I used the Rustic Bench plans, but adjusted the length to make it smaller, since my plywood top was a bit wider and shorter than the top on the plan. It was the last remnant from our incredibly versatile plywood sheet. I also had to cut out the two cross supports, because 1) they’re too difficult for me to figure out (they’re not right in either of my benches) and 2) I didn’t feel like buying a board just for those. I had just the right amount of spare lumber lying around, and I was going to maximize it!
At first, I wanted to just build a bench for my sister for Christmas, and paint it like our island. But after visiting my parents over Thanksgiving and taking home some reclaimed tile from their old outdoor bar, I knew this bench had a better destiny than mere paint. When I laid down the tile scraps and they fit perfectly, I knew serendipity had spoken.
This was the first time I’d ever worked with tile. I did a little research (aka grilling my husband’s best friend, who is a tile guru), and discovered I didn’t really need any fancy materials to lay the tile down on. As it’s just a bench, and in no need for mold-prevention or cement board like bathroom walls, all I needed to do was rough up the plywood top with my grinder and a steel-wool like disk. With the bench already sanded and painted, I started the tiling process. I bought a bucket of tile adhesive and grout all-in-one, and went to town. I didn’t have a trowel, so I made do with my putty spatula. I just had to make the grooves in the adhesive one-by-one as opposed to one quick stroke. I spread the adhesive, laid the tiles, carefully washed off any overspread on the sides, and let it sit for 24 hours. Then I spread in the grout (it’s all the same stuff, just different application), washed the overspread off again, and let it sit for another 24 hours. Then I had a gorgeous top!