Easy, adorable, no-sew re-upholstered footstool

beforeafterUpholstery is one of those DIY projects that can be really easy or really tough! I’ve done a couple chairs (one here), one with help from an upholstery class. I have a recliner I’d love to reupholster, but I am definitely not experienced enough to attempt it. However, there are some very simple upholstery projects that require no more than a staple gun, glue gun and some scissors – these include most dining room chairs, benches and footstools. These are the upholstery projects I – and you – can do!

Awhile back, I picked up this ugly footstool at a thrift shop for $5. I was drawn to it because the lid opens to reveal storage – reminded me of a mini piano bench. And the stool itself was in great shape – the wood was not scratched, the hinges worked perfectly, and it really seemed like it had never been used. (Probably because it was ugly!)

I had some leftover faux fur from a cape and muffs I had made for a friend’s wedding. I knew the fur would be perfect for this little bench that was just screaming for a girly makeover.

DSCF0505Materials

  • Faux fur or other fabric – enough to cover with a couple inches overhang on each side to staple down
  • Fleece
  • Padding (I used the existing padding – it was still in good shape)
  • Staple Gun
  • Screwdriver
  • Glue gun
  • Sample-size paints from the home improvement store
  • Primer
  • Paint brushes – small brush, larger brush and sponge brush for ombre legs

Step One: Prep
Remove the hinges and all fabric from the lid. Determine if the padding from the lid is in good enough condition to reuse. Clean the wood with TSP or similar cleaner. Sand wood with fine grit sandpaper to scuff up any stain or paint.

DSCF0516Step Two: Primer
Primer is key, especially if there was an existing finish on the bench. I had plenty of leftover primer from other projects. You can also use a paint/primer combo – but if you do, I recommend a little heavier sanding first to get through the existing finish. Coat the body, legs, and inside the storage area with primer. Odds are, the legs of the bench unscrew like mine did. I unscrewed them to apply the primer and paint to the body and then loosely screwed the legs back in to paint and primer those also. This keeps primer and pain from gunking up around the tops of the legs.

WP_20140317_010Step Three: Paint
Again, I had some leftover white paint from other projects. For the pink, I went to Lowes and got a $3 sample paint in a darker pink. My bench had a groove running along the bottom edge. This was perfect for me to paint pink. If you don’t have any such details, you can always use painters tape to create a stripe. Or just keep it solid.

For the legs, I wanted to do an ombre pink, starting darker at the bottom of the legs, moving lighter as I went up. I used a couple paper plates to mix the dark pink with the white to blend three shades of pink. Starting with the lightest shade, I painted the entire leg. When that dried, I started a third of the way down or so with the medium pink paint and a sponge brush, blending in the medium pink. Then, after that dried, I sponged on the dark pink. It turned out as good as I had hoped.

DSCF0575Step Four: Cover with fabric
Cut out the fabric you’re using to cover the top of the bench. Make sure you leave enough overhang on each side to fold over and staple down. If you are using faux fur as I did, there is a definite trick to cutting the fur without making a huge mess. DO NOT USE SCISSORS! Use a razor blade or knife to the back of the fur to cut just the backing. (see here for more instruction). Once you’ve cut to size, put the padding between the lid and the cover. Wrap the cover fabric around and staple down to the lid. I found, with the fur, that I did have to trim the fur a little shorter to have the staples stick better. Also, with thicker fabric, you may need to trim out the corners for them to lay a little flatter.

Step Five: Finish
To make the inside of the lid a little more appealing, I covered the center with white fleece. I trimmed the fur so that the fleece laid flatter, and then used a glue gun to attach it to the underside of the lid. Then, screwed the hinges back on and DONE!

WP_20140317_003

You Got This, Girl! Replacing your outlets

Recently, I painted my bedroom a pale pink. As I admired my work, I realized that the dingy ivory electrical outlets looked just hideous. I knew I needed new, fresh, white outlets. I called my dad to see if he thought I could tackle this on my own. After a resounding ‘Of course’, I headed off to the hardware store.

IMG_3472Here are the basic supplies you will need to replace your outlets:

Outlets
Cover Plates
Screwdriver
Electrical Tape
Outlet Tester/Voltage Meter
Needle-nose pliers (pictured later)
Wire cutters (pictured later)

 

IMG_3475Step One: Turn off the power

Once you have all your supplies ready, shut off the breaker to cut off all power to the outlets. My mother, who has done wiring for years with my grandfather (who was an electrician) will actually do wiring with the power still on. That scares me, and is not recommended. The shock wont kill you, but it will hurt. And will put a dent in your pliers. So, just go turn off the breaker.

My breaker box is horribly labeled – I really can’t tell what connects to what. So, it’s a lot of trial and error to make sure the outlets are off. One way to test that your outlets are truly off is to plug in a lamp or an alarm clock. If it doesn’t turn on, the power is off and it is safe to work with. However, if you are working with switches also, you should get a voltage meter. You can get a simple tester for about $10, or more advanced ones for more. It is worth it. I thought I had turned off the breaker for all my outlets, and just happened to test this one to get a picture for this post. As you can see, it is live. I was lucky I tested it!

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Tools every girl should own

I love tools. Hand tools, power tools, saws, drills, the works! I know not all of you ladies are like me! But there are a few tools that every woman should have in her tool box. You can buy them piece by piece, or you can find kits with basic tools at Lowes, Home Depot, or even Target or Wal-Mart. I just have one request. PLEASE do not buy the pink tool kits made for women. Please. I actually find it insulting. I love pink as much as the next girl. But just because we like pretty things does not mean that we need cheap tools decorated in pink. It makes us look like sissies who need special tools because we can’t handle real tools. So please, buy real tools. Craftsman. Black and Decker. Kobalt. Porter Cable. Just NOT pink!

Here are the basics you need to take care of your home:

First of all, get a tool box. It doesn’t need to be huge, just large enough for the basics. This is my house tool box (I do have a much larger one in my garage).

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