For what seems like forever now, our old Ektorp footstool had been driving me nuts. It lasted almost ten years, but had recently been broken in the middle and the top kept falling off as the feet keeping it on had broken off too. I found myself swearing at it almost on a daily basis, so I decided one day when I was ill that I was going to do something about it. Now, making a DIY footstool might not seem like everyone’s idea of a sick-day activity, but it required very little in the way of hard thinking, and meant I wasn’t sitting around doing nothing (I wasn’t quite ill enough just to veg!), so it seemed like a good use of my otherwise wasted day. And it turned out to be a very easy DIY indeed.
When we ripped the wardrobes out of the spare bedroom, I kept the solid wood doors because I figured they were bound to come in handy in some DIY at a later date. I also had a set of wooden bun feet squirrelled away from an old wardrobe that broke when we were moving house. I decided that the wardrobe door would make an ideal base for a new footstool. I wanted to reuse the foam padding from the old Ektorp ottoman, so I measured and realised that cut in half, it would be an absolutely perfect fit when placed side by side on the base, with only a couple of inches of extra wood.
Toto was kind of annoyed that I was cutting up her favourite perching place.
I measured the door to size, cut it down, and cut off some extra trim, and then glued the feet onto the bottom. Once the glue was dry, each foot was also screwed on to make it super strong.
The padding was also glued on to the top of the seat, with an extra layer of fabric lining glued to the join to keep it together, acting like a kind of brace. The batting from the old stool also fit over the new one, so I re-used that too, using my upholstery gun to staple it firmly to the base all the way around.
Then came the bit I hadn’t quite figured out. I needed some nice fabric to cover my new stool, and I would need a sewing machine to fix it to size. This is where my day of DIY came unstuck and I resorted to putting on some terrible day time TV, and making a cup of tea and curling up with the dogs, because I wasn’t quite up to a trip to the shops at that point.
Next morning I was feeling rather better, so I headed off to Argos to treat myself to an early birthday present – a Brother LS14 sewing machine for £75. I have wanted a sewing machine for years now, and now that we have a house which I can make things like curtains etc for, it seemed like a perfectly justifiable purchase. It has so far been fantastic – a great little machine for very little money, and I have even made a few dresses with it! I shall get around to telling you about those some other time though.
Sewing machine at the ready, I needed some fabric. I found the Holmfirth Fabric Mill shop online and decided to pay them a visit since they were only a couple of villages away. It has been a dangerous discovery – an entire old mill filled with beautiful fabrics of all types, at really decent prices.
I was in there quite a long time, eventually deciding on this beautiful Harlequin fabric. I originally wanted a more classic wool tartan or tweed or something a bit more cottage-y, but this fabric was just too lovely not to buy.
I am so pleased I did, I think it works really well on the shape of the stool, and one day when we’ve decorated the living room I am sure it will complement it very well. (Please ignore the hideous dirty carpet etc etc – we are putting off renovations in here until we can remove the staircase, so we are living with things as they are for now).
The sewing part was really simple – I measured the fabric so one large section would wrap around the width of the stool, ending along the top edge at either end. Then I cut two pieces to fit the end, and sewed them in at either end, up one side, along the top, and down the other, all whilst inside out. When I turned it in the right way, it fitted neatly over the top. I then pulled the fabric taught and stapled it neatly underneath into the wood. Then finally I trimmed the fabric to a centimetre away from the staples to tidy up the underneath.
Billy is absolutely over the moon with the new footstool. He thinks I designed it especially for him because he was too long to fit nicely on the old one, whereas he can stretch right out on this. I am pleased too, because the footstools I had been looking at online were in the £200 region, and all I spent on this was £23 on the fabric (let’s forget the sewing machine!) and it took me a few hours to put together, mainly using up things we already had in the house. Very satisfying! Having said that, even without the materials I had to hand, I think that you could make a similar footstool for under £40 – you can buy bun feet on eBay or in a hardware store, and you could use an inexpensive bit of MDF for the base. Foam is relatively inexpensive too, and you can buy it cut to the size you need online.
What do you think of my easy DIY footstool? Would you be tempted to try DIY-ing something like this?