Whoa – what happened to January and most of February? I just realized we haven’t posted in a while – probably because we’ve been so busy knocking out projects! I’m finishing up the post on how we fenced in our sideyard using only reclaimed wood (we did buy the hardware, though!). But in the meantime, I wanted to share a little project I’ve just finished because I LOVE how it’s turned out. And better yet, it was a solution to a problem we had that didn’t cost us a single dime.


Driving down the street in our neighborhood recently, we noticed someone had put a white stool with pink upholstery out to the curb for garbage pick-up. Not surprisingly, it was dirty and faded, but I immediately saw potential.

You see, we have two huge leather ottomans (that Don loves) that impede traffic flow in our living room. I’ve been advocating getting right of them for quite a while, and recently Don told me I could get rid of at least one of them if I could find him something else to put his feet up on when he’s sitting in his favorite chair.

Enter the pink-and-white garbage stool! After getting a VERY strange look from Don, he pulled over to let me grab it off the curb. When we got home (okay, okay, a few weeks later), I started by pulling four screws from the top to remove it, then wiped down the stool to get it all nice and clean.

Underneath, the padded top is really just particle board with staples holding the foam & fabric on, so I started by removing all of the staples from the old fabric. Thankfully, the foam underneath was in great shape, so I chose not to replace it.

Next, I spray-painted the particle board on the bottom side of the cushion black. We already had black Rust-Oleum Spray Paint from a prior project, so I went ahead and used that.

The bottom side of the cushion required two coats of paint. It really won’t be seen most of the time, but Don wanted it all uniform regardless, so we went ahead and painted it.

Next, I tackled painting the frame of the stool itself. I did this outside, on our lawn, over some old fence panels we were throwing away (so no paint got on the lawn!). I’ll admit, it wasn’t as easy as I had hoped it would be – these stools have an incredible number of angles and directions and moving parts. So, I was basically walking around the stool with the spray paint going at it from every possible angle to make sure I had good coverage. Realistically, it took about 4-5 total coats, about 2.5 with the stool right-side up, and then another 2 with the stool upside down. It wasn’t necessarily because it needed better coverage, but because every little nook and cranny was hard to get into.

While the paint dried, I tackled re-covering the cushion. I kept the old pink polka-dotted fabric to use as a cutting template. I used a rust-colored Marine Vinyl fabric we had left from a boat project.

I really love using this vinyl because of how easy it is to clean – between the dogs and Don’s boots on this stool, I knew it was likely to be filthy fairly regularly!

I cut the vinyl to the same size as the old cover, plus about 1″ all around in case of errors. Then, I made myself comfortable on our bed with a manual staple gun, the new cover, and the cushion. We have a pneumatic staple gun, but I must admit – I hate it. It’s noisy and unwieldy, and limits my options in terms of where I can work (because of the compressor needed).

Then, I started connecting the vinyl to the cushion backer board using staples. Starting on one side, I then moved on to the opposite side, stretching the vinyl as I went. Next, I stapled each end, starting with a few staples to anchor each side before going back and adding staples every 3/4 inch or so.

Finally, I tackled folding the corners. I followed the basic ‘template’ from the old fabric, making a total of three folders on each corner and stapling each as I went. In this step, I made sure to stay clear of the bolt-holes that attach the cushion to the body of the stool! Last, I went through and trimmed the excess vinyl beyond the staples.

A few flips of the screwdriver to re-attach the cushion to the stool, and I was finished! See the finished product:
(If you’re wondering, those spots you see on the top are there because, well, this couldn’t be in my house for more than 5 minutes without somebody putting their feet up on it!) Nonetheless, I love the finished product, and am now planning re-covers of our futon and barstools to match!

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