- Ideas & How-Tos
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Add fashion and function to living spaces with easy-make stools and ottomans. Each wears a stylish drop-cloth canvas slipcover you can sew in an evening.
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We'll show how to make a stool, but you can use the same procedures and techniques to make the larger ottoman. For a stool, cut eight slats 16-1/2" long from 1" x 4" boards. From 3/4" plywood, cut a pair of 12-1/2"-square pieces. On one square, draw diagonal lines to find the center. Then measure halfway along each side and draw horizontal and vertical lines to divide the square into eight triangular sections.
Set a beam compass to draw a circle with a 6" radius (12" diameter). Place the steel point of the compass at the intersection of the four lines and draw the circle that becomes the outside dimension of the disks. Reset the compass to 5-1/4" and draw hash marks at the lines. Reset it again to 3-1/4" and make a second set of hash marks where you'll later drill pilot holes.
For an ottoman, set the compass to a 11-7/8" radius to draw a 23-3/4"-diameter circle. Reset the compass to 11-1/8" and draw hash marks at the lines. Reset it again to 9-1/8" and mark a second set of hash marks.
Use a jigsaw with a fine-tooth blade to cut the first disk on the waste side of the outside circle line. Sand the edges smooth down to the line. Then place that disk on the second plywood square and trace a circle. Jigsaw and sand that circle to size.
Stack and tape together the plywood disks with the marked one on top and a piece of scrap underneath. At each hash mark, drill a 7/64" pilot hole through both disks. Remove the top disk and countersink the holes in both disks.
Clamp a slat between the two disks with the ends centered over the pilot holes and the outside edge of the slat flush with the edges of the disks. Extend the pilot holes into the slat. Unclamp the slat, apply glue to the ends, and screw the slat to the disks. You'll likely smear some glue on the undersides of the disks, but their appearance doesn't matter. Just keep enough glue on the slat ends to bond with the plywood. Repeat for the remaining seven slats and let dry.
To cover the slats, cut sheets of signage plastic 18" wide, the height of the wooden frame. Staple the plastic sheets to the edges of the disks and slats.
Measure the circumference of the framework and cut an 18"-wide rectangle of carpet padding to a length that equals the circumference. Wrap and staple the carpet pad around the plastic-wrapped framework.
Set a beam compass to draw a circle the diameter of the plywood disks and carpet padding combined. Draw a circle that diameter on carpet padding and cut out the circle. Then staple the carpet pad circle to the plywood top of the stool.
Lay the washed, dried, and ironed canvas drop cloth flat on a work surface. To make the top of the slipcover, use a compass to draw a circle that matches the diameter of the carpet pad circle (plus 1-1/2" for a seam allowance). Then cut out the circle.
To make the slipcover sides, measure the height of the stool and add 1-1/2" for a 3/4" top and bottom seam allowance. Measure the stool's circumference and add 1-1/2" for a 3/4" seam allowance where you'll sew together the ends. Use a straightedge, and a pencil to draw a rectangle to those dimensions on canvas drop cloth. Cut out the rectangle.
To make decorative fabric bands for the sides of the stool, cut 2"-wide strips of canvas equal to the circumference of the stool plus 1-1/2" for a 3/4" seam allowance at both ends. Fold under and press 1/2" strips on each long edge to reduce the finished band width to 1". Make enough bands to space them evenly along the height of the stool. (We used three strips and spaced ours about 6" apart.)
Mark a guideline for the location for each band using a measuring tape, straightedge, and pencil. Attach all but the top band to the canvas using iron-on hem tape.
On the top edge of the canvas rectangle, find and mark the center point. Fold the circular top piece in half to find the center and mark the centerfold on one edge of the circle. (You'll align these marks later.)
Fold the short sides of the canvas rectangle together, inside surface facing out, and align the ends of the banding strips. Use matching thread and a sewing machine to stitch the short sides together with 3/4" seams to form a fabric tube.
Pin the fabric circle to the top end of the fabric tube, aligning the center marks you made in Step 5. Sew the two parts together with 3/4" seams.
Hem the bottom edge of the slipcover and turn it right side out. Stitch or secure the top band to the top edge of the slipcover using iron-on hem tape. Slide the cover over the stool frame.