How to Upcycle a Washing Machine Drum into a Footstool

upholstering tutorial step by step diy tips for footstool

Currys invited me to an upcycling event where they set a few crafts bloggers a challenge. They asked us to recycle old washing machine drums into either a lampshade, table or footstool. So, I chose to do a footstool and had only a few hours to make it!

The event took place at The Old School Club in London. So if you’d like to learn crafting skills, from sewing to upholstering and woodwork too, this is definitely the place to visit.

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How to Make and Upholster a Footstool

how to paint metal and make a footstall upcycle recycle diy tips blog

how to upholster for a seat or stool diy blog tutorial

how to upholster upcycle a seat old school club london diy

branches and artistic nature decoration on furniture footstool

1. Paint your Base

In my case it was the metal washing machine drum provided by Currys.

Think about what material your base it, i.e. metal or wood, and buy your paint accordingly to ensure that it doesn’t come off when you’re finished.

2. Upholster your Stool

Whilst waiting for your base to dry, start on making the top. Firstly we had to measure out the top and decide on how big or small we’d like it to sit on top of the base. I chose to go half a centimeter bigger in diameter so that it’s easier to pick up the top if I’m ever to use the inside as storage.

Once the top was made out of very thick and strong chipboard I cut out foam roughly measuring the same. I glued the foam onto the top and then used thick white cotton fabric to upholster it. I laid the fabric out flat on the foam and then carefully turned it round, ensuring that it wasn’t creased and fastened it on the inside using a staple gun. I started on one side, then fastened the opposite side, then the sides. I then worked my way around, all the time carefully checking that the top is smooth from creases.

It gets tricky towards the end, so try and pull as hard as you can and get help if need be and fold the fabric on the inside because no one will see that.

Top Tip: Keep checking for creases and undo the staples if it goes wrong to try again! 

Video: Here’s a useful upholstering video if you’re having trouble

3. Add Decorative Fabric

I wanted the stool to look quite chic so I used another thick off-white fabric and upholstered that onto what I’ve just described above. Feel free to add colour and pattern but I do recommend to stick to thick fabrics so that the look is much more effective and that it’s easier to work with too.

4. Decorate by Painting & Being Artistic

As you can see from the pictures, I painted on pretty branches. I did it roughly to add to that ‘imperfect’ chic look that usually works well when upcycling rustic furniture. As I didn’t have much time to do it too I simply used the dabbing effect to finish off the leaves on the branches.

I added wax after the paint dried which I then buffered with a cotton fabric once a few hours passed.

Have a look at all of the projects by searching #UpcyclewithCurrys on twitter!

Alina is the founder and writer of The Fairytale Pretty Picture blog whilst working full time as an SEO specialist at a growing online-only retailer called Amara. She owns a beautiful white Alsatian and lives in Essex with her husband.


  • May 4, 2015

    Melanie Kay Zelnick

    These pieces are all really cool!
    Melanie @

    • June 10, 2015


      It was hard work but worth it!

  • May 17, 2015


    There I am! It was so nice to see you again and I absolutely loved your footstool! xxx


    • June 10, 2015


      Lovely to see you, I had so much fun! Yours was awesome footstool too 🙂