Cowhide Print Footstool

How many footstools does one person need?  If you are like me then lots!  They are such a versatile multi-use piece of furniture.  This cowhide print footstool has already been in three different rooms and I refinished it just a few weeks ago.

Cowhide print footstool DIY ProjectThe footstool makeover frenzy started when I made white slipcovers for a pair of artificial leather footstools – which were very successful.  My husband encouraged me to use an ottoman instead of a coffee table in our living room so I re-upholstered a much loved and cat scratched leather ottoman, to create a tufted footstool in a grey graphic fabric, which I think looks great in the room (the article for this is coming up soon).

I found a pair of stacked footstools years ago and a few months later I found another pair that were almost identical – including having ripped fabric on one of the stools. Unfortunately they had different finishes – one pair had a clear varnish and the other was stained a medium brown so I cannot create a stack of the 4 footstools together!

Ethan Allen Footstool Before

I picked all of the footstools up at two different second hand stores and it was ages before I turned them over and looked closely enough to notice that both sets had Ethan Allen stamped on them – a sure sign of quality.

Ethan Allen Stacked Footstools - before makeover

When it came to refinishing the footstools, I decided to tackle them together and I worked on all 4 of the stacking stools over a weekend. In hindsight, I could have put the ‘good’ upholstered cushions onto one pair of matching wooden bases, and then just refinished the damaged ones, but then I would not have had the chance to experiment with the two different and interesting types of fabric: faux cowhide and woven faux leather.

In today’s article, I will focus on the cowhide using the darker stained pair of frames.  Because these stools have a relatively small surface area I thought they would be ideal for a dramatic print, and I had looked a several different animal prints before I found this one.  I liked different shades of cream, tan and brown and the abstract print and thought the print would work very well to create a cowhide print footstool.

I started by unscrewing the cushion from the wooden frame, then I used a knife and pliers to remove the old fabric.  It was very well made, with multiple pieces of fabric used to create well shaped cutaways in each corner which allowed for the stools to be stacked together.

Reupholstering footstool using cowhide fabricMy challenge was to create the same effect but with a single piece of fabric.  I achieved this by sewing two seams at each corner to gather the excess fabric.  To make it really simple, I marked the 8 corners using a pencil, then I folded the fabric right side together and sewed a triangle of the same size at each point.

Marking fabric for footstool

Using faux cowhide fabric to reupholster stool

I then stapled the fabric onto the plywood base, re-using the existing foam, which was in great shape.

Recovering footstool using cowhide fabric - tutorial

The frame was splitting at one of the corners so Andy put on some glue and held it together with a clamp while the glue dried.  Little’n decided to check it out and of course test the theory ‘if I fits I sits’.

If I fits I sits

The frame was in pretty good shape otherwise, but the finish was showing signs of wear so I gave it a very light sanding and one coat of Minwax polyshades in gloss, and that evened up the color and gave it a glossy finish.

Using a single piece of fabric saves a lot of time and the darts compensated for the excess fabric at the corners.  Cowhide is a hot trend right now and this makeover really modernized these footstools.

UPDATE: I found a beautifully styled footstool on Pinterest which inspired me to re-take a feature photo.  See below:

Cowhide footstool - DIY upholstery

Cowhide footstool makeover tutorial

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