Folk art wooden bench

A place to perch

I love a craft project. Although now Summer has arrived, crafts take the back seat for a couple of months and the garden is my focus. So when I was contacted about taking part in a garden renovation project I jumped at the chance! The brief was to renovate a plain sleeper bench from MKM for the garden, any way I chose. Our bench is beautifully rustic and really weighty.

Wooden sleeper bench
MKM sleeper bench

You can’t beat the natural look of bare wood so I decided not to paint it a solid colour. Also most of the materials in our garden are natural (wooden sleepers, terracotta pots, wood plant markers) and we generally avoid plastic or anything too bright.

I wanted to create something subtle that would fit in with the natural feel of the garden but up close, give you a reason to sit and look for a while. I designed some folk illustrations and burnt them into the wood on the top piece of the bench.

Pyrography tool burning patterns

I knew early on I wanted to experiment with pyrography. It’s something I’ve wanted to try for ages but the right project has never come along, until now. The kit I bought was a hobbyists set with several head attachments – although I only used two this time.

Burning patterns into wood

Copper paint wasn’t part of my plan until the bench arrived and I saw the green tones in the wood. Green and copper is one of my favourite colour combinations and I thought light bouncing off the copper paint in the sun would be a nice effect. The acrylic is suitable for wood, it’s waterproof and can be used indoors or outdoors.

Burnt folk pattern in wood
Pyrography folk illustrations
Burnt folk pattern in wood
Pyrography and copper

I applied a light wash of copper acrylic to the inside and outside of the legs. This makes gives the top a bit more ‘pop’ and creates more areas for the light to bounce off.

Pot of copper wash
Copper acrylic wash

For the final touch I rubbed some oil onto the wood with a rag to bring out the wood grain. Here is the finished bench! Ta-dah!

Pyrography bench

Bench decorated with pyrography

Pyrography folk art

Folk pattern burnt into wood

Just look at how much the sun changes this copper paint, it really glows!

Copper paint in the sun

One of the nicest things about renovating my bench this way is that I can watch it age. I like that the wood will look different after a few months of weathering and eventually the copper will look worn. I’ll condition the wood once in a while but otherwise I’ll leave nature to its own devices.


Thanks to MKM for asking me to be involved with the project and for sending me the bench. I’ve had great fun creating my design and you’ve made two bottoms very happy!

MKM supplied me with a complimentary bench and money to buy the materials for the renovation. All ideas, thoughts and opinions are my own. This project is part of the MKM Renovate Your Garden Campaign.

6 comments on “A place to perch

  1. Oh that looks awesome! We are thinking about putting a bench in our front garden so I might just go for this one. Loving your pyrography – so creative Gemma!

    • Thank you Annie! It’s nice and chunky and not having a back or arms means you can put it in a nook without it looking too intrusive. Waiting for a dry morning so I can sit on it and eat my breakfast.

  2. I have always wanted a rustic bench this one is absolutely perfect especially with the design you have created, it gives the bench new dimensions and interest without altering its rustic charm, beautiful ? absolutely love it.

    • Thanks Tina! We’d been on the lookout for a garden bench and the style of this one is perfect for us. I think you’d like it, it’s really heavy 😉

  3. that looks fab, and great bench. I always think it’s nice to have some simple shearing in the garden that’s not too much faff to use!

    • I agree. Although since I’ve finished this it’s rained every day so I haven’t had a chance to sit on it yet!

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