Makeover | World’s ugliest stool gets a pretty, new grain-sack-style striped cushion

grain sack stripe
In between a parade and a picnic and some fun with friends and family over the weekend, I did a quick makeover on World’s Ugliest Stool.

This is what the sad little stool looked like when I bought it at a thrift store a couple weeks ago.

Yes, I actually paid money for it — although, in my defense, it was only $2.

removing the old upholstery
I liked the stool itself. The crazy, stained velourlike upholstery, not so much.

removing the old upholstery
I raided the husband’s toolbox for a screwdriver and a pliers and stripped off the ugliness in about 5 minutes.

I considered leaving the stool unupholstered. But as I was planning to actually sit on it on a somewhat regular basis, I thought a little padding would be nice.

I would have reused the original foam if  I could have, but this is what it looked like: lots of random little pieces. The poor stool. Not only was it ugly on the outside, it was ugly on the inside, too.

Fortunately, this stool is going to replace a different one in my kitchen that is falling apart and is destined to be thrown out. So I unupholstered the old one and cannibalized the foam from it.

Then I found a scrap of drop cloth left over from some pillows I made. (I blogged about them here if you’re interested.)

reupholstering a stool

I wanted to paint green stripes on the fabric — to match the green pieces of wood under the seat — but I didn’t have the right shade in my paint box, so I attempted a custom mix with what I had on hand: a 10-year-old tester pot of Glidden Willow Leaf, a bottle of Christmassy green craft paint, another bottle of white and a bit of leftover textile medium (to keep the paint from cracking).

I’m not sure if I needed the textile medium (as I don’t plan to put the fabric in the washing machine), but I already had it, so I figured I might as well use it. (Better safe than sorry.)

grain sack stripe

After mixing the paint, I taped off the center stripe and painted it.

grain sack stripe

Once the center stripe was dry, I taped off a narrower stripe on each side of it. No measuring done here; the stripes were just eyeballed. (I sure wish the eyeballing method worked better for sewing and woodworking.)

grain sack stripe

When I was done painting the narrow stripes…

grain sack stripe
… I pulled up the tape.

grain sack stripe

The greens were not a perfect match, but close enough.

grain sack stripe

After ironing the fabric to heat set the paint and textile medium, I centered the fabric on the foam and centered the foam on the seat.

Then I flipped the stool over and started stapling the fabric and foam to the underside of the seat.

I trimmed off the excess foam and fabric as I stapled. Drop cloth fabric frays like crazy, so I had to be really careful when trimming it.

Fray Check

Luckily I had some Fray Check on hand. I squeezed the Fray Check onto the raw edges as I trimmed the fabric to prevent it from unraveling any more.

Hopefully it holds up.

my cat

Here’s a gratuitous shot of Calvin, who was sitting in the driveway about three feet behind me the entire time I was working on this project. He’s a senior citizen these days, so he doesn’t do any hunting or prowling anymore; he just sits and watches me work.

grain sack stripe

Here’s the finished stool.

grain sack stripe

It was a pretty simple project that took me less than an hour from start to finish, but it’s a big improvement over what it looked like before.

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