Recycled Paint Can Stools

If you are doing any painting projects this year, here's a great way to recycle plastic paint containers into comfortable stools. I made stools for outdoors, but you can make them for any room and particularly for a child's bedroom or playroom. Pop some comfortable cushions to fit into the top of the plastic containers and you have instant seating. When not in use you can take the cushions indoors. Or spray them with Rust-Oleum Never Wet Fabric Spray.
All you need to make these comfortable stools are some empty plastic paint containers. I recently touched up my home exterior and also painted paving, the latter to feature soon on the website. so had a couple of containers on hand.
1. Before you start, cut off the handles as neatly as possible. I used my Dremel MultiTool and cutting disk to cut off the handles.
2. For the spray paint to adhere properly to the plastic containers you need to apply a tough all-purpose primer like Zinsser Bulls Eye. This primer is excellent as a primer for most surfaces. Follow the instructions on the can to ensure proper application.
3. After allowing the specified drying time you can start applying the Rust-Oleum 2X in your choice of colour. I used satin Lagoon to tie in with the fabric colour for the cushions.
4. For the cushions I used a template the same size as the lid (270mm). I marked the shape onto a 70mm thick piece of medium-density foam.
5. A serrated-edge knife is great for cutting foam, especially curved pieces. Remove as much of the excess foam as you can and then cut the detailed curves.
6. With the foam circles cut out you can then cut the fabric. You need 4 circles that are 40mm larger than the foam, and 2 strips for the sides that are about 40mm longer than the actual perimeter of each piece of foam.
7. I used sprayable adhesive (sprayed onto the foam and fabric) to secure the top and bottom pieces of fabric onto the foam.
GOOD TO KNOW: Snip the edges of the excess fabric and fold these over the edge as shown.
GOOD TO KNOW: I left everything overnight, but for good measure added some masking tape around the sides to make sure that the fabric stuck down.
8. With the top and bottom glued down, I folded over the sides and edges and sewed these onto the foam circles. My sewing skills are not excellent, but I did manage to do a decent running stitch.
Rather than toss out these plastic paint bins, giving them a coat or two of Rust-Oleum 2X spray paint is an easy way to turn them into fun seating for indoors or outdoors.

Janice Anderssen
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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Frequently asked questions

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  1 question
  • Bobbi Jones Bobbi Jones on Dec 10, 2016
    What keeps the cushion from falling in when u sit on it?

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  • Peggy Gnatkowski Leach Peggy Gnatkowski Leach on Mar 30, 2019

    Love how you made the cushions. Thanks for sharing . I am going to try this and make for christmas for my granddaughters it will be great for storage in there bedrooms for all the little things.

  • Rose Tovey Rose Tovey on Jul 10, 2020

    I have used my electric knife, carefully, for cutting thick foam.

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