How To Make a (99% Recycled) Gingham Upholstered Stool

How To Make a (99% Recycled) Gingham Upholstered Stool

Jul 2, 2010

Gingham pleads innocent until you turn it on it's side, or should I say, on the bias? Once the traditional check pattern is tilted, it's more more grown up and ready to move out of the kids' room. Next, add a set of painted chrome hourglass legs, and this little footstool is ready for its debut. An added bonus is that this little all american tuffet was made using 99% recycled materials. The red and white gingham was a fabric remnant, the base and legs came from an old end table, and the foam was a second from a local furniture store.

What You Need


  • thrifted table to take apart
  • Liquid Sandpaper (deglosser)
  • clean rag
  • spray primer
  • metallic spray paint (I used Valspar Brilliant Metal-Silver from Lowes)
  • 3 to 5 inch piece of foam
  • spray adhesive
  • polyester dacron or cotton batting
  • covered button kit
  • 3/4 yard gingham upholstery fabric
  • 1/2 yard of scrap fabric to cover the bottom
  • twine


  • screwdriver
  • scissors
  • staple gun
  • electric knife or hacksaw
  • drill and 1/2" drill bit
  • long tufting needle (available at most big fabric stores)
  • ruler
  • marker


    1. Take apart a thrifted table for a stool base and legs.
    2. Remove glossy finish on the dividers with Liquid Sandpaper or deglosser.
    3. Place the base piece on the foam and trace around it, cut out the foam with an electric knife or a hacksaw.
    4. Use spray adhesive to glue the foam to the base.
    5. Cut out a piece of batting and cover the foam, pull it evenly all the way around and staple it on the edges.
    6. Cut a piece of gingham upholstery fabric so it will cover the stool diagonally.
    7. Place the fabric over the dacron covered foam, pulling firmly and stapling evenly all around. Fold and staple the corners with a tight hospital sheet corner.
    NOTE: Make sure the fabric doesn't cover the holes for the legs
    8. On the bottom of the stool, measure for, mark and drill four evenly spaced holes.
    9. Make four covered buttons, attach twine to the back of each button.
    10. Push tufting needle up through the hole in the base until it pops through the fabric, thread the the twine through the eye of the needle and pull the needle back down through the stool. Pull the button down tightly and staple it firmly on the bottom of the stool.
    11. Repeat for the other three buttons.
    12. Use a piece of scrap fabric to staple to the bottom as a dustcover.
    13. Attach shiny chrome painted legs.

    Additional Notes: Stools are an easy beginning upholstery project for a child's room or any room in the house. There are so many salvageable materials you can find to use for bases and legs. Don't be afraid to give it a try.

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