How to Upholster Bar Stools

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Turn a basic wooden stool into a stylish padded seat with foam and printed fabric. The only tool you need is a basic staple gun, and the whole project takes under an hour to complete, making this DIY one of the easiest ways to add style to any room.

Re-vamp a wooden stool.
Re-vamp a wooden stool. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Things You'll Need

  • Wood stool
  • Ruler
  • 200 grit sand paper
  • Painter's tape
  • Plastic wrap
  • Spray paint
  • Hot glue gun
  • 2-inch foam
  • Batting
  • Fabric
  • Staple gun
Things you will need.
Things you will need. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Tip

  • If the stool is made of metal, use a hot glue gun to attach the fabric instead of a staple gun.

Step 1: Mark the Stool

Draw a line with pencil at the point to be painted. Use a ruler to measure up from the bottom of each leg to get an even height around the stool. If the legs are not straight, use the rungs as a reference point to mark a line parallel to the ground.

Measure and mark location.
Measure and mark location. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 2: Tape Off the Stool

Use painters tape to mask off the area that won't be painted. Place the tape carefully around each side, making sure the edge of the tape is parallel to the ground. Add plastic wrap to the legs and rungs to avoid any splatter from the spray paint.

Tape off at paint line.
Tape off at paint line. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 3: Prepare the Wood

Use a piece of sand paper to roughen the wood that will be painted. This will help the paint adhere to the surface.

Sand the wood to be painted.
Sand the wood to be painted. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 4: Paint the Stool

Hold the can of spray paint approximately 10 inches from the stool and spray a light layer to the surface. Allow the first layer to dry before adding another layer of paint. Continue this process until the paint completely covers the wood.

Spray paint the stool.
Spray paint the stool. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Tip

  • Spraying light and even layers as opposed to heavy layers will prevent paint splatter.

Step 5: Trace the Stool

Place the stool upside down on a piece of foam. Trace around the stool to mark the cushion seat.

Mark the foam pad.
Mark the foam pad. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 6: Cut Out the Cushion

Cut along the line and pull the extra foam away from the seat at each cut. It is okay if the edges of the foam are rough.

Cut out the foam.
Cut out the foam. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 7: Glue the Foam Seat

Place hot glue on the bottom of the foam cushion and attach it to the stool. Hold it down firmly until the foam is secure.

Glue the foam to the stool.
Glue the foam to the stool. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 8: Add a Layer of Batting

Turn the stool upside down and wrap one or two layers of batting around the stool. Use a staple gun to attach one point of the batting to the underside edge of the seat, securing it to the stool.

Wrap and staple a batting layer.
Wrap and staple a batting layer. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 9: Staple the Batting Layer

Pull the batting taught around the stool and add another staple directly across from the first staple. Continue to wrap and staple the batting tightly around the stool until you have four equally spaced staples. If the seat of the stool is square, place one staple on each side of the stool.

Staple the batting in a square shape.
Staple the batting in a square shape. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 10: Staple Around the Stool

Continue to attach the batting until it is fully secured to the stool.

Staple at halfway points.
Staple at halfway points. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Tip

  • Be sure to pull the batting tight and place staples close to the edge of the seat.

Step 11: Trim the Batting

Cut off the excess batting close to the staple line.

Staple and trim the batting.
Staple and trim the batting. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 12: Add a Liner

Place a piece of plain liner fabric on top of the batting layer. Staple it just past the row of staples that secure the batting layer.

Attach a layer of liner fabric.
Attach a layer of liner fabric. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 13: Staple the Liner Layer

Continue to staple the fabric to the stool. Pull the fabric tightly and evenly around the batting as each staple is secured.

Staple liner fabric to the stool.
Staple liner fabric to the stool. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 14: Add the Fabric

Place the final fabric on top of the seat. Turn the stool upside down and staple it just past the last row of staples.

Tip

  • If the fabric has a pattern, turn the stool right side up and align the pattern with the seat before stapling it.

Attach the fabric seat cover.
Attach the fabric seat cover. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 15: Pull Tight and Staple

Pull the fabric tight at each new staple and continue around the stool until the fabric is entirely secured.

Pull tightly at halfway point.
Pull tightly at halfway point. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

Step 16: Trim Excess Fabric

Trim off the excess fabric close to the staples. Use pinking shears or a hot glue gun to keep the edges of the fabric from fraying.

Trim extra fabric.
Trim extra fabric. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)

The Finished Product

Turn the stool right side up and enjoy the new padded seat.

Turn the stool right side up and enjoy.
Turn the stool right side up and enjoy. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)
A stylish addition to any bar table or work bench.
A stylish addition to any bar table or work bench. (Image: Sarah Hamilton)
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