Kids Workbench Slipcover

By Debbie Williams
Little ones love to
Little ones love to "fix" things.

Children love play areas that stimulate their imagination. If your little ones enjoy working with tools and dreaming up projects to build or fix, this workbench slipcover turns a straight-backed chair into a woodworker's fantasy shop. It takes up very little storage space and sets up for play in mere moments. You need only basic sewing skills to put the chair cover together.

Gather the Supplies

You can buy ribbon printed like a measuring tape.
You can buy ribbon printed like a measuring tape.

To make the slipcover workbench, you'll need:

  • Tape measure
  • Off-white cotton twill or canvas for the base, 2 yards
  • Scissors
  • Straightedge
  • Rotary cutter and cutting mat
  • Fabric for bench legs, 1/2 yard
  • Fabric for bench top and side pieces, 1/2 yard
  • Paper-backed fusible web
  • Sewing machine with size 80 needle
  • Iron
  • Ribbon printed like a measuring tape
  • Permanent marking pen
  • Double-fold seam binding, 8 yards
  • Colorful elastic hair ties
  • Needle and thread

Measure the Chair

Record the measurements for use later.
Record the measurements for use later.

Measure the following: + A: the height from the seat to the floor + B: the width of the chair at the front + C: the depth of the seat + D: the width of the chair at the back + E: the height from the seat to the top of the chair's back

If you don't have a specific chair in mind, use standard measurements: seat to floor height, 18 inches; width, 19 inches; depth, 18 inches. Seat height to back-of-chair height ranges between 20 and 24 inches.

Cut the Pieces

Lay out the pieces and double-check your measurements.
Lay out the pieces and double-check your measurements.

Cut the pieces for the bench top, chair front, chair sides and chair back, adding 5/8-inch seam allowances as necessary.

  • Bench top: equal to the depth of the seat (C) by the width of the chair (B).
  • Chair front: equal to the width of the chair (B) by the height of the chair seat off of the floor (A).
  • Chair sides (2): equal to the depth of the seat (C) by the height of the chair seat off of the floor (A).
  • Chair back: equal to the height of the chair from the seat to the top of the back (E) times two, plus the height of the chair seat (A). (This can be several pieces sewn together, if necessary.)

Create the Taper

Use a straightedge and a rotary cutter to taper the bench top.
Use a straightedge and a rotary cutter to taper the bench top.

Most chair seats are not perfectly square, so you will likely need to create a taper from the width of the front of the chair (B) to the width of the chair at the connection to the back (D). On the bench top piece, mark the four points of the chair seat on the fabric, fold in half and cut a straight line between the points.

Cut Strips for the Bench Legs

Cut the strips using a rotary cutter and a straightedge.
Cut the strips using a rotary cutter and a straightedge.

Iron a piece of paper-backed fusible web to the wrong side of the legs fabric and cut four strips that are 3 1/2 inches wide and length equal to the height of the chair seat off of the floor (A).

Applique the Legs of the Bench

Carefully peel the paper backing from the fusible web.
Carefully peel the paper backing from the fusible web.

Peel the paper backing from the fusible web and fuse a leg piece on each side of the chair front and on both chair side pieces. Stitch in place using a zigzag stitch.

Create the Bench Top Section

A rotary cutter is an invaluable tool.
A rotary cutter is an invaluable tool.

Iron a piece of paper-backed fusible web to the bench top fabric, and cut:

  • Bench top: equal to the depth of the seat (C) by the width of the chair seat (B).
  • Bench front edge: 4 1/2 inches wide and equal to the width of the chair seat (B).
  • Bench side edges (2): 4 1/2 inches wide and equal to the width of the depth of the seat (C).

Repeat the appliqué process, placing the bench front edge piece horizontally on the top of the chair front and one bench side edge on each chair side. Using the same method, attach the fabric to the bench top. Sew a strip of ribbon tape measure across the front of the bench top about 1 inch from the front edge of the piece.

Make the Pockets

Create smaller storage places in the pockets for rulers, pencils, etc.
Create smaller storage places in the pockets for rulers, pencils, etc.

Cut out three rectangles from the base fabric that are small enough to fit between the red leg pieces. Sew a piece of double-folded seam binding across the top of each pocket. Press 1/2-inch seams on the sides and bottom of the pockets. Pin a pocket in place on the chair front piece and one on each chair side piece. Stitch in place. Stitch vertical seams through the pockets to create smaller storage places for tools.

Assemble the Bottom Section of the Workbench

Use double-fold seam binding tape on the edges of the chair cover.
Use double-fold seam binding tape on the edges of the chair cover.

Stitch a chair side piece to each side of the chair front piece. Sew double-fold seam binding around the sides and bottom edge of this assembly. Stitch this assembly to the bench top and set aside.

Draw Tools on the Back Section

Arrange the tools on the backboard of the workbench.
Arrange the tools on the backboard of the workbench.

Lay the chair back out on a flat surface and arrange toy tools. Trace around the tools with a pencil. Remove the tools and re-trace the lines with a permanent marker.

Finish the Chair Back

An edge joining foot makes it easier to sew seam binding.
An edge joining foot makes it easier to sew seam binding.

Sew double-fold seam binding around the sides and top of the chair back. Sew the chair back section to the bench top assembly. Stitch closed a strip of seam binding and cut into four 10-inch strips. Attach these ties at the bottom corners of the bench top and matching locations on the chair back.

Sew the Elastics in Place

Use heavy thread and a stiff needle.
Use heavy thread and a stiff needle.

Hand stitch colorful elastic hair bands on each tool outline to hold the tools in place.

About the Author

Debbie Williams studied design at the Kansas City Art Institute and has operated a graphic design and printing business for the last 17 years. She has been involved in various crafts including sewing, quilting, costuming, woodworking and various DIY all her life.