This project has been on my to do list forever and I finally got around to doing it…. and blogging about it. The whole thing cost me less than 8 bucks and was my first attempt at diamond tufting. I was also able to use the replacement buttons from my Grandfather’s Air Force uniform and they made this little stool super special.
I started with this:
I picked up both the footstool and the ammo crate at a local thrift store. The mid-century footstool was $5 bucks and the ammo crate was one lil’ ol’ dollar. Five bucks is such a score for this stool, even just using it for parts.
I started by popping off the rusty old caps on the feet and spraying them with Rustoleum’s Metallic Silver. Then, I put the legs on some foil and rolled them around in stripper and then used some 0000 steel wool to remove the paint.
Then I gave the legs and ammo crate a quick sand with 150 grit, followed by 200 grit. I really liked the label on the crate that said “AMMO” but it also said “Made in China”, which I didn’t want, so I removed it and sanded off the adhesive.
I attached the legs to the ammo crate using the brackets and screws from the old footstool and then went over both the ammo crate and the legs with General Finishes Gel Stain in Antique Walnut. Then I had hubs cut a piece of wood the same size as the top of the ammo crate while I used a serrated knife to cut a piece of leftover 3″ foam to size.
This was my first attempt at diamond tufting but I kinda already knew the drill since there are so many diamond tufting tutes out there. Quick rundown: Mark your holes on the back of your wood by finding center first and creating a grid, cut corresponding holes in your foam, lay your fabric over the foam/wood and do your tufting prior to stapling the fabric to the wood. This will help you get all the fabric folds right.
I used waxed upholstery thread to string through the AF buttons and then ran that through the fabric, foam and wood and then tied it tightly several times around a nail. I didn’t have a needle long enough to go through the foam, so I actually made one from an old wire hanger. Cut a length of wire long enough and then use needle nose pliers to bend one end around to make an eye for the needle. Boom.
After the tufting was done, I stapled the fabric to the wood. Yes, it’s messy. Yes, I just posted something on NOT doing messy upholstery and using cardboard tack strips to keep it neat, but this won’t show since I’m not using this as a lid for a storage ottoman. Then I secured the seat to the crate using L-brackets. Done!
The ATL Bloggers had a meetup at Woodstock Market last year and Bob from Bob’s Upholstery gave us a crash course in how to do diamond tufting, Erin from DIY on the Cheap has that info here. It’s really great to get a peek into how a pro does it. Bob cuts grooves into his foam so that the fabric has a place to lay and gives you that perfect diamond pattern.
I combined the stuff we learned from Bob as well as this tute by Ursula, both very helpful for something that seems like it could easily turn out to be DIY-superdisaster.
The buttons are just the best. Thank you, Grampa!
I do think the foam is a tad thick for this, but it was something I already had on hand so I went for it. I also had the stain, spray paint for the capped feet, drop cloth fabric and, of course, those delicious buttons.
While you’re out there thrifting, keep an eye for great deals on hardware. You never know when you might be able to Frankenstein them into something fun for your home!