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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

  • Claire Douglas

How to make an easy DIY footstool from scratch

DIY Footstool: the easiest footstool you'll ever make!

DIY footstool grey upholstered footstool

Creating a DIY footstool from scratch is a pretty easy project that allows you to customize a unique piece of furniture in little time with minimal effort; perfect for a living room, bedroom or small spaces like a reading nook. In this step-by-step tutorial, I'll show you how to construct a sturdy footstool using constructional timber and plywood, and then cover it with upholstery foam, batting, and fabric. 

I'll let you into a secret: I actually wanted to buy a very similar footstool that popped up on my H&M app, but they sold out really quickly, and when I looked in more detail, they were £119 each! I realised that I could make a very similar one for very little cost (under £30), so I decided to give it a whirl. It worked so well that I knew I needed to write a quick tutorial so you can have a go too. Then months passed with a million busy things happening as it always the case. Today's the day, so here goes...

You will need:

  • Constructional timber (I used 2 pieces from B&Q at £3.50 each)

  • Plywood - I had some leftover from my DIY wardrobe door project, but you can buy sheets very cheaply if you don't have offcuts. MDF would also work.

  • Thick foam - Mine was a bargain from an eBay seller. 

  • Quilt batting

  • Upholstery fabric

  • Staple gun

  • Spray mount

  • Wood screws

  • Drill with wood bit and countersink bit is helpful too. 

  • Tape measure

How to make a DIY footstool from scratch in 5 easy steps

1. Prepare the Wooden Frame

wood laid out for diy footstool

Measure and cut the constructional timber to the desired length for the frame of your footstool. Consider the perfect leg height for your needs and test it out before you commit. 

You'll need two legs and one connecting piece for each half

drill bit drilling into wood for diy footstool
clamps holding wood for diy wooden footstool

Assemble the frame by joining the pieces together using wood glue and reinforcing with wood screws.

wooden base for diy footstool
two parts of the base of a diy footstool

You can use pocket holes for extra stability if desired, but I don't have a pocket hole jig, so I used a countersink drill bit to ensure the screw heads were flat after drilling pilot holes for the longest screws I could fit in the wood for added stability.

diy footstool

Honestly, don't worry if you can't do this because there is so much padding above that the screw heads won't make a bit of difference. 

Ensure the frame is square-shaped and sturdy before proceeding to the next step. This is important as you don't want a wobbly stool. 

2. Create the Plywood Base

diy footstool base
wooden base of a diy footstool

Measure and cut a piece of plywood to fit the top of the wooden frame, and another for each end.

Attach the plywood to the top of the frame using wood glue and wood screws. 

diy wooden footstool

Make sure it's secured tightly to provide a stable base for the footstool.

3. Add Upholstery Foam

diy footstool woth foam over wooden base

Measure the dimensions of the plywood base and cut the thick foam to fit accordingly.

Place the foam on top of the plywood, ensuring it covers the entire surface evenly.

Secure the foam to the plywood using a spray mount, applying adhesive along the edges and centre to prevent shifting. Don't breath the spray mount fumes in as it's really bad for you. 

4. Add a layer of batting/wadding

batting laid out on floor for dit footstool
diy footstool with foam and wadding base

Wrap the wadding/batting around the plywood base, leaving some excess batting around the edges.4.2. Place the batting over the foam layer, smoothing out any wrinkles or bumps.4.3. Use a staple gun to secure the batting to the underside of the plywood, pulling it tightly for a smooth finish. 

5. Attach the fabric to DIY footstool

fabric laid out over diy footstool
fabric being attached to wooden footstool

Choose your upholstery fabric and cut it to size, leaving enough excess for wrapping around the edges.

Lay the fabric right side down on a flat surface.

Place the padded plywood base upside down on the fabric.

stapling fabric onto wooden diy footstool
attaching the fabric to legs of diy footstool

Pull the fabric taut over the base and staple it ain the centre of the underside, starting from the centre of each side and working your way outwards down one side. Once you've attached one half, move to the opposite side and pull taut and tuck the material neatly under the stool stapling down the centre line. With this no-sew method, you can see the underside slightly at some angles, so it pays to be neat and to fold the raw edge under so it doesn't show. 

6. Finishing Touches (Optional)

If desired, paint or spray the feet that poke out below the material. Using metallic paint would work well for a luxe or industrial look. Consider adding decorative elements like trim or buttons on the top of the footstool for a personal touch. 

DIY footstool: easy custom furniture

Your handmade footstool makes the perfect (unique) accent piece. As you can see, crafting a DIY footstool from scratch is an easy DIY project that allows you to create a personalized piece for your home. By following this step-by-step tutorial, you can transform constructional timber and plywood into a sturdy and stylish footstool that adds extra seating and a touch of charm to any room.

I loved creating this one because it only requires basic tools and can be made from offcuts of wood, materials and leftover fabric if you have some, making the whole thing really affordable. You also don't need to use a sewing machine (sewing machines are my nemesis!) as this no-sew method works for any skill level. The entire project can be completed in under a day, half a day if you get organised and have everything to hand.

If a DIY footstool doesn't appeal, you could use the same method to create a DIY ottoman, upholstered side table, or step stool by changing the dimensions of the wood base.  

​Tips for success with a DIY footstool

  • Adapt to suit your own interior style; you could use boucle fabric for minimaluxe texture or even go eclectic by using an old pair of jeans for the piece of fabric!

  • Top tip: as you don't need a large piece of fabric for this project, the remnant basket in the fabric store often has reduced pieces that cost very little but would be perfect for this project. 

  • If you don't like square-shaped wooden stools, you could create a curve by cutting down the tops of the footstool legs and adding more foam and layers of batting. 

Where next?

Here are some DIY furniture-related posts you might enjoy…

Thanks so much for reading. I'd love to keep you up to date with future DIY, decorating, interior styling and upcycling projects, if you would like to receive my (not more than weekly & no spamming I promise) emails then please subscribe by scrolling down to the box at the bottom of the page.  


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