Hawaiian print upholstered stool

The Stool Series: Kalea – the bright and summery one.

The Stool Series…”what an ominous title”, you might think. Rest assured, it is stools of the furniture variety that I’d like to share with you.

Kalea, so named for her Hawaiian feel, is the first in a collection of pre-loved stools to have been given a new lease of life. She started out as a simple, pine stool, but after a re-spray and the addition of a plush, upholstered seat she’s now ready to take pride of place in her new home.

I imagine Kalea providing a pop of colour in a light and airy conservatory. She’s also small enough to sit in the corner of a kitchen or lounge waiting for guests to pop by and extra seating to be needed.

Without further ado, here’s Kalea’s journey from old, tired and unloved to the beauty she is today.

Before and After

Kalea was in good shape when I got her – nice and sturdy, but just a little lacklustre. As with all pieces, the first job was a good sanding.

I like to think that my finished pieces will stand the test of time, so I put in the legwork at the prep stage. For her new paint job, this starts with priming.

Sand back and prime with white primer

For many larger pieces of furnitures a brush or roller can produce a lovely finish, but with all of those curves and skinny bits, I decided to use spray paint to get a perfect couple of coats of lemon yellow paint onto Kalea. I used one can of Plasticote in ‘Daffodil’ . Following two coats of colour, she also has a satin finish, clear acrylic top coat to make her a bit more hardwearing. It also gives her a lovely gleam.

Spray with top coat of paint in chosen colour

To give Kalea the plushy seat she was born to have, I used 1.5″ seating grade foam – also suitable for sofas, dining chairs and the like. Placing the stool upside down on the foam, I marked out a circle using a Sharpie and cut the shape out with a Stanley knife. Then I used spray adhesive to attach the foam to the seat.

Trace around the seat with a Sharpie

Cut out foam with a stanley knife

Foam circle is ready to attach to the stool

Use spray adhesive to glue the foam to the stool

The final steps include adding cotton batting (which is optional, but sends the comfort factor through the roof) and fabric. First, I laid both out under the seat of the stool to determine how much I’d need of each.

Determine size of batting and fabric

Making sure that Kalea has a long and happy life ahead of her in her new home relies, in part, on her resisting the wear and tear of everyday life. I treat all of my fabrics with a fire retardant spray (for the standards nuts among you – yes, I know first hand from a previous job that these people do exist – the spray I use meets standards BS5852 and BS5867). The decorative fabric is also scotchguarded, so without breaking a sweat she can handle sticky fingers and that time you tried to put a piece of cheesecake in your mouth and missed (mmm…cheesecake).

These sprays should be used in well-ventilated areas. I popped my fabrics onto a clothes horse in the middle of my garden before getting my spray on.

Treat with fire retardant spray

When covering a round seat, pleats are always necessary to get a good finish. Rather than introducing pleats haphazardly, I prefer to add them evenly around the stool by working at opposite sides i.e. after pleat 1 is added and the batting stapled to the stool, I pull the batting taut and add pleat 2 on the opposite side (180 degrees) from pleat 1. I continue like this until there are 8 pleats in total.

Pleat the fabric and work on opposite sides of the stool

Staple the batting to the stool

Remove excess batting

You should be left with a neat finish to your batting

Stapling the fabric to the stool I follow the same process as for the batting, introducing 4 box pleats and 4 standard pleats at regular intervals around the stool. This is just a design thing – I do love the look of a crisp box pleat.

Staple decorative fabric to the stool in the same way as the batting

The final step is trimming up the fabric and she’s ready for action.

Trim excess fabric

If you think Kalea might make a lovely addition to your home, she’s currently residing in my Etsy shop.

Here she is in all her glory.

Hawaiian print upholstered stool

Hawaiian print upholstered stool

Hawaiian print upholstered stool


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