Woven fibre-rush foot stools and chairs look rustic and attractive and can last a long time. Whether you are replacing the busted top of your favourite foot stool or creating a covering for a brand new foot stool, weaving with fibre rush is a simple process based on a basic figure eight pattern, which results in a complex-looking covering. Fibre rush can be easily dyed to various colours to match your existing decor or left its natural brown colour.
Cut the fibre rush into short coils approximately 9 m (30 feet) in length to make it easier to weave.
Fill the bucket with water. Take the first rush coil and soak it in the water for 10 to 20 seconds to make it more pliable.
Place the foot stool frame in front of you. If the foot stool frame is rectangular, position it so the two longer sides are facing you.
Attach the beginning of the rush coil to the inside of the left rail of the foot stool frame with an upholstery tack and the hammer. The attachment point should be as close to the front rail as possible.
Pull the rush forward towards you and over the front rail. Bring it under the front rail and around to under the left rail, passing on the inside of the foot stool leg.
Bring the rush up on the outside of the left rail and pull it over the left rail. Run the rush horizontally to and over the right rail.
Pass the rush under the right rail and bring it to the front, passing under the front rail on the inside of the foot stool leg.
Bring the rush up on the outside of the front rail. Pass it over the front rail and run it vertically to and over the back rail.
Pass the rush under the back rail and to the right, passing under the right rail on the inside of the foot stool leg.
Bring the rush up on the outside of the right rail. Run it over the right rail, then horizontally to and over the left rail. Keep the rush tight as you weave.
Pass the rush under the left rail, then pass it under the back rail, keeping it on the inside of the foot stool leg.
Bring the rush up and over the back rail, then run it vertically down to and over the front rail.
Repeat the looping process, keeping the loops tight together, until you are close to the end of the coil of rush. Take another coil and soak it briefly in water for 10 to 20 seconds, then attach it to the first coil with a square knot. If at all possible, do this in such a way as to position the knot under the foot stool rather than on top.
Trim off excess and continue looping, adding new coils as necessary, until at least two of the rails are fully covered with rush. If your foot stool is square, all four of the rails should be covered with rush. If your foot stool is rectangular, push the loose end of the rush up through the centre of the covering. Bring the rush to and over the front rail, then pass it underneath and bring it up through the centre of the covering. Bring the rush to and over the back rail, then pass it underneath and bring it up through the centre of the covering. Repeat this process until the front and back rails are also fully covered with rush.
Tack the end of the rush underneath the front or back seat rail using an upholstery tack. Trim off excess.
Straighten the rows of rush and make them as even as possible.
- If you are starting from a foot stool frame with a ruined rush covering, remove the old rush by cutting it off carefully with a utility knife and removing any tacks with a tack remover.
- Protect the foot stool by finishing it with a few coats of shellac. Reapply the finish every two or three years.