Refurbishing a Vintage Stool

A Garage Sale Vintage Stool gets some Love

What’s your plan when you go to garage sales?  Do you go looking or something specific or enjoy the prices, coffee in hand, and browse to see what’s available?  When I go to garage sales I guess I do a little of both, right now I am hunting for vintage stools, milk glass, vintage fire king or pyrex.   So far this Spring I have found two vintage stools, this is the first one I am fixing up for the craft room.

A vintage metal stool in need of repair. How to fix a vintage stool, repairing a vintage stool, upcycled furniture, furniture for cheap, craft room makeover projects

 

It looked to be in pretty good shape,  it has some vinyl missing from the top corner, and an icky sticky layer of something all over it.  Years and years in a smoke-filled kitchen maybe.  I don’t know, but the little stool is so cute I swooped it up.

The first thing I did was remove the seat pads,  and the little rubber tips on the bottom.  Then everything got a good scrubbing with a scrubbing pad, Dawn, and a little bleach.   My first idea was to glam this stool up in pinks and golds but the chrome is good in its original condition so I had to rethink my plans.

Supplies

Besides the little stool, you will need:

A chair pad,  I used this  Ikea Chair Pad    

Two square feet of coordinating material

1/2 meter (yard) cotton batting

A drill, a screwdriver.

Scissors, a stitch ripper, and a needle and thread.

The first thing Hubs said when he saw the little stool was that sucker needs some cushioning.  So while we were at Ikea we bought the little chair pad.

An original and a cushy new seat for a vintage stool. How to fix a vintage stool, repairing a vintage stool, upcycled furniture, furniture for cheap, craft room makeover projects

Its really cushiony my son teases me that it looks like a donut, but I like it.  It’s a little bit larger than the original one but pretty close in size.  The first plan was to place the cushion on top of the wood from the original cushion, but then I thought why waste that cut polka dot material?   I decided to use it instead.

Dismantling the Vintage Stool

There was enough yucky stuff on the original seat that I chose to take it apart,  and toss away everything but the original wood bottom.

The damaged portion of a vintage stool. How to fix a vintage stool, repairing a vintage stool, upcycled furniture, furniture for cheap, craft room makeover projects

 

I was really surprised to see that the vinyl was a replacement.  The stool had maybe a hundred staples that needed to be removed in order to get to wood in the original seat.  I threw everything else out.

Welded metal on a vintage stool. How to fix a vintage stool, repairing a vintage stool, upcycled furniture, furniture for cheap, craft room makeover projects

 

It’s a Nortex stool from the 1950s.  In addition, you could see some spot welds on the frame, which let me know it was made with good metal.

Creating the Seat

Instead of attaching the cushion to the wood seat, I thought why not stuff the wood into the IKEA cushion, I liked the little polka dotted fabric, so that’s what I did.

To insert the wooden seat into the  IKEA cushion you will need to open the cushion up.  Using a stitch ripper remove the stitches at the back of the cushion.  You will take out about ten inches of the seam.

The center of the cushion is tufted, and you need to remove it before inserting the wood.  Feel inside the cushion with your hand, and cut the central tucking stitch with the stitch ripper or small scissors. Set aside.

In order to be able to restitch the tuck in the middle of the cushion drill a hole in the center of your wood seat bottom.

Once you have the hole drilled, insert the wood into the bottom of the cushion with the stuffing on top.

The stuffing inside a vintage stool cushion. How to fix a vintage stool, repairing a vintage stool, upcycled furniture, furniture for cheap, craft room makeover projects

 

The underside of the wood has four predrilled holes from the original screws to the frame and the one new hole in the center for the tucking.     Locate and mark the holes for reference.

Showing how to find the drill marks in a vintage stool repair.

 

I used pins to mark where the holes were.

Placing markers for reattaching a seat to the frame of a vintage stool.

Making the Center Tuck

Fold your thread so that you have four strings of thread in your needle, this way the thread won’t break when pulling the tuck tight.

Starting from the bottom with a needle and thread sew up through the bottom material and the wood.  If your needle is long enough to pierce through all the layers that’s great.  If not, sew with one hand inside the cushion.  Sew from the outside into the middle of the cushion and then use the hand inside the cushion to work the stitch through to the other side.  Repeat this three times, working through the hole in the wood.  Once done, tie a knot on the bottom of the cushion and cut the thread.

Closing the Seat Cushion

Sew your cushion closed except for five inches or so in case you need to relocate the drill holes.

Using the pin marks line up the cushion with the frame and reattach.

Aligning the marker of a seat to the frame of a vintage stool.

 

Remove the pins, flatten the stuffing if needed and sew the cushion closed.

A new seat on a vintage stool makeover project. How to fix a vintage stool, repairing a vintage stool, upcycled furniture, furniture for cheap, craft room makeover projects

 

Covering the Stool Back

The back of the chair wasn’t nearly as dirty as the seat portion so I washed it off really well and left it intact.

How to draw the pattern for an old vintage stool refurbish.

Using the chair back as a pattern trace around the chair back with a pencil.  With the good sides together, cut the fabric a 1/2 wider all around to make room for seam allowances.  Sew the outside edge of the fabric all the way around with a zig zag stitch or serger to seal the seams.

Placing good sides together, sew along the pencil mark on two sides. Leave the over two sides open.

Fold your cotton batting into four layers.  Using the chair back as a pattern,  outline and then cut out your batting.  Sew along the pencil outline.

The layers of the back portion of a vintage stool

Insert the chair back and the cotton batting filling inside the fabric cover.  Fold the open seams together and sew by hand with small stitches.

Attach the back to the frame, as there is no stuffing on the back you can feel the screw marks in the original stool back.  Line the marks up with the screw holes on the frame and attach.

A refinished vintage stool for a craft room. How to fix a vintage stool, repairing a vintage stool, upcycled furniture, furniture for cheap, craft room makeover projects

 

This new stool is going in the craft room with another stool, pictured below.  There is still one more vintage stool to refinish that I just found and I can’t wait to redo it.

Two different vintage stools that have been refurbished for a craft room. How to fix a vintage stool, repairing a vintage stool, upcycled furniture, furniture for cheap, craft room makeover projects

 

I set these little stools up together as the basement was too dark for photos, but you can see they are coordinated.  I love how the leftover fabric from the craft room coordinates with the little Ikea cushion.

 

 

 

Before and After of a Vintage Stool Makeover

10 thoughts on “Refurbishing a Vintage Stool

  1. So smart using a ready made cushion for the seat! I love the coordinating fabric choices for the seat and back. We had the exact same backless stool growing up. Pinned 🙂

    1. Those stools were so handy. They don’t take up much room so they are perfect for the craft room table downstairs.
      Thank you for commenting.

  2. I love this makeover, Leanna! The stool looks fantastic. I have a vintage stool like yours (without the back) that I’ve been looking to refurbish for a while now and your step-by-step really helps!

    1. Thank you Jelica, I am glad you like it. The newer version is much softer, as children, I guess we weren’t as fussy as we are now.

    1. Thank you Beverly. Those stools were so handy when I was little. I loved mine. It’s nice to have them here for grandchildren.

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