I needed a small footstool for my camper! I really like putting my feet up, especially when seating is too high for my feet to touch the floor. This small footstool makeover perfectly fits the bill for me and for this month’s Thrift Store Décor Makeover!
I can’t even remember where I picked up this small footstool. The upholstered top was very dated, and I knew that I would probably paint it. But it wasn’t until last week that I knew I would be keeping this little gem for the camper. I got it out of the woodshed and tested it out in the camper and I knew it would work perfectly. While on a recent trip to Nashville I realized that I needed a little something to put my feet on while I work on the laptop. Many stools and ottomans are too tall for feet—but great for lounging with your legs up. But that isn’t what I needed. I needed a small footstool like this just for my feet-to bring my knees up a little. Does that make sense?
It was cheap enough!
Because it’s been so hot here, I’ve resorted to working in the basement shop. I apologize for the poor lighting and less than pretty background.
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Remove top from footstool
I used a screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the upholstered top onto the small stool.
Detach old Upholstery
The upholstery on this stool was attached with short upholstery tacks. I used my small pry bar and a hammer to pry the tacks out of the wood, working my way all around the stool.
Inspect Old Batting
The “batting” in this project was a ratty tatty old (and stained) quilt. Many times I try to reuse materials, but there was no way I was going to repurpose this nasty old batting on the new footstool.
Determine if original top can be reused
Although the old top had been repaired, I found it suitable to reuse for the newly improved step stool.
Sand shiny varnish finish on footstool
This small footstool had a very shiny finish. I chose to use a 180 grit sanding sponge to remove the shine to help the paint adhere better. I also used the sanding sponge to help remove the sticky residue from the price label and scotch tape.
Pry off metal leg glides
My preferred leg glide is a felt round. To protect my camper flooring, I chose to pry off the original metal leg glides. This is a personal preference. You can easily skip this step if you’re okay with the metal glides on your footstool.
Paint small footstool with chip brush
Remember when I said it was too hot to work outside? This painting job was a huge chore. I probably did four coats of paint on most of this stool.Generally I love using cheap chip brushes, but I chose a bad brush and it was not covering well. After the first 2 coats, I switched it out for a better paint brush. If the weather had been nicer, I would definitely have preferred using my Homeright Super Finish Max Extra for this small footstool project.
Prepare Upholstery Drop Cloth Fabric
Drop cloth fabric is very durable and perfect for upholstering footstools. It does come out of the dryer very wrinkled. This is a step you might be tempted to skip, but drag out that iron and ironing board and press the drop cloth fabric to smooth it out.
Add batting for new upholstery
Cotton batting was trimmed to fit the top of the stool. It was folded to the perfect size already, using many layers that barely hang over the edge of the board.
Trim drop cloth fabric to fit small footstool
The drop cloth fabric was trimmed to fit leaving a couple of inches all around. The staple gun makes upholstery go faster than using tacks.
Staple drop cloth in place
I like to get a few staples in place on all sides, then work my way around filling in with more staples. The corners are done last—stapling the fabric in place—then trimming away the extra fabric on the other side of the staples.
The end result of all the tugging and stapling.
Dry fit the top onto the small footstool
Oops! How did I not notice that the original top didn’t fit all the way to the edges. I actually had to look at my before pictures to confirm this! Luckily this was just a dry fit and I was able to get the paint back out and fix this problem.
Try out the ottoman (small footstool) in the space
So…. I took it out to the camper to see what I thought. It really is the perfect size. BUT! I think it needs a little something!
In all honesty, I intended on using this t-shirt all along. But I wasn’t sure it was going to work. My friend Leann and her husband Frankie gave this to me, but oh my-it’s way too small! Because the t-shirt fabric is thin and very soft, I knew I would have to put a piece of fabric on first. So, worst case scenario I would end up with the drop cloth fabric.
Test fit t-shirt cover for small footstool
To test fit the t-shirt on the ottoman top I used painter’s tape to secure it while I did the test fit. After placing the t-shirt onto the top of the ottoman/stool, I decided that it would look better if it were glazed. I really tried to NOT glaze this project because of the off white paint in the interior of the camper.
Add smoked glaze to white painted stool
It’s just such a great compliment to the white-ish paint! I love this smoked glaze so much. It’s different with every paint I use. This paint was fairly glossy, so the glaze tried to lay on top of it. That gave the glaze a lighter touch/look on the ottoman.
See more great glazing ideas in my post How To Glaze Repurposed Furniture
While the glaze was still a little wet, I used the chip brush to sort of stipple the glaze to remove brush strokes. That’s really helpful were wood joints meet.
Attach Happy Camper T-shirt to ottoman upholstery
Apparently I was so busy putting the Happy Camper t-shirt onto the upholstered footstool that I forgot to take pictures. I started at the collar and did a few staples, then worked at cutting the extra fabric away. Saving the corners for last, especially where the sleeves were—I stapled and then cut away the excess fabric.
Attach the ottoman base to the upholstered top
I reattached the small footstool base to the top with the original screws, lining them up with the original holes.
The felt furniture pads come in many sizes, I chose the smallest circle pads for the legs on this small stool.
How do you feel about the top not fitting all the way to the corners of the stool? Is this normal? Would you have noticed it if I hadn’t pointed it out?
You can see other footstool makeovers here.