Stool transformation

There is a story behind most of the items of furniture in our home – I like it that way (partly, because I love telling stories!!).

These four stools have recently become one of my transformation stories.

Where do I get the motivation (and time) to do all this? OK, I’ll be honest, these stools have been ‘on the go’ for close to a year now… my TAT (why should we leave abbreviating things to the gen-Yers!!)… turn around time is something that is not consistent from project to project. If I am going to be completely honest… I haven’t finished them all yet. They are a real pain in the backside to sand, it’s not fun… and when it’s not fun, my motivation takes a tumble.

The fun part was selecting the material for the stools… that was my favourite bit (pity that was done months ago!). To help with the decision I started a fabric board on Pinterest. I was toying around with bringing a splash of colour into the house, vs. something stylish but neutral. I went for stylish by neutral, and a colour that would compliment the kitchen bench they will be sitting under. I ended up choosing a beautiful hand screen printed working cloth from the Cloth fabric online store. It is called Spotcheck, and I used the chalk on raw…

If you want to try your hand at transforming some stools, here’s what you’ll need, and what I did:

– Some stools that will allow you to remove the padded seat easily (and replace it) so you can change the material – that’s what really transforms them (or a lick of paint).
– A staple gun and staples (or upholsterer pins could also do the job, as long as they are not too long – they will prick your bum!)

– An electric hand sander or mouse (it can be done by hand but will take longer)
– Sand paper (medium grain)
– Quilting batting (or some foam/sponge that can be cut to size)
– Durable material to cover the seats and enough to staple it underneath each seat as well.

1. Kindly asked my husband to look after Heidi for a morning while I visited op shops looking for stools.

2. Found four wooden stools for $15 each (I did take a photo and text it to above-mentioned hubby to check that he liked them)

3. Strategically positioned the four stools in the car (a minor miracle that they fit!), then headed home with a big smile on my face

4.Took the padded seat off the stools (they were attached with several screws)

5. Cut the dusty, old material off the wooden disc (I took the lazy approach and decided not to remove the old staples)

6. Bought some quilting batting to use as padding on the wooden seat, cut several layers the size of the disc and stapled to the top.

7. Sanded the old varnish off the wood. This was the not-so-fun part. Sanding (or painting) circular wood is very time consuming, and tedious (hence why I have only managed to complete two of the four chairs!). Because the varnish was old it did turn quickly into dust and come off easily… the electric sander can do most of the work, except in the tight spots where I switched to hand sanding (the really, really un-fun bit!).

7 a) alternatively I could have painted them, which was my original idea. I opted to sand back instead because it was likely that the paint would chip on the rim around the bottom where people would be resting their feet… I didn’t warm to the idea of having to re-touch the paint all the time!

8. Take your material and cut each piece leaving about 10-15cm extra around the edge for stapling underneath. 9. Once the material is cut, lay the good side down on a table/floor then place the padded side of the circular seat on top (padded side down). Take your staple gun or upholsterer pins and place four evenly spaced around the circle (dividing it into quarters). When you fold the material over before pinning/stapling, fold the cut edge under for a neater finish, and make sure you pull the material tight for a better finish overall. You’ll see below that you get a better finish if you angle the material after pulling it tight (you avoid wrinkles forming around the edge of the circle).

10. By pulling the material tight before each staple/pin it will ensure you have a smooth finish when you turn it over…

11. Attach/screw/glue the seats back onto the stool (once they are sanded or painted, and dry!), and you will have yourself a set of new stools.

These are the two I have almost finished (I’m a fuss-pot and need to get into the joins with the sandpaper)

If you look closely at the back two chairs I haven’t finished sanding them yet…I’ve been using them for three months and no one seems to have noticed – or they are too polite to say so!

What I love about these is that when I get sick of the material, I will take it off and recover the seats with something fresh.

Happy hunting for stools, and choosing material. And hope that you find stools made with flat wood, and no curves, it might mean you finish sanding yours!


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