using a regular circular saw, but we’ll see!
This saw has a brushless motor and a removable auxiliary handle for increased control. Its onboard blade key storage makes for quick and easy blade changes, and the bevel gear allows you to cut 2x material at 90 degrees with a 4 1/2 inch blade.
The blade lever also allows you to cut a 45 degree bevel on 1x dimensional lumber. There’s a 1 1/2 inch finger trigger which allows you to choke up if on the tool if necessary. My favorite thing about it though is definitely how compact and lightweight it is, while still cutting every bit as well as my larger circular saw.
Sand everything smooth. I started with an 80 grit sanding disk on my orbital sander to get all of the stamps and markings off of the wood and then went back over it with 120 grit to smooth everything out.
Assemble the base of the bench. I chose which board I wanted to serve as the top of the bench and flipped it upside down on my work surface.
Then, I attached the end pieces (11 3/4″ long boards) using pocket holes and 2″ long pocket hole screws. This way, the screws will not be visible from the top of the bench when we flip this whole thing over later on.
I attached the two cubby dividers the same way, making sure they were spaced 18 inches apart. To do this, I used my DeWalt compact drill and driver set.
Then, I attached the other 5 ft. long board to the top by countersinking 2 1/2″ wood screws from the top. (This will later become the bottom when the whole thing is flipped over, so the screws will not be visible.)
I used the DeWalt compact impact driver to drive these screws, and that thing packs a punch! It made the job super quick and easy.
Assemble the storage bins. I built my boxes by using wood glue and a crown stapler (a brad nailer would work fine too). Just be careful to keep everything square as you’re attaching everything, and be sure that your depth is set so that your staples or brad nails countersink themselves. That way, you can go back and putty over them later.
I used paintable wood filler to patch over the staple holes and also over the knots in the wood to prevent bleed through later on since I was going to paint these.
Stain one side of each storage bin (one of the longer sides, which will later become the front). I used Special Walnut stain.
Prime and Paint. I used an interior latex paint with primer in one (Behr White 52) and used two coats. (You can find my furniture painting tutorial here.) I painted everything except for the stained front side of each bin.
If your paint does not have a built-in primer, you’ll definitely want to use a good stain blocking primer first.
After the paint had dried, I applied my design using painter’s tape.
First, I laid a strip of tape horizontally across the center of each bin. Once you have this on straight, you can use it as a guide for the rest of the strips of tape. I applied 3 strips above this one and 3 strips below it, leaving a tiny sliver of space between each one (I just eyeballed it). You should end up with 7 strips of tape in total.
Measure and mark your tape strips, then cut. Below is a shot of where I marked each strip.
The measurements indicate distance between that point and the outer edge of the box. I drew a dot at the top of each strip and one at the bottom and then connected them, creating a diagonal line on each end of each strip of tape.
Then, I went in with my X-Acto knife and cut along the line and peeled away the excess tape. I cut small triangles to add to the top and bottom.
After my designs were cut, I went back over and smoothed the tape down with my fingernails. Then, I painted that entire side of the box, including over the tape. I let that coat dry and then applied a second coat, and peeled away the tape while that last coat was still damp.
After all of my paint had dried, I sealed everything with a polycrylic topcoat. (I recommend 2-3 coats.)
Attach your drawer pulls to the center of the front of each bin. I use painter’s tape to mark the holes and then stick it on the bin so I know where to drill.
Attach the legs, and you’re done! (By the way, you could modify the dimensions and add drawer slides if you’d rather make these drawers instead of removable bins, but I did what was easiest.)
You could definitely customize or modify this bench to suit your own personal style, whether by changing the dimensions or color scheme or pattern. There are lots of options!
This project is now available on YouTube!
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For more project ideas, you can check out my project gallery.
You Might Also Like:
- Aztec Patterned Storage Bench (the original)
- How to Paint Furniture: A Beginner’s Guide
- IKEA TARVA Dresser Hack
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