Asked on Dec 12, 2012

This $5.00 Step Stool needs a makeover!

Julia Terpstra
by Julia Terpstra
I was over the moon to find this step stool for $5 at a local thrift shop. I've taken off the vinyl... but now what? I adore junk and rust; so I love the patina. Should I just give it a quick sanding and shoot it with clear gloss? Does it need a new paint job? Help!
q this 5 00 step stool needs a makeover, painted furniture
q this 5 00 step stool needs a makeover, painted furniture
q this 5 00 step stool needs a makeover, painted furniture
  24 answers
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Dec 12, 2012
    I'd go for the more complete restoration...and repaint. Being a woodworker I'd replace the Padded part of the seat with a nice thick piece of walnut.

    • Shelley Shelley on Feb 18, 2023

      I would cover steps and seat with carpet or rug pieces for kitty s to climb up. Then more on seat back. Great place to scratch! Then wrap leg pieces in rope twin or whatever you have

  • Julia Terpstra Julia Terpstra on Dec 12, 2012
    I like the wood idea; especially walnut. Thanks!

  • We had one of these with red seat. All kids used it then off to the dump with it. Not safe to use, but makes an interesting plant holder.

  • Julia Terpstra Julia Terpstra on Dec 12, 2012
    This one is really sturdy, so I totally plan on using it!

  • Z Z on Dec 12, 2012
    My high chair when I was a little girl was by Cosco. It was yellow and had arms for the tray to sit on ofcourse. Not sure whatever happened to that one, but I found one to use for our children years later. It was missing the tray, but worked great up to the table. I now have a new one just like yours in black I bought for our grandson to use He drags it all over the house to use. I would have loved to have found the high chair with tray, but they no longer make them. Please take progress pictures and share them when you are done. I'd love to see the transformation.

    • Shelley Shelley on Feb 18, 2023

      You could buy a plastic tray 2nd hand make 2 screw holes at width to cross arms on chair and the drill 2 holes that Matchthose of the tray. Screw on or so if you want Removable put short flat screws in the holes a little higher than arms. So you can lift screws out

  • We think sheilaG is right, you should be fine as long as you sand it before coating. If it's going to be used by children, your priority might be a non-toxic finish - JUST in case something might loosen and flake off. We've also heard off success using clear aerosol paint intended for automotive use on metal!

  • Donna Donna on Dec 13, 2012
    I have one of these in the yard with vines growing on it. I will look forward to seeing what you do with it. Start a trend.

  • Wow that reminds me a step stool that we had when I was a kid (long time ago)

  • Great find! I have a similar one - blue but with a metal seat - I got it for $1! Love the idea of a great piece of walnut on that beauty!

  • Jeanine Jeanine on Feb 12, 2013
    Walnut sounds great, then I would paint the rest of it red!

  • Bonnie Bonnie on Aug 02, 2014
    I have the same stool. I painted it dark red, I love it.

  • Bonnie Bonnie on Aug 02, 2014
    I'm sorry I didn't look at the date on here. But I love all your post ! I can sit all day and get all these decorating Idea's . I have lots to do around this old farm house. I love to tinker !

  • Andrea Lee Andrea Lee on Dec 27, 2014
    I redid an old one I had for decades. It has more chrome than this one, so I cleaned it, buffed it with car chrome polish, bought new leg tips and took the seat off. Removed the seat covering, took out all the staples in the seat board and cleaned it, found a retro vinyl at the fabric store that I liked and took everything to an upholster. She add new cushioning, stapled the new vinyl on the seat board and only charged me $15. It looks really nice and I use it all the time. I had tried recovering it myself, but the board was so hard I could not tack or staple the vinyl on it. The upholster has a power stapler.

  • I have one just like this!!! I couldn't paint it either because I love the rust and patina also. I will take a picture and show you what I did. :0)

  • Linda Fraser Linda Fraser on Feb 17, 2015
    I would get rid of the rust first so it doesn't continue to rot it away. I would sand well then prime and paint it. If you're going for the retro look I would cut out a piece of wood for the seat and put batting and cover with checkered fabric.

  • Katrina Warren Katrina Warren on Feb 18, 2015
    I rather like the rusted look but if you want to do something really fun & whimsical here's an ideal.

  • I turned mine into an industrial style. There are so many options. Go with what you like and how you would most use it. I can't wait to see what you do with yours.

  • Reinvented Collection Reinvented Collection on Mar 10, 2015
    Wow! I really like the patina it has in it's raw grungy state. If it were me, I would have given that old lady a good scrub down. Probably a few good scrub downs and then I would have used Daddy Vans Wax to polish her right up. Age ain't nothing but a number. LOL. Daddy Vans Wax is all natural and it smells delightful. I don't use it professionally in my business but I do use it around my house. I like that my if my furkid gets a notion to lick something, it won't be a bunch of garbage, solvent based, scary chemicals. I get mine from Angela A-Z Custom Creations. She is on Youtube and Facebook. Home talk.... I'm not sure... but I am off to see. She is super nice. Can't wait to see the finished product on this great vintage stool. :-)

  • NV87 NV87 on Mar 26, 2015
    I recently found one of these at curbside and posted about it. Last night I saw another one at curbside, an made a quick u-turn to get it, however, it seems to be much newer and in great condition. I was surprised when I googled today that they are still available (at Target and other stores). What are the characteristics that make some more desirable that others..

  • Kathy Conley Kathy Conley on Jan 17, 2016
    I would think that sanding it would scratch the paint more. I would give it a good cleaning for sure. I know that using crumpled aluminum foil (wet) will clean up the rust from the Crome without scratching it so maybe try that on the painted parts so the color can pop a bit as its neat color then seal it.

  • Lynne Krywulycz Lynne Krywulycz on May 23, 2016
    Use Kathys' idea with the aluminiun (Australian spelling)foil and water and leave the rest of it rusty and unkempt. Just wash with warm suds, dry in the sun and lacquer the whole thing. Stunning.

  • Marcy Ryan Marcy Ryan on Sep 26, 2016
    WD 40 and steel wool on the chrome parts, I recovered the upholstery with new covers and cleaned the steps with WD40 again it seemed to help the rubber be refurbished. Mine is black upholstery and yellow paint with chrome edging it looks great now and use it all the time.

  • Candy Walsh Candy Walsh on Nov 23, 2016
    I recently redid an old one too and it looks way more intimidating than it is. You can look on YouTube and Pinterest and even on here there are a few examples. Go for it, you can do it! I'm so happy with mine!

  • Dawn Dawn on Jan 15, 2018
    I love the look of this stool. That is patina. My grandparents both had these in their kitchens. You can see it has history and so many stories to tell. I remember my little brothers and sisters pulling up to the dinner table with one of these, or the dreaded chair piled with phone books. This beauty was the preferred seat in the house for the little guests.