How to build a simple, scrap wood upholstered footstool

By Pinktoesandpowertools | Woodworking Projects

Scrap wood Upholstered footstool

An upholstered footstool is one of the gifts that I made for Pip for Christmas this year, in my quest to have one room in this house completely finished up.  This is part of how I made it–I say part, because I think I deleted the building part of the pictures…oops!  It is so simple though, you really don’t need anything but a picture to put it together.  And I used scrap plywood and miscellaneous supplies from my sewing room, so it was free.

Scrap plywood upholstered footstool

See what I mean?  This was a very easy project.  I had put together the bench part before I started on the living room built-in, but I finished the rest of this in the midst of my general-Christmas-madness-combined-with-starting-a-major-project brilliance.  I will once again beg all of you to remind me that I should not start major projects during the holiday season next year!

I left the edges of the plywood unfinished–I just filled some spots where there were little voids in the ply with wood putty and sanded really well.  Two coats of primer and 1 coat of my white.  I did do two thin coats of polycrylic since I had it out already for the living room built in.  I really like the smooth finish I end up with when I use it.

Here are the steps I used to upholster the top.

Upholstered footstool supplies needed

Leftover 1/2″ foam from my DIY camera bag, muslin, thin quilt batting, scrap wood the size you want the top, and a staple gun with some staples.  I didn’t include the fabric for the top in the photo.

Upholstered footstool foam top

I put two layers of the 1/2″ foam on the top of the board.  Obviously you could use 1″ instead, or even one layer of 1/2.  The sky is the limit to your choices 😉

Upholstered footstool--cut out fabric top

The fabric I have used for a few of the projects in Pip’s room came from two clearance sets of sheets I got years ago when I knew she was moving to a regular sized bed.  I paid $10 total for both and I’ve made her duvet cover, 2 pillows (you’ll see those soon),  a chair cover, and the cover for this footstool.  That $10 went pretty far!

Here I layered the batting, muslin, and the sheet fabric on top of the foam and board and then cut around that.  As you can see, it isn’t a precision project.  I left about 2″ on all sides.

Upholstered footstool--start stapling the sides

Staple one side, leaving some room on the ends to make nice corners.  Pull the other side so it is taut, but not so that it is stretching and making the foam do funky stuff.  Staple the second side.

Upholstered footstool--envelope fold for nice corners

I think this is the tricky part for upholstering–the corners.  I have no idea if this is the “correct” way, but it is how I did it and it turned out for my purposes.  Neatly lay it out like you are wrapping a present…at least if you wrap presents this way…if not, follow the picture!  I put one staple in each edge to hold it in place before I went on to the next step.

Upholstered footstool--trim batting corners

I also trimmed the batting from the corners to remove some of the bulk from wrapping it this way.  Trim both corners at this end.

Upholstered footstool--close up of corner stapled neatly

Then I brought that side up and stapled it in place–pull it taut, but not so tight  that it pulls the foam in weird ways.

Repeat on the other side.  And you’re done with the top!

Upholstered footstool neat striped corners

To attach the top, I drilled four holes through the to of the bench part of the footstool using a bit around the same size as the wood screws I used to attach the upholstered part.  I had to use a screwdriver and my muscles to attach this, since my drill wouldn’t fit in there.  I turned it upside down and used my knee to keep the two parts tightly together as I attached it.

**Updated picture to clarify attaching the two parts together.  I think I actually sat on the part with the pocket holes and then screwed the screws into the top part by hand. You need to have drilled the holes through the top before you turn it over so that it is easier to do this by hand.  The top is already upholstered when you do this step–this would be your final step in the construction of the footstool!

Upholstered footstool bottom view

Scrap wood Upholstered footstool

I made the dimensions so that it could be stashed next to her desk or be used as a table next to the chair as well, but Pip is enjoying using it to kick back and read.  She is able to use her chair much more comfortably for that purpose since she got this simple, scrap wood, upholstered footstool added to her room!

Build a simple upholstered footstool

I think that all I have left in there is a few more pictures on the wall to the left of her chair!  An entire room complete.  I can hardly wrap my head around it…


I love PureBond plywood and since that is what I use to build with, that is the scraps I have left over to build free projects with!  Hence, this footstool was made with PureBond.  I am now being compensated by PureBond, but I can sleep at night recommending it to you because I was buying it myself long before the PureBond Pledge existed.


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