Before & After: Rope Wrapped Bar Stools

I bought these bar stools at Target about ten years ago, when my husband and I were renting an apartment with a little breakfast counter. Since then, I've used them in my studio, where they've gotten beat up and paint splashed. I moved out of my studio but I'm still not quite ready to part with the stools so I decided to give them new life…

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It was immediately evident when I brought the stools into our little apartment that I would need to cut them down. At this point, I have no need for bar stools — but I do have a need for little tables/foot stools. Knowing this, my first task was to cut the bar stools down. First, I removed the foot rests from the stools.

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Then, using a miter box and saw, I cut the legs down. I know what you're thinking, how did I possibly get each leg at the exact same length? Well, let me tell you: I didn't. But, really, the legs on these cheapy Target bar stools have never been even — they have always wobbled. All of the legs are close enough to being even that a little felt on the bottoms should even them out.

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I rather like the shape of the newly shortened stools and they'll be perfect beside a chair as a tables or little foot stools. I am not crazy about the finish on the chairs &mash; neither the blonde wood nor the splotches of old paint. Inspired by a number of posts I've seen on this very site, I decided to wrap the stools in rope.

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So you might be wondering why the stool that I'm wrapping in rope in the above photo is black. Is that some sort of primer or glue to help the rope stick? Nope, that is simply black spray paint, one of three other treatments I gave to the stools before I decided to wrap them in rope. The first time, I painted the stools white — hated that. Then, thinking it was just the color I didn't like, I painted the stools black. Um, yeah, awful. Then, realizing that I wanted some texture, I decided to use kraft paper and polyurethane to make a faux leather treatment on the stools. FAIL! And so I finally decided to wrap the stools in rope.

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It actually didn't take as long (or as many glue sticks) as I expected to wrap both stools in rope. Each stool required about 3 1/2 rolls of 50 foot long sisal rope — I didn't keep track of how many glue sticks I used. (I also didn't keep track of how many times I burned myself on the hot glue. Oof! When will I learn? to keep my fingers out of it?) My method for gluing the rope to the legs was to spread a little hot glue on the front and back of the legs and wrap the rope around, starting from the bottom of the leg and working my way up to where the leg meets the seat.

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After wrapping all the legs, I started on the tops. It took three rows of rope on the rim of the seat and then from there I just wrapped the wrap around and around and around the top of the seat. First I would go around with a swirl of hot glue, then I would go round and round with the rope.

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Attaching the rope to the tops of the stools was the easiest and funnest part of the whole process. And I think the affect is wonderfully tactile, which adds a lot of interest to these simple little stools.

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I was initially worried that I would need to use some additional glue or maybe even polyurethane to keep the rope securely attached to the stools. However, the hot glue seems to have done the trick all on its own. Once the glue dried, the rope is very secure.

Images: Jason Loper

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