Vintage Cosco Step Stool Gets a Modern Farmhouse Styled Makeover

22 Materials
1 Week
I think we should just get right to the "steps" I took, shall we? I definitely go into more details on the original post so be sure to check it out.

All I have to say is, inspiration hit me and I grabbed my grubby Cosco stool.
I disassembled it making sure I marked the pieces with masking tape as well as documented it with about 1,000 pictures. I tried to keep the left side pieces in one spot and the right side in another.
For the step stool, I removed the treads with a hot air gun along with a putty knife. Only 1 tread was salvageable. You may want to wear gloves for protection from the heat.
I then broke down the step stool part and sanded the entire stool with my 2 hand sanders along with a ton of hand sanding using 100 & 150 grit paper.
The steps still had glue/old adhesive on them and I soaked them face down in a shallow tub with enough acetone to cover that part. Pick a tub you don't care about. I also used a lid to slow down the evaporation of the acetone.

Wearing gloves and using a fine steel wool, I rubbed off the glue and it came right off. You may need to let your acetone evaporate if it gets too dirty because you'll just rub the gunk right back onto it.
I also soaked the one good tread in acetone and the gold paint came off like a charm.
It took about 40 minutes to put it all back together. It didn't matter how detailed I was, I still mucked it up but, the pictures I took saved me.
I sprayed it upside down with primer, flipped it and primed. Then I did the same thing with white enamel. Of course, letting it dry a good while. The only good thing is that I really didn't have to worry about placing it on the seat side because I was going to cover it with a new wooden seat.
I bought a new piece of edge glued pine and laid the original seat on top, tracing it out and then cutting it first with the jigsaw and then with the band saw for a more detailed cut. Of course you can use a jigsaw only.
I sanded down the wooden seat and rounded the corners followed by staining it with a Classic Gray using 3 coats and I immediately fell in love with it. I top coated with a wipe on poly.
While waiting for the seat to dry, I moved onto the treads. As I mentioned, one Cosco tread was in pretty good shape so for the other, I bought a stair tread for $4.99. I traced the broken tread onto it the best I could and cut it out.
To attach the new wooden seat, I drilled 4 holes into the top (just eyeballed) and chose a drill bit based on the screws I was using. Metal flakes did go flying so I'd wear protective goggles. I just vacuumed up the little bits. The underside of the seat also became very rough so you may want to sand it down.

I then placed the wood on top of the chair and from underneath I drew, in pencil where the screws would go. I then drilled pilot holes into the wood and attached it.
I secured the rubber treads back on with a contact adhesive and only after I'd used it did I see that metal wasn't even on the "used for" list. It still seemed to work just fine though but, keep that in mind.
Now I have, what I think, is my favorite makeover project to date. It has such a clean look to it and I'm so happy I took the time to do it the best way I knew how. I've heard of companies that do sandblasting and powder coating that might give it a more durable finish but, I can't see myself spending the money for something like that.

I'm guessing I spent around $25 bucks on the whole thing because the stool cost $3.00 at an estate sale and the 3 cans of spray paint I used (primer, paint, clear coat) cost around $12 and the tread was $5. Everything else, I just used a little bit of like the wood and the caulk for example.

What do you think? As I mentioned, the blog has more deets and pictures so I encourage you to check it out.

Suggested materials:
  • Hand Sanders
  • Sand Paper
  • Screwdrivers
See all materials
Angie @ Ambient Wares
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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4 of 7 comments
  • Beth Beth on Aug 11, 2018

    I have this very same stool, but it was my mom's and is over 50 years old! It is worse looking than yours was, so I will definitely be rehabbing it! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Beth Beth on Aug 11, 2018

    P.S. It sat under the (land line) phone in our kitchen, which was on the wall and had about a 10' cord on it so Mom could walk around the kitchen and talk while she cooked! I sort of miss those old days. Anyone else remember them?!

    • See 1 previous
    • NaniJen NaniJen on Mar 22, 2019

      I did the exact same thing! (Also with the 10ft phone cord lol) Spent HOURS & HOURS on our step stool talking on th4 phone! 😄❤