IMG_1102IMG_1059_resizeA couple of years ago I found this little stool at a market for a couple of quid. Naturally it started out with an awfully thick varnish in deep mahogany and a plush red velour seat cover with extra padding for good measure. Very industriously, I ripped off all of the tacky tacks (see what I did there?) sanded and painted the thing and even more industriously embroidered green and blue flowers onto an old burlap sack as the new upholstery. It was certainly something of ‘craft’ but not classy craft. More like the kind of homemade household item that people look at with wonder and think to themselves ‘Why?’ Like knitted toilet roll covers or tissue box covers that look like wedding dresses

So it lasted in that overly yarn and floral state until recently, when I ripped that monstrosity off the stool and out of my life. Since then I’ve umed and ahhed about what to do with it next. I had thought of knitting a cable cover for it – something pale grey, a few cables and a couple of staples to hold it all together. It could have worked for a Nordic lodge sort of look. But then, rifling around in my sewing/knitting/junk basket for inspiration I came across an old scrap of hide. That’s right – my craft basket contains all kinds of exciting things!

Anyway, this little treasure (is it deer, is it cow? I just don’t know) came into my life as a small and tired duffle bag I picked up in a vintage warehouse. I had bought it with the intention of making something new and slouchy with it, like a sophisticated clutch or mobile envelope. That never happened. It is however, the exact size of the stool that needs a cover! And you can never go wrong with a bit of soft hide next to white.Here are the bits and bobs I’m using to give this little ‘milking stool’ a much needed make over:

  • Hide (any leather or canvas would work great as well)
  • Felt to use as a thin layer of cushion between the stool and hide
  • White paint to touch up the bits that look a mess
  • Brass tacks – these can be picked up from any hardware store
  • A ruler for making sure the tacks are spaced evenly
  • Pen to mark the tacks into place

I want this little stool to have a well-loved feel to it. Rustic adds character (in most cases). And therefore, the paint job doesn’t have to be perfect in this instance. Nor does the hide. I quite like the added texture this older piece of hide has across its surface.

IMG_1095My first step is to fill in some of the dodgy holes from previous attempts of nailing on a covering. Once dry, this can be sanded down to a refreshingly upgraded look. Paint over the sanded areas to freshen and don’t forget that Buddy Holly must be playing in the background at this stage.
IMG_1101To add the slight thickness to the seat I’ve marked out the felt to be just shy of the seat top so the edges won’t show. When it’s all squared up, we’re ready to add on the deer. Saddle up!
IMG_1098For this step, I need to make sure the tacks are going to be evenly placed to ensure the look is symmetrical and stylish. I’ve started by measuring up. I tend to get overly excited about projects like this and hammer away until I think I’m finished and then realise that I’ve actually done the whole thing sideways or a bit wiggly. This is the case here. Luckily, the little brass tacks are relatively easy to prise out and can be readjusted. I’ve ended up using a brown sharpie marker to mark the tacks’ positioning. This way if the mark ends up being a little noticeable afterwards, it might just look like a little deer freckle). In terms of quantity, here I’ve decided that a ‘less is more’ approach is aesthetically pleasing and modern in feel.
IMG_1102In the end, this method of covering up an old and tired stool has worked wonders. The hide and tacks are industrial, sturdy and could be translated to many small ‘reupholstering’ jobs. Dining room chairs in need of a new seat cover could certainly benefit from this quick and easy make over and I’m keen to try this texture on other furniture as well. Plus it’s always fun to hammer things and add texture – what could be better!

Have you upcycled a stool or chair? Send me your pics and ideas and be sure to follow HLH on @HomeLittleHome

– Meredith x



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