How can I recover this stool?

Libby Walker
by Libby Walker
I love my little vintage vanity seat, but there's a big rip in fabric (vinyl, I think). Any ideas on recovering it?
  17 answers
  • Hannah V Hannah V on Feb 20, 2015
    You should reupholster it with a faux sheepskin fabric/rug. They sell great ones at Ikea. Kind of like this post!
  • Katrina Warren Katrina Warren on Feb 20, 2015
    Do you sew at all? It shouldn't be difficult, the hardest part would be doing the piping but you can get premade piping if you don't think you could do it yourself. Start by pulling the staples loose from the underside of the stool, & releasing the button in the center. Carefully take the seams out of the fabric & save the pieces for your pattern for new fabric. Pick out an upholstery fabric you like at Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's or some other store that carries upholstery fabric. Then cut your new covering using the old covering as a pattern. Sew the outside edge covering together making a hollow circle, then pin your piping & top circle to the edge of your outside ring right sides together with excess seam allowance to the outside & sew it together using a zipper foot to get as close to the edge of the piping as possible. Turn right side out & place over the stool padding & reattach the button (there are button kits you can get to make covered buttons that will match your new fabric) Once the button is back in place, pull your fabric tight & staple to the bottom of your stool, then sit back & enjoy your work!
  • Michelle Michelle on Feb 20, 2015
    wasbi or duct tape, both have great colors
  • Deirdre Sullivan Deirdre Sullivan on Feb 20, 2015
    A couple of years ago I decided out of the blue to reupholster a chair. To make sure I wasn't biting off more than I can chew, I reupholstered a stool first. I found this tutorial very helpful: I can't find pictures of my stool (I gave it away.) But here's how my chair came out: Unfortunately, my old website with the full tutorial does not exist anymore.
  • Valerie Valerie on Feb 21, 2015
    You could really make something special out of it. Katrina has given you excellent advice. Please post a photograph of it once it is finished, we would love to see it.
  • Denise Esposito Denise Esposito on Feb 21, 2015
    Katrina gave wonderful advice. If you don't sew...cut several layers of batting in circles the size of the top of your stool. Lay the batting on top of stool. Cut the fabric you are using into a large enough circle to completely cover the top and sides of stool, leaving enough to wrap underneath. Smooth and pull the fabric tight as you staple fabric underneath the stool top. Staple or cut off any extra fabric that will show when stool is flipped upright.
  • Handy Lady Red Handy Lady Red on Feb 21, 2015
    If you want to recover it ,turn it upside down and take the legs off if they come , if they don't then pull out the staples with a flat head screwdriver and needle nose pliers. You can lift the staple with the screwdriver and then pull is with the pliers. Once you can take the cover off oh you may have to cut the string that holds the button in the center. Then either copy the cover or cut a circle big enough to cover the seat cover that you removed. You will need to center the seat and then staple the new fabric to the stool,start by stapling the top of the circle then the bottom next do the right and left. Now you can work your way around the circle and make it lay smooth. Don't pull the fabric to tight just enough to keep it smooth. If you are putting the button back do it right after you do the first four staples is:top,bottom. That way if you want to loosen or tighten the fabric you can an without pulling out a bunch if staples. To do this you will need: Staple gun, flathead screwdriver, needle nose pliers or regular pliers, a long needle and strong thread (4-5 strands to go through the button and down to the wood in one go, then tie it off and cut the extra thread off) , new fabric & matching thread, sewing machine (if you are sewing a new cover),scissors or box knife. I hope this helps! And have fun! If you have any questions just ask
    • Handy Lady Red Handy Lady Red on Feb 21, 2015
      Oh I would get a nice heavy upholstery fabric in a dark or a pattern so it won't show the dirt or spills. It shouldn't take more than 1/2yd
  • Abby Rexroth Abby Rexroth on Feb 21, 2015
    I had the same problem with a vanity seat that was my grandmother's. It was an easy design and repair. I removed the staples, the pink vinyl and got some nice thick foam at Michaels. I found a wonderful tapestry fabric on Ebay and then set to work on redoing it (see photo of before and after). Hope you have as much fun and success as I did!
    • Libby Walker Libby Walker on Feb 23, 2015
      @Abby Rexroth That's a stellar transformation! Thanks for the inspiration. There are so many dreamy fabrics out there. It's going to be a tough (but fun) decision :)
  • Kelly Schaffer Kelly Schaffer on Feb 21, 2015
    You should be able to turn it over take the existing fabric off and easily reupholster it. Go to your local fabric store (and don't forget to check out their mark downs or scrape material section. You can get a great piece of fabric for a lot cheaper!!) anyhow:) lay the fabric down cut to fit the whole way down around the underneath part of chair with a bit of extra. Grab a staple gun and start stapling. Tuck the frayed edge underneath for a cleaner look. Hope this helps:)
  • Marsha Schwarz Marsha Schwarz on Feb 21, 2015
    Thisis going to sound outside the box... but I’m an artist and that’s where Ilive. I would buy some painters canvas from the hardware store to start with. A huge piece only costs $10-$15? Wash it to soften it up. Lay it on the floor and make a ‘sort of’ template of the stool top. Turn the stool over/upside down on it, staple or mini nail the canvas to the stool bottom withl ittle pleats around the edge to tuck it in nicely. THEN... yippeee... you can paint it. Put a primer type layer to smooth it out and after that use any kind of acrylic paint or chalk paint and it will truly be your design. You could even do a faux animal design like your rug is.
    • Libby Walker Libby Walker on Feb 23, 2015
      @Marsha Schwarz I do love all things animal print! Cool idea. I would never have thought of canvas.
  • Greer Greer on Feb 21, 2015
    Slipcover it! you can make a simple round slipcover to fit. The edge that drops from the top seat area can be anything you want...smooth with a hem, smooth with tassles or other trim of some kind. Or you can pleat or gather the drop. I'd tape the damaged portion & add a little padding over it so you won't feel it when you sit down.
  • Mcgypsy9 Mcgypsy9 on Feb 21, 2015
    KATRINA couldn't have said it better!! Exactly what I would have told you to do too. If you want to go with the vinyl again then do vinyl again or add something cute to match your decor. While you have the seat off get yourself some spray paint and redo the legs too! You would need to sand them down till they are smooth in the areas where the paint has peeled, maybe use a spray primer first and then a spray paint that is shiny or metallic and cover it, outside of course. Let it dry real good before use. At least 24 hours. Good luck with this and would love to see it completed!
    • Libby Walker Libby Walker on Feb 23, 2015
      @Mcgypsy9 I was thinking the legs could use some sprucing. Thanks for the instructions. That would have been my next question :)
  • Pat Pat on Feb 21, 2015
    A couple of years ago I bought a slip cover for a round stool like yours....It was red corduroy, round with elastic to hold it on the seat....looked and worked great. Why don't you google it and see if you can find something like that. Probably called a stool slipcover. Otherwise just buy some fabric and wrap it around the stool top ignoring the piping....we cut the piping off of our dining room chairs and recovered them.....looks great. Can you tell I am not a sewer? If your fabric is heavy enough, I don't think the slit would matter, but you could duck tape it before recovering it. As for the button in the center, ask at a fabric store....they may have a solution for that. Another thing that comes to buy a round pillow, the size of the stool top and add a piece of elastic around it or even ties, to hold it on the stool. Might work.
  • Elaine Elaine on Feb 21, 2015
    My stool looked identical, split cover and all. I don't sew and at the time didn't have the extra funds to reupholster it, so I tried a very cheap & unconventional method to temporarily salvage it . . . I covered it with a thick poly shower cap with elastic around the edging. The cap is the perfect size so that the elastic tucks under the seat and doesn't show, and the printed poly is thick enough to hold the original split fabric together and doesn't show through the cap. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision, but turned out so well that I've left it. After 4-years of continuous use, it still looks as good as it did the day I covered it. I am very happy with the outcome, and have decided not to spend the funds to reupholster it . . . just buy another $1.88 shower cap when and if it ever becomes necessary. Hugs . . . Elaine in Central Texas
  • Sherry Fram Sherry Fram on Feb 21, 2015
    I agree with Katrina too. Great advice.
  • Susan Kingman Susan Kingman on Feb 22, 2015
    They have very interesting duck tape in colors and patterns to make a repair and design with
  • Touchedpainter Touchedpainter on Sep 16, 2017

    I had a kitchen full of stools that looked just like this & worse. I removed NOTHING. I just took them outside & repainted the legs. I cut a thick sheet of batting just a hair bigger than the seat top put just a little glue to keep it in place(no gluing is needed I did it to serve as a third hand). I turned the stool upside down & placed on a piece of "garden scene" printed denim... make sure it is big enough for all of it to fold under the seat to staple it to the bottom of the seat. I emphatically do not recommend removal of the legs, unless the legs are loose & need re-securing or reattachment. You can easily fold & pucker & tease the cloth to smooth the folds around the legs... EASILY. Trim the excess cloth off with a scissors, I had to trim around the legs with a razor blade (in a razor blade holder). Just make sure the fabric is pulled tight to either side of the legs when stapling. Then 12 years later when the denim print was faded & soiled & rubbed off... The cloth was still tight on the seat. I bought a tapestry remnant (cheep) & using the same procedure I just stapled the tapestry pieces right over what was already there & trimmed the excess. It had been another 12 years, the seats are still tight & still show no wear. Everyone who comes in wants to know where I bought my new stools, and they can't believe it when I turn them over to show what I did. Keep it simple people, what's not broke on the stools don't remove & fix it... I hate opening cans of worms. Hugs T P...

    Oh ya, I'm 40+ year's Construction Contractor & crafter creator & seller & teacher at seasonal craft fairs & county fairs.