Wednesday, 31 August 2011

How to make a footstool

With the weather turning colder the thought of packing up the garden furniture and turning the heating thermostat up a few notches can be depressing but how about if we turn your living room into a cosy little idyll with a jaunty footstool.
Footstools can be really expensive but there is something just so decedent about putting your feet up whilst you sip a cup of earl grey. This month’s project will show you how to make your very own footstool in no time at all and for only a few pounds.

You will need:
Your essential kit

A piece of MDF or fairly thick wood this is to form your footstool base, which will be approximately sixteen inches across (I used an old kitchen cupboard I rescued from a skip)
Four wooden bun feet. Mine came from a broken TV console I found at the local tip but you can buy them from DIY stores and also on ebay for about £4
A drill
A jigsaw
Wood Primer
Black paint and brushes
Foam (I used a cheep mattress topper but you could use the inside of an old settee cushion or buy foam pieces from a craft shop)
Screws and screwdriver
A metre of fabric (this will be used to cover the stool so pick a fabric you really like, maybe use an old table cloth or piece of curtain. Charity shops are great for these)
String and pencil
Craft mount spray
Wood glue
Drawing pins
Heavy duty staple gun
Safety goggles and dust mask
Table clamp
Tape Measure
Begin by priming your wooden feet and your wood. Regular readers of my how to features will know I’m a big fan of priming. It may seem like extra work but when using off cuts of wood or reclaiming things from old furniture it really helps to ensure that your coloured paint takes well and doesn’t flake.
Lashing of primer

Once this has dried tie a piece of string to your pencil, use your drawing pin to secure it to the middle of your piece of wood and use it to draw a perfect circle. Alternatively you can always draw around a large plate or even a plant pot.
Draw a perfect circle

Clamp your piece of wood onto either your workbench or table. Always clamp so the wood is not directly under the bench, otherwise you could end up cutting through the bench as well. It’s really important that your wood is clamped correctly, as you don’t want it to slip. Wear a dust mask when doing this as the dust gets everywhere and use safety goggles in case of flying debris. It may not look cool but it’s really important.
Jigsaw action

Use your jigsaw to cut following the circle shape you have drawn on.
Now you have your wooden circle, which will form your footstool base. Use it as a template to cut your foam. Cut three pieces to the exact size of the base and cut one piece approx one and a half times larger.
Cut out your foam discs

Take your wood base and drill four holes in it where you want the feet to be attached. Remember not to place the feet too near the edge as you will need room to staple your fabric on later
Drill holes in the base

Squirt a dollop of wood glue on the top of each wooden foot. Then screw in the feet onto the base using screws and a screwdriver. The wood glue will ensure the feet are nice and secure and don’t go loose.
Attach the feet

Paint the base and feet in a nice glossy colour so they all match and look like one unit.
Paint the base

Whilst this is drying cut your fabric about three inches larger than your biggest foam disc. This will ensure you have enough material to fold under the base when you go to attach it.

Cut out your fabric

Once your base is dry use spray mount to stick the foam discs onto the top. Do this outside if you can and wear your dust mask. Spray each piece and layer them to create a nice squashy cushion. 
Spray mount your faom onto the base
Attach the largest piece of foam last and then use your stable gun to pleat the foam around the edges-rather like making the crust of a pie. This will cover the filling and create a nice domed shape.

I heart my staple gun

Repeat this technique with your piece of fabric. Cover the whole thing and neatly pleat the edges all the way round, securing underneath with a staple as you go. Remember I chose a round shape but you could easily make this a square. You can cover with fabric, faux leather or even fake fur and for a real antique effect use a button coverer to quilt your stool.
Cover with your fabric

Now its time to put your feet up on your brand new footstool and enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Voila! A footstool made by your own fair hand

Good luck and please please e-mail in photos when you make this or any other of Betty Pampers How to projects you make at home. I would love to see them and remember the next time you see some old junk don’t just tip it, get inspired and upcycle it into something wonderful.

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