Footstool Upcycle

Finally! I’m back with a new DIY project! Thanks, readers, for hanging in there through the blog move and waiting for the next DIY.

I’ve been hinting at this on  my Instagram for a while, and I’ve also had it finished for a few weeks, but  I haven’t  been able to create my post until now. (Now that I’ve gotten some breathing room from my many jobs and other projects, I can get back to DIY-ing.)  This one was a fun one, and relatively simple (except for the legs). The key here is getting all your materials. Once you have those,  this should take an afternoon – a day at most.

Tools Needed:

Footstool (this one has a 14″ square base),  Upholstery Foam (thickness is up to you–this is 3″ thick, size is based on the footstool you have–here, footstool is 14″ square), Upholstery Fabric (this is 3/4 yard to cover size of stool, foam, and batting), Felt– in a complimentary color to your fabric, or black (at least the size of your base or more–for base bottom), loft batting (found in the same place in craft stores you would find foam. Choice is up to you. I chose medium generic batting for price, and because I could use extra for quilts) , heavy-duty stapler and pointed staples, spray paint, painter’s tape, regular claw hammer, craft knife, screwdriver (this may be optional. First determine how your footstool’s legs are attached),  letter opener or other straight edge and pliers ( these may be optional. First determine how your footstool’s fabric is attached)

Steps:

  1. First, I removed footstool legs and old upholstery.   Do this kind of slowly, documenting mentally or with pictures (like I did) how your footstool is put together. Because basically, you’re going to put it back the same way you bought it. Mine had foam with fabric covering it. The legs were screwed into the base, so I unscrewed them, keeping all hardware. The fabric was stapled on, so I used a letter opener, claw part of hammer and pliers to pull staples up and out. Use caution when doing this (Wear eye protection and, if needed, gloves).

Inside of footstool. Shows the base (wood) and foam covered by fabric.

Bottom of footstool. Shows felt covering the base (wood), where legs were screwed into base, fabric stapled on, and a piping border added (with staples).

2.   a) Once I stripped everything off, I went to put it back together. The legs were tarnished, so I polished them. I don’t really like the brassy look, so I covered the screw plates and spray painted them. This color is Champagne Nouveau Satin gloss (Paint + Primer by Krylon.

 

Foam covered in loft batting (top of foam)

b) I cut my foam to size and covered it with batting, even though the old foam did not have batting. Batting will make your fabric easier to work with–it keeps it from sliding, and it keeps it smoothed out as you are attaching it–and it has a softer feel than just foam and fabric.

 

 

 

3. Assembly– a) I laid out my fabric, wrong side up. Then I put my batting-covered foam, top side down, in the center. I put the base on top of that, bottom side up.

Fabric covering stool and stapled in place. Notice corner folding.

b) I pulled the a fabric tight (but don’t stretch  fabric to its limit. If you’re going to do tufting, leave a very small  amount of slack  to allow for tufts) around the foam and base and stapled it to the base in key spots opposite each other. Sometimes, I had to hammer staples in. When folding corners, I did a trifold (fold corner edge in, then fold sides on top of the corner edge). Staple corners  opposite each other. This is so you can adjust your fabric while assembling  to keep it from being skewed or stretched, and so prints can be where you want it to be the first time. Striped fabric and small prints will show more stretches and skews than a solid color or a big print like this. Prints can end up being in the wrong place if not periodically adjusted while stapling. Cut back fabric if needed to reveal screw or nail holes where legs were attached.

  • You can also purchase fabric piping and staple it around the edge. I did not do that here.

Felt stapled to bottom along sides. No staples in corners.

c) Cut felt  to size, then staple around to bottom of stool. Make sure to puncture with a knife or cut away felt where screw or nail holes are to reattach legs.

 

 

 

 

 

Footstool with legs attached.

d.) Reattach legs to corners. I had to cut into felt a little because I forgot to make holes in it to screw the legs on. And done!

 

 

 

 

Optional– You can also hot glue buttons on the top of your stool. If you want a tufted look done easily, stand stool upright and staple in the area you want a button from the top of the  footstool through cushion to the bottom. (Make sure your staples have enough height to do this. A 1/2″ staple is not going to go through batting and 3″ foam to adhere to the bottom.) You may need to do a few staples together in a triangle or square shape, depending on button size. This will make a little  dipped in place in the top of your stool. Hot glue your button to hide the staples. Voila!

Lessons Learned:

  1. Upholstery fabric is thick and hard to puncture. Make sure you’ve cut away  the upholstery fabric from the  places on the base where the legs should go, or you are going to have a hard time reattaching the footstool legs. The hardest step for me was putting the legs on, because I did not cut away the fabric. (So, I was screwing these in through fabric by hand, on an angle. Never again.)
  2. Same goes for the felt.
  3. Heaven forbid you staple in the same spot you need to attach the leg!
  4. No one is going to see the bottom of this. Unless you’re doing a blog like me. So who cares if it’s a little messy on the bottom?
  5. The felt is a must. You do not want to get a splinter in your foot or hand when you’re grabbing this to move it  or turning it over with your foot.
  6. Spray paint is awesome. Spray painting is a quick way to update any metallic object (make sure it’s clean, dry and free of tarnish. I love the way this turned out!

 

 

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