Rustic Miniature Garden Bench DIY Tutorial & Free Printable Plans

miniature garden bench DIY tutorial
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Today I am excited to share a DIY tutorial for how to make a rustic miniature garden bench for your dollhouse or fairy garden. It is so darn cute!

miniature fairy garden bench

I built this garden bench in 1:12 scale to match with my rustic miniature potting bench for a miniature garden shed I am working on making. While the directions are in 1:12 scale if you need it in 1:24 scale it is pretty easy to do – you would just halve all of the measurements.

Building Tools, Supplies + Materials

If you frequently build things out of wood for your dollhouse or fairy garden, chances are you already have the supplies you need on hand {I know I did!} – if not, these can all easily be obtained at any home improvement store and craft store relatively inexpensively.

Here’s what you’ll need to make the rustic miniature garden bench:

Two Square Dowel Rods 1/4″ thick: We won’t be using all of the second dowel rod so you’ll have plenty left over for future projects! Make sure you get the square dowels and they are the 1/4″ inch thick ones. You’ll need 2 of them.

8-9 “Skinny” Sticks or Coffee Stirrers: Most of these are about 1/4″ wide and relatively thin – the Skinny Sticks can be found in most craft stores but coffee stirrers usually are more economical to buy in bulk and work exactly the same! I recently ordered these coffee stirrer sticks since my skinny stick supply was getting low and thought they were a great value.

Wood Glue: Any kind of wood glue will work – I usually use a mix of Elmer’s Carpenter’s Glue and Aleene’s Fast Grab tacky glue.

Clamps: I recently found a set of alligator style spring clamps at the Dollar Store for super cheap – they are not the highest quality but they sure do get the job done and I don’t worry about them getting ruined with glue or anything like that on them. This set of 24 spring clamps would also work well.

Mini Hacksaw or Coping Saw: I love, love, love my little mini Husky hand saw – it’s served me very well for several years! I use that saw for all sorts of things, but it’s especially great for cutting the dowel rods!

Wire Cutter or Tin Snips: I go back and forth on whether I like wire cutters or tin snips better for cutting skinny things like the coffee stirrers and popsicle sticks. Whichever you have is fine – or you can always cut the skinny sticks/coffee stirrers with the hack saw too.

Sandpaper: I always sand my wood before starting and to smooth out any rough edges from cutting. You don’t need a super fine sandpaper, something like 120 grit should be fine but just use what you have and is available to you. I usually just buy multi-packs.

Wax Paper: Wax paper is one of those things that’s always useful – I use this to protect my surface while gluing stuff together and so the garden bench doesn’t get stuck to my work table.

Ruler: The different parts and pieces are pretty easy to measure – any ruler should do the job!

Pencil: For marking measurements – any pencil will do!

Acrylic Craft Paints: I like to use watered down acrylic paints and do multiple layers when I finish a piece to give it that worn, rustic look. Of course, you can always paint your garden bench bright and funky fun colors too. Do what you like here!

Parts & Cut List for this DIY Garden Bench

Once you have your supplies and materials together, I find it useful to have a parts list / cut list of all the different pieces you will need to cut out and assemble.

While theoretically you could measure and cut out all the pieces in advance, I strongly advise against it. If you pay close attention to my video you’ll notice I had a few mistakes and my bench is a little bit wonky.

Sure, the wonkiness adds to the charm, but the biggest reason for the wonkiness is because I cut all the pieces in advance.

I’ve found if you cut your pieces as you go, you can ensure they are the exact right length and the whole bench will work together! Once you start gluing stuff together something as small as an 1/8 or 1/4 of an inch difference can throw you off.

Still, the reference sheet is nice, so I’ve included a list of all the parts and the dimensions they should be below!

  • 2 pieces of 1/4” dowel: 5” length   SEAT BASE
  • 4 pieces 1/4” dowel: 1 1/2” length    SEAT BASE
  • 2 pieces 1/4” dowel: 2” length    FRONT LEGS
  • 2 pieces 1/4” dowel: 3” length    BACK LEGS
  • 5 pieces skinny sticks: 5” length    SEAT SLATS
  • 2 pieces skinny sticks: 2 1/4” length    ARMS
  • 7 pieces skinny sticks: 1 5/8” length    BACK SLATS
  • 1 piece skinny stick 5” length    TOP RAIL

Be sure to sand each piece smooth as you cut them – this will also help make it easier to build!

Okay, we’ve gone over all the pieces, let’s get into how the bench is built!

How to Build a Miniature Garden Bench for Your Dollhouse

how to build a dollhouse garden bench

Ready to start building? Here’s an overview of how you can build this rustic miniature garden bench for your dollhouse or fairy garden!

Step 1: Build the Seat Base

garden bench step 1 diagram

Cut 2 pieces of 1/4” square dowel rod to be 5” long and 4 pieces of 1/4” square dowel rod to be 1 1/2” long.

Assemble the pieces as shown in the diagram to form the base of the seat. The vertical inner pieces should be spaced evenly, approximately 1 1/4” – 1 3/8” apart.

Glue all pieces in place and clamp. Wait for glue to dry before moving to the next step.

Step 2: Attach the Front and Back Legs

garden bench step 2

Cut 2 pieces of 1/4” square dowel rod to be 2” long for the front legs and 2 pieces of 1/4” square dowel rod to be 3” long for the back legs.

Assemble the pieces as shown in the diagram to attach the legs to the base of the seat. The seat should be glued about 1” from the bottom of the legs.

Allow the glue to fully dry before moving onto the next step.

Step 3: Attach the Slats to the Seat Base

garden bench step 3

Cut 5 pieces 5” long from “skinny sticks” or wood coffee stirrers that are 1/4” wide to use as the slats for the top of the garden bench seat.

Build the top of the seat by arranging the 5 pieces horizontally across the base of the seat, spacing each slat approximately 1/8” apart.

Let the glue fully dry and move onto the next step.

Step 4: Attach Arms of the Garden Bench

garden bench step 4 diagram

Cut 2 pieces 2 1/4” long from “skinny sticks” or wood coffee stirrers to use as the arms of the miniature garden bench seat.

Glue each arm on top of the front leg and where it meets on the back leg, approximately 1 3/4” from the top of the seat base.

Glue all pieces in place and clamp or tape to hold in place. Wait for glue to dry before moving to the next step.

Step 5: Attach the Wood Slats to the Back of the Bench

garden bench step 5 diagram

Cut 7 pieces 1 5/8” long from “skinny sticks” or wood coffee stirrers to use as the back slats of the miniature garden bench seat.

Glue each slat on the back of the edge of the seat, spacing each one approximately 3/8” inch apart. Clamp or tape to hold in place until glue is fully dry.

Step 6: Attach Top Rail

There are two methods of attaching the top rail – an “easy” method that is very forgiving if your cuts and glue jobs are a bit wonky and an “advanced method” which isn’t too difficult to do but does require consistent cuts and for the two back legs to be in square with each other.

Cut 1 piece 5” long from “skinny sticks” or wood coffee stirrers for the top rail of the garden bench.

Easy Version: Glue the top rail on the front top of the back legs and the front top of each slat forming the back of the seat. 

garden bench step 6 easy method

Advanced Version: Place the top rail on top of the back legs and back slats and glue in place. This requires all measurements and cuts to be precise and consistent.

garden bench step 6 advanced method

If you want your bench to look nice, the advanced version for the top rail where you place it on top of the back slats and back legs will give it a more “finished” look.

However, if your bench ends up a little wonky after gluing it like mine did, the easy version still looks pretty great in my opinion! {And your bench will be all that more “rustic”!}

Step 7: Paint/Stain

miniature rustic garden bench painted

To make your garden bench have an aged, weathered look, I recommend painting multiple layers of different colors using acrylic craft paints in black, brown, teal, copper, gray and white. Use a dry brush stroke and work in layers until the desired effect is achieved. 

Of course, you can paint and stain your bench any way you like! Go with fun and funky bright colors or choose a neutral white, gray, black or forest green.

If all of this seems overwhelming to build, do not worry – I made a video! The video shows each step.

And as you watch you’ll notice even my little mini garden bench is a bit imperfect – so don’t worry if you run into little snags like your pieces dry crooked or things aren’t perfectly in square. It all adds to the charm!

Download Your Free Miniature Garden Bench Building Plans

printable miniature garden bench plans

Something new that I am VERY excited to start offering here at TinyCrafter are FREE downloadable building plans for miniature projects!

I drew these building plans up in an iPad app I am testing out called Shapr3D. There’s a bit of a learning curve to get used to it but so far I really like it. I’m excited to learn how to draft CAD files because it opens up so many possibilities – especially in the world of 3D Printing, CNC routers and laser cutters!

The free printable building plans for the miniature garden bench are quite detailed and outline step-by-step the assembly of the project. Best of all, you can print it out and reference it again and again!

To download the file, simply click on the image or the link below!

free printable garden bench blueprints

I hope you enjoy this tutorial on how to make a rustic DIY miniature garden bench for your dollhouse and/or fairy garden – and of course if you make this project I would LOVE to see what you make! Join our all new Tiny Crafter Community Facebook Group to share what you’re working on!

And if you have any questions just ask in the comments section below – I’m always here to help!

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