How to Make a Bar Stool out of a Wine Barrel


For rustic seating, a wine barrel can double as a bar stool, with practically no modification. For a slightly more attractive or comfortable stool, you can make a few design tweaks with relatively little effort and basic materials. If your project requires use of saws, power sanders or any other power tools, follow all applicable safety guidelines, such as wearing safety goggles, to avoid personal injury.

Things You'll Need

  • Wine barrel
  • Measuring Tape
  • Chalk
  • Fabric
  • 6 to 10 straight pins
  • Fabric scissors
  • Batting
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Sandpaper or Power Sander
  • Paint or varnish

Making a Cushion

  • Measure across the top of the wine barrel to determine its diameter. Take several measurements at various angles across the top to check whether you have a perfectly circular barrel, or whether it is slightly oval-shaped.

  • Lay out two layers of fabric on a smooth and clean surface, patterned sides facing inward. Use chalk to trace a circle to fit the top of the wine barrel. Draw another circle about one inch outside the first one. Pin the two pieces of fabric together just inside the traced circle so they are flush, without any wrinkles or gathers. Draw a third circle around the second one, approximately 1/2 inch further outside the smaller circle. Avoid confusion by using a dashed line to draw the outermost circle.

  • Sew the two pieces of fabric together, stitching along the middle circle. Use thread that complements the color of the fabric you are using. Use a sewing machine for a stronger cushion. Make small, regular stitches if you sew by hand. Leave a three-inch section of the circle open. Cut along the outermost circle.

  • Turn the fabric circle inside out, pulling the material through the three-inch gap. Fill the cushion with batting until it is slightly firm to the touch. Stitch together the gap, sewing by hand. Use very small stitches.

Smoothing the Barrel

  • Wipe off the top of the barrel with a damp cloth, removing any grime or dirt. Remove any nails, staples or other rough elements that protrude from the top or the sides of the barrel.

  • Use sandpaper or a power sander to smooth any rough edges along the top of the barrel, especially along the lip. Begin with the roughest grit sand paper and finish with a finer grit. Use medium-grit sandpaper to smooth the sides of the barrel, especially if you plan to sit on it with bare legs. Polish the entire barrel with moistened fine-grit sandpaper.

  • Paint or varnish the entire barrel for a uniform look. Add enough layers so that newly sanded areas do not stand out.

Tips & Warnings

  • Paint decorative stripes or accents on the sides of the barrel to help it blend in with your decor. For a softer look, paint the entire barrel in a pale off-white or pastel color. For a minimalist effect, paint it with matte black paint.

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