Home Sweet Solutions

DIY Folding Stools

Here''s a project for the whole family: Build these DIY stools and get your kids to decorate them in...


What It Costs:
$28, plus paint for the two stools

What You’ll Need:

  • Folding Stools Project Diagram and Cutting List (see this list for lumber)
  • Blue Hawk 4 x 5 feet of 8-ounce canvas drop cloth
  • Valspar exterior latex primer
  • Valspar ultra premium satin exterior latex paint, white
  • Circular saw, jigsaw or miter saw
  • Random orbit sander and 120-grit sandpaper
  • Drill, countersink and driver bits
  • Cordless drill
  • Sewing machine
  • Tape measure
  • Crafts knife/utility knife
  • Paintbrush
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Strap clamps
  • 3/4-inch spade bit
  • 1/4-inch standard drill bit
  • 1/4-inch x 2-inch carriage bolts
  • 1/4-inch hex lock nuts
  • 1/4-inch flat washers
  • 8-inch x 3/4-inch flathead wood screws


To build the frames:

1. To build a pair of stools, cut eight lengths of 1-inch x 2-inch pine for the legs, and eight lengths of 3/4-inch poplar dowel that you’ll use for the short stool stretchers and the long stool stretchers. (See A, B and C in Cutting List, Drawing 1.) Cut a 45-degree angle on one end of each leg.

2. Lay out the location of the 1/4-inch hole and 3/4-inch holes on half of the legs. Stack a pair of legs on a scrap block with the edges and ends aligned and drill the 1/4-inch hole through both legs.


3. Slip a carriage bolt into the 1/4-inch hole to align the parts and drill the 3/4-inch holes for the dowels. Repeat this for the remaining three pairs of legs.


4. Sand the legs with 120-grit sandpaper and smooth the top corner and the tip of the bottom part of the leg.

5. Assemble, but don’t glue, a pair of legs with a pair of short leg dowels. Drill pilot holes and drive screws through the legs into the dowels to secure the legs. (See Cutting List, Drawing 2.) Repeat for the remaining leg assembly using the long dowels.


6. Slip the leg assembly that has the shorter dowels into the assembly with the longer dowels and secure them together using 1/4-inch bolts, nuts, and washers.

7. Remove the bolts and paint the stool components. Apply primer and two coats of paint in your choice of color. The stools shown are painted white.

To sew the seats and paint:

1. Cut two pieces of canvas to 12.5 inches x 19.75 inches (see Cutting List, Drawing 3) for the seats.

2. Paint a fun pattern on the canvas -- stripes, polka dots, checkers -- and let dry.

3. Make a 1/2-inch fold along the long edges of each panel and press with an iron. Fold the 1/2-inch seam once again and iron. Stitch the seam to reinforce the sides of the canvas.

4. At the short edges, make a 1/2-inch fold on each end. Then fold the fabric again 1.38 inches from the fold.

5. Press the seam flat and stitch the ends. This creates an opening to slip over the dowels on the stools.

6. Reassemble the stools by slipping the canvas over the top dowels of the painted leg assemblies and reinstalling the legs, screw, bolts and hardware.

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