How to Construct a Footstool



Introduction: How to Construct a Footstool

A footstool can be a functional and aesthetic addition to any area of the household.  It can be used as an ottoman, or as a simple boost while mitigating the dangers of climbing on barstools, chairs, and fold-out ladders.  A do-it-yourself footstool can also be tailored to your wants as well as being economical and fun. 

This Instructable will take you through the procedure on constructing and upholstering a footstool in entirety (from “scratch”).  It will provide you with the required list of materials and tools used in the entire instruction set. 

There are two major sections in this instruction set: Construction and Upholstery.  Each section is divided into steps (Construction into eight steps and Upholstery into three steps).  These steps are further subdivided into smaller, digestible mini-steps.  Photographs supplement the instructions.  The Construction section involves measuring, cutting, constructing, and cleaning up the frame of the footstool.  The Upholstery section includes detailed steps on padding and adhesive, fabric application, and finishing touches (stool feet and decorative nails).

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Step 1: Materials and Tools

Materials List:
1.   3x-  8’x1.5”x.75” board
2.   2x - ½” 2’x2’ plywood sheet
3.   3x - furniture feet
4.   1 box(30) - 1.25” wood screws
5.   1yd - heavy duty material (of appropriate matching color)
6.   1yd - furniture batting
7.   2’’ foam (I purchased a 23”x18” piece)
8.   5 boxes decorative nails (24 count/box)

Tools List:
1.   hammer
2.   drill
3.   staple gun w/ staples
4.   tape measure
5.   speed square
6.   pencil
7.   screwdriver
8.   sander
9.   adhesive spray
10. pliers
11. scissors
12. marker
13. miter saw
14. circular saw
15. level
16. ruler

Step 2: Measure and Cut 6 17" Segments With the 1.5"x.75" Board

Measure and cut 6 17” segments with the 1.5”x.75” board  Can get 5 out of first 8’ piece and the sixth from the second.

A.  Use tape measure to measure from an end to 17”, mark with a “V” at 17” so that the point of the “V” touches 17 on your tape measure.

B.  Use speed square and pencil to give yourself a square line to saw by placing the pencil at the tip of the “V” holding the speed square flat against the board and the “lip” of the square against the outside edge. Slide the square along the board until you reach the pencil while holding the square in place run the pencil up and down to mark the board. 

C.  Place marked board face up onto miter saw table and against back “fence” and without turning it on, bring blade down to verify accuracy of the cut (make sure the blade is on the line).

D.  Turn on saw and while being safe, make cut.

E.  Repeat process.

Step 3: Measure and Cut 3x 7" Pieces

Measure and cut 3x 7” pieces, using the same method as before.  Measure, draw “V”, square the measurement, line up the cut on the miter saw, make the cut.

Step 4: Cut Each End of the 17" Pieces on a 60 Degree Angle

After cutting the 6 pieces, now cut each end on a 60 degree angle

A.  Adjust miter saw from cutting at 90 degrees from the fence to 30 degrees.

B.  With the board in your left hand place end of board on cut line, so that edge that is furthest away (against the fence) is at the cut line.

C.  Once again, without turning the saw on. Verify that you are cutting a triangle off the end of your 17”board.

D.  Rotate the board to the other straight end. Line up the saw as before and make a similar cut, creating a trapezoid shape.

Step 5: Create Two Equilateral Triangles

Create your two equilateral triangles

A.  Place three pieces together to form an equilateral triangle.  While holding your wood screws measure your distance from the peak of triangle back towards the middle so that the screw can pass through the first board and anchor into the second board (about two inches from the peak). Mark location.

B.  While holding boards securely so that the peaks line up, use drill (with drill bit slightly smaller than diameter of wood screws) to drill pilot hole through first board into second.

C.  Use screwdriver to screw the first board to the second.

D.  Repeat process at second and third corners until you have constructed a secure equilateral triangle.

E.  Repeat process with three remaining boards to create a second secure triangle.

Step 6: Construct Frame

Construct frame

A.  At both ends of the 7” pieces, ¼” from the ends, mark a dot in the center.

B.  Use same drill bit as previously and drill a pilot hole through the board.

C.  Repeat for all three boards (total of six holes).

D.  Lay triangle flat on workspace, center 7” piece on end inside the triangle against “inner wall”, use screwdriver to affix with wood screws through predrilled holes.

E.  Repeat process for other two “legs”.

F.  Place second triangle flat on work surface, flip triangle with legs upside down, and place legs inside inner triangle, now first triangle is raised and being supported by legs which are resting on the work surface.

G.  Used wood screws and screwdriver to secure legs to second triangle, wait to secure the 6th screw, after securing the fifth, place level on top of the raised triangle and check that the top triangle is sitting level, raise or lower the position of the frame as needed to ensure entire frame is level, affix the sixth screw.

Step 7: Cover Frame With Plywood

Covering frame with plywood

A.  Place frame onto plywood sheet and trace outline of outer triangle with pencil.

B.  Safely, Use circular saw to follow the triangle outline, place aside.

C.  With second sheet of plywood use tape measure and pencil to draw a line at 17” using the “V” method at two points and connecting them with your pencil and the leftover board (like a big ruler).

D.  Safely make cut.

E.  Then from the opposite edge (perpendicular to the one you just cut) measure 7” from the edge at two points, draw a line across, verify that you have a square that is 7”x17”.

F.  Safely make cut.

G.  Repeat process twice more until you have 3 7”x17” squares.

H.  Using drill, with same drill bit, start pilot holes ¼” from the top and bottom (17” side) at three inches from each end and one more in the middle. (be careful not to try and drill a screw at the same place that a screw is holding the frame together)

I.   Repeat the process for the other two “sides”

J.  Secure the sides to the frame with the wood-screws and screwdriver.

K.  Similarly, place the triangle plywood piece on top (either side) and drill pilot holes ¼” from the edge and secure top to frame with 3 evenly placed screws per side.

Step 8: Secure Feet

Securing feet

A.  Based on size and style test fit the feet “under” the frame.

B.  Once determining position press down frame onto screw coming out of feet, press only hard enough to leave an imprint on frame.

C.  Take frame off foot and verify that impression has been left.

D.  Use drill (with bit slightly smaller in diameter than foot screw) to start pilot hole underneath the frame at the position of the impression.

E.  Test to make sure foot can be screwed securely into bottom of frame.

F.  Repeat process for other two feet.

G.  Remove feet and set aside.

Step 9: Clean Up

Clean up

A.  Use sander to “soften” the edges of the plywood, try and remove jagged edges or splinters that might hang on the fabric.

B.  Put away power tools and clean up.

Step 10: Cover the Top

Covering the Top

A.  Place stool top (plywood side) down on top of the foam, trace an outline with marker ½” wider than the outline of the stool.

B.  Use scissors to cut along outline.

C.  Cut another smaller triangle about half to S the size of the larger triangle with the scissors (accuracy and size are not of utmost importance).

D.  Spray adhesive on top, and place small foam triangle centered on top, use more adhesive if needed to affix.

E.  Wrap batting around sides of stool and cut long strip of batting with width two inches larger than the 7” side width.

F.  Use spray adhesive to coat sides.

G. Wrap batting around sides with overlap on both top and bottom (doesn’t have to be one continuous piece, cut a panel to fit if necessary).

H.  Place material face down on work surface, place large foam triangle on material and outline with marker giving an additional two inch border beyond foam pad.

I.  Use scissors to cut along outline.

J.  Place larger foam triangle on top of smaller one matching corner of the pad toward corner of stool.

K.  Lay the triangle fabric over the triangle pad, matching corner to corner.

L.  Using the staple gun, start with a few staples along one side of the footstool affixing the material to side (you will be removing these later) near the top, creating a flap secured to only one side of the footstool.

M.  Starting at either corner, press down the foam (folding the bottom edge under so that the top edge of the foam comes to the corner of the top of the stool), and tightly pull the material over the foam holding it down and staple ½” from top along the side. 

N.  Continue this process around the stool. Tucking, pulling taught, and stapling every quarter of inch.

O.  When you get the two sides done, pull out the original staples and continue the process on the last/first side. (the reason for this is because you needed a side of the fabric anchored in order to pull tight, but can not tuck the foam under itself)

P.  Trim any excess fabric if necessary.

Step 11: Cover Sides

Cover the Sides

A.  Take remaining fabric and wrap around footstool (like the batting) mark with marker where ends meet, allowing an extra two inches that can be trimmed if needed.

B.  Use ruler to create long rectangle 9” wide x wherever you marked the wrapped position with scissors. (remember to only mark on the “back side” of the fabric)

C.  Pick one side of the stool to have your seam.

D.  Facing that side drape the fabric outside (the side you want shown) facing down over the top cushion of the stool with the edge along the mid seam.

E.  Pull the top edge of the material towards the top of the cushion and staple along the bottom of the material, at the top of the side of the stool, above the staples holding on the top cushion material.

F.  Continue stapling the bottom of the material to the top of the side of the stool, all the way around until you reach the seam where you started.

G.  Overlap the material slightly, stapling the material on top of your start position by one staple.

H.  Now fold the material back down so that the outside is now facing outwards, and the material is attached at the top of the stool but loose at the bottom.

I.  Pull the material slightly taut at the seam and secure it underneath with a few staples.

J.  Now pull the material taut all the way around the stool from the seam starting point stapling as you go so that now the side material is secure at both the top and bottom. (be careful not to obscure the feet holes underneath)

K. Trim any excess.

Step 12: Finishes


A.  Along the seam, starting from the top, begin nailing your decorative nails with your hammer.  Try your best to keep a unified spacing of ⅛” between each nail. (this secures the seam of the side material to the side and prevents you from having to sew)

B.  Along the bottom edge of all three sides continue to nail your decorative nails.

C.  Screw in your feet making sure to tuck material between frame and feet.

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