Projects & Improvements

Before & After: An Upholstered Stool Gets Stylish with Hand-Stamped Fabric

published Jul 6, 2014
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(Image credit: Katie)

It might be just a small stool, but this little piece of furniture turned out to be an inspiring project to tackle for Katie, who took her time finding the right new finish and then designing and implementing a fun, hand-stamped pattern for new upholstery!

(Image credit: Katie)
(Image credit: Katie)
(Image credit: Katie)

From Katie:

I got this little upholstered table/footstool/bench at a thrift store for $5. It’s not a spectacular piece, but with its cute little bulbed feet it had the potential to be a lot better once I got rid of the dirty cream vinyl and chipped black paint.

I was hoping that the wood under the paint would be salvageable. Rather than using a chemical paint stripper – the last time I tried it ended with disastrous results – I decided to sand off the black paint. I put on a mask and safety glasses and went to work with an orbital sander. The paint came off reluctantly, smearing a little and leaving charcoal-like streaks. It was evident (and I was grateful) that the table had only been painted once, so there weren’t many layers to remove. Because I was nervous about ruining the little bulbed detail at the bottom of the legs, I sanded that part by hand. About an hour and a half later, much of which was spent trying to get into the crevices where stubborn paint still clung, I had a pretty little red oak table. Rather than stain it, I put on a coat of neutral Restore-a-Finish followed by Howard Feed & Wax to condition the wood.

I’ve been really inspired by the indigo textiles that are so popular right now, and I’ve wondered whether I could make something similar using fabric ink and a stamp. This seemed like a good time to try! For the print, I used a pattern from Lena Corwin’s book ‘Printing by Hand.’ It’s a wonderful book and her instructions are very clear and easy to follow.

I really like how it turned out! The color of blue is pretty close to what I wanted and the natural wood is a big improvement over the old black paint. Best of all, it’s usable and no longer sitting in a heap of other project pieces in the storage room. See more of how she turned this simple stool into a sweet project on Katie’s
blog, including how to make your own stamp so you can make your own custom stamped fabric for projects!

Thank you Katie!