How to reupholster a stool

Learn how to reupholster a stool and upcycle an old t-towel at the same time to create your DIY footstool!

DIY footstool - how to upholster a stool

Give a pre-loved stool a seriously cool makeover when you reupholster it using an old holiday souvenir tea towel.

Novelty tea towels are the ultimate British holiday gift, but did you know that the durable fabric they’re made from is also the perfect material for using in upholstery projects? We’ve all got a kitchen drawer stuffed with these souvenir tea towels at home, so give them a new lease of life when you use them to transform a tatty old stool into a quirky DIY footstool. You can pick up pre-loved stools at reclamation yards, car boot sales and second-hand shops. If you can remove the seat from your stool then all the better, but if not then you’ll need to staple the tea towel to the edges of the seat, rather than underneath.

Create a unique finish to your DIY footstool with wood paint, a pom-pom trim or stone-effect spray paints!

Check out our other upcycling projects for more inspiration, we love this upcycled corkboard, or how about this teddy made from an old t-shirt? Sea glass is extremely popular at the moment, and it’s easy to see why – all those beautiful colours eroded by water to make smooth translucent pebbles. If you love sea glass as much as we do – check out our round-up of the best sea glass projects.

We love seeing what you make, so don’t forget to share your upcycling or craft projects with us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, too!


You Will Need

  • Stool
  • Tea Towel, large enough to cover the seat of your stool
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Sandpaper
  • Natural beeswax
  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • Fabric glue
  • Ribbon or trim

Total time:

Step 1

How to upholster a stool?

First – if you can remove the seat from your stool, then do so. Lightly sand the wooden legs and base of the stool using sandpaper, then wipe the stool clean. If you’re using different grades of sandpaper, work from coarse to fine-grained sandpaper, to create as smooth a finish as possible.

Step 2

Lay the tea towel, picture side up, over the seat and sides of the footstool. Use a staple gun to attach the fabric to the underside of the seat, directly in the middle of one side of the stool. This is your starting point, now pull the fabric tightly across the stool, flattening out any creases as you go, then staple in position on the exact opposite side of the stool.

Step 3

Turn the stool upside down and, pulling the fabric tightly as you go, work your way around the sides, stapling the fabric in place every 2-3cm (1in). When you reach the corners you might find that you need to manipulate the fabric into a ‘hospital corner’ to ensure a neat fold at the edges. Tea towel fabric is pretty tough, so don’t be concerned about tugging and pulling it until you are satisfied with its appearance.

Step 4

Use a pair of fabric scissors to trim away any excess fabric and then use a glue gun to neatly stick down any loose ends on the underside of the stool.

Step 5

Cut a length of ribbon or trim that is long enough to go around the perimeter of the stool with a 5cm (2in) overlap. Following the instructions on the tube of the fabric glue, secure the ribbon in place so that it lines the bottom edge of your DIY footstool, covering any staples.

Step 6

Treat the legs and wooden base of the stool with clear beeswax for a professional-looking finish, then leave to dry and admire your DIY footstool!

DIY footstool - how to upholster a stool

More stool upholstery projects!

Looking for more instructions on how to reupholster a stool? Check out these fantastic tutorials:

1. Threadbare Cloak

How-to-Reupholster-a-Stool-by Threadbare Cloak

Alana over at Threadbare Cloak has put together this brilliant tutorial on how to reupholster a stool the easy way! The instructions are clear and easy to follow – and there are photos for each step in the tutorial. And the stool is stunning, too!

2. Alice & Lois

How to reupholster a stool - by Alice and Lois

We love this DIY footstool – it would look great in an old cottage or a contemporary flat, it’s so versatile! Get the full tutorial and step-by-step instructions from Sara and Melissa over on their blog, Alice & Lois.

3. Just the Woods

DIY footstool - how to upholster a stool

Kandice over at Just the Woods has put together an incredibly in-depth tutorial on how to reupholster a stool – and shares her wealth of tips and tricks for getting the perfect finish.