How do I upholster a stool?

Reupholstering a stool is an easy way to make it look like new. Relatively straightforward to disassemble and requiring only a small amount of fabric, stools of all kinds are ideal candidates for inexpensive reupholstery projects.

Remove the Seat

Examine the stool to see how it's constructed. A good way to do this is to take it to a counter or table at a convenient height and turn it upside down. There will be bolts with nuts or fly nuts (or screws) holding the upholstered seat onto the frame. A homemade or old stool may have nails. Remove the hardware and take the seat off. If there are upholstery tacks, remove those also, and pull the upholstery off the seat. Check the condition of the cushioning underneath. You may want to replace or upgrade the cushion before putting on the new upholstery.

Select Material

Most stools require less than a yard of fabric, including the area that gets tucked under the seat. Measure the old upholstery. You can use it as a guide for the amount of fabric to buy. Purchase upholstery fabric, or choose a remnant (fabric from the end of a bolt of yardage sold at a discount) for upholstering the stool. Choose fabric designed for upholstery, as many other fabrics won't stand up to much wear. Consider colours to coordinate with the room. If you have a sofa or easy chair near the stool, consider purchasing extra fabric and a pillow form to make throw pillows to match the new stool upholstery.

Cover the Seat

For best results, use newspaper to make a pattern of the old upholstery. Newspaper (or any large paper you have) is clean and easy to pin. Pin the pattern to the new material, and cut along the pattern. Center the seat on the fabric, and pull the fabric up evenly around the seat. Tack the fabric in four places, so it will stay in place as you work your way around. Fold and gather the fabric around the seat. Tack the fabric all the way around. If the fabric is thick and the folds bunch too much, make some pie slice--shaped cuts to reduce the amount of fabric, then overlap the edges of the cuts, and tack. Put the seat back on the frame and replace the hardware. Use new screws or nails for best results. It's fine to reuse bolts as long as they're straight and free of corrosion. Put the stool right side up.

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