Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fran's Stools

And a crafty lesson for those of you so inclined...

My mom has been making stools for all the kids in our family and extended family for as long as I can remember. She's easily been making them for 40 years, since I was little. Last year, I realized she might not always be able to make them, so someone needed to learn.

I got my first lesson over the summer, and last week started two stools for Heather's daughters for Christmas. Yesterday, I almost finished them. I think I need a little Fran help for the finishing touches, but here are the steps.

1. Use seven "Hawaiian Punch" cans (or any 64-ounce can) -- make sure they are cleaned and dried on the inside and that they've been opened with a key can opener.

2. Cover each can with an old sock, to keep them from clanging against each other, and tie them like so...

3. Trace the stool shape on a piece of cardboard and cut it out. Secure it to the bottom of your stool with duct tape.

4. Trace the stool shape on a piece of thick foam (about two or three inches thick) and cut it out.

5. Cut a piece of thin foam (about an inch thick) to go around the side of the cans, and let it extend three or four inches above.

4. Cut a piece of muslin and pull it tight around the foam, securing with pins. Hand sew the muslin (yes, hand sew!) as tight as you can.

5. Cut muslin to cover the top. Pin it in place, alternating between 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 to keep it evenly distributed. Hand sew in place.

6. Do the same with a piece of muslin to cover the bottom.

7. Using the material for the outside cover of your stool, cut the material to go around the stool and have it extend about two inches above. Using a sewing machine, sew the two ends together to create the side of the covering.

I was a little cautious the first time I did this and made my side too big. I'd sew it another 1/4-inch tighter and put it around the stool. Too big. Back to the machine, sew it another 1/2-inch tighter and back to the stool. Eventually I got it.

8. Cut a circle about one inch bigger in diameter than your stool. Put the side sleeve on the stool inside out, and put the top of the stool on top, again inside out. Pin the top to the sides.

9. On the machine, sew the top to the sides, again use the 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00 points -- a little at each, to keep it even.

This is as far as I gotten. My top is still a little loose -- my mom will need to help me with this part.

10. Use denim on the it by hand with hand applique stitches to keep them hidden -- again pulling it tight and going from the four corners to keep it even.


  1. What lucky little ladies to have someone making them such thoughtful and adorable gifts with lots of love and history behind them.

    :) Heather

  2. Oh my you are a saint.. I got lost between steps one and two.. but wow are you crafty....