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Garden Stools




These cheerful seats enable you to accommodate unexpected guests in any part of the garden.

1. Buy inexpensive wooden camp stools from a camping-supply store (about $15 each), and remove the original canvas seats. Fill in the screw holes in the frame with wood putty, sand them down, and paint the supports white with milk paint. Using the original seat as a template, trace and cut out a new seat from durable tickings (either vintage or new), and sew up the edges.

2. With a staple gun, fasten one end of the new seat back to the stool, wrapping it around the crossbar twice before wrapping it around the other crossbar and stapling.

Martha Stewart Living, March 1999



Reviews (56)

  • merrijane 9 Jul, 2010

    I really want to make these, Does anyone know where I can get the wood stools? Please respond to

  • mayflowerlace 8 Jul, 2010

    This isn't how to make garden stools! It's how to make new seats for garden stools you already have! Shame, Martha!

  • tyost12 6 Jul, 2010

    here you can buy them in cases for $6.50 per stool... get together with a couple of people and buy a case.

  • tyost12 6 Jul, 2010

    check out Homemade Folding Camping Stools at ehow.

  • tyost12 6 Jul, 2010

    just looking at it, it looks simple to make. I don't know why you'd need measurments, it looks simple enough to figure out.

  • eviecorso 6 Jul, 2010

    I was all excited when I saw this project. I hoped to find the measurements to cut the wood, the sizes and types of hardware, and yardage measurements so i could get going. I have to start with a pre-made chair? So the project is really just re-covering a chair. I am very disappointed. I have the wood, tools, fabric

  • SarniaKid 22 May, 2010

    It would have been great to have the exact measurements of the wood pieces so we could make one ourselves rather than search and not be able to find one in the stores! Most camping items are aluminium and not wood so finding them would likely be difficult. They would be quite easy to make and fun as well!

  • freyabuttercup 25 Jul, 2008

    I have a stack of OLD stools like these that the material has rotted....have been wanting to recover them for years. THis description confirms how simple its going to be! And betcha you can find more used ones in garage sales or at the side of the road on garbage day too! Just ensure the condition of the wood and jointing is still good. Recycle -GO Green!

  • maryjbelle 25 Jul, 2008

    I love MS, but common sense and frugality told me when I saw this craft. I would just use the stool I bought. Check out the napkins sewn together for throw pillows -great idea.

  • dvanguilder 24 Jul, 2008

    Great idea for stool and footrest!! Thank you. Now a spin on that - couldn't you use those old wooden snack trays. The tops always get icky but they fold the same way! Plus you can get them at lots of yard sales.

  • rbee 24 Jul, 2008

    Well I for one i think this is a great little project and in fact it's inspired me to redo a fold up washing basket that is looknig a bit worse for wear (ipicked it up at kmart for $10). Line it with plastic and perhaps a nice ticking fabric on the outside. I know this is a simple project - but I am more likely to do this than make a whole stool from scratch.

  • glidelady 24 Jul, 2008

    We went one step further - instead of keeping it a seat, we took an old pillow, used same fabric, added ruffle around the pillow and placed on top of stool - Viola! a foot rest! It's beautiful. Grandma had an inexpensive foot rest when she needed to prop her feet and light enough for her to move around.

  • brendaaz 24 Jul, 2008

    I just read the note on teh garden stools from honeynutcareyo. I would love to see her chairs when she finishes the project (probably already has!).

  • sabinetroeger 16 Jun, 2008

    Im from germany, and i read this site often.....for me and my famliy are 15$ a lot,some weeks i have to buy food for 3 poeples for just 20$ i cannot aford this stools,,,,,but at yardsales or so, i got 4 for 5$.....This made me very happy .Greetings to USA

  • momofgoodson 29 May, 2008

    I've never written a comment here before, but I'm shocked at how uninspired some these comments are. I looked at this idea and thought how would I make that stool so I could have something like it. We dont all have the money to buy the frames of the stools but obviously with this list of comments most of you dont have the imagination to expand on the idea either. Thats why its called an idea and not a craft plan. Maybe you should try and do something for yourself instead of having to be spoonfed all your "i

  • honeynutcareyo 20 May, 2008

    I have a couple old chairs that i dont do anything with. They just take up space. Thanks to this idea I can rejuvenate them and give them a purpose. Thank you!!

  • radioflyermq 19 May, 2008

    Please respect the purpose of this site. We know many of you try our recipes and ideas to make your world a bit more beautiful, meaningful, and permanent. This is a place for you to share those experiences. While we welcome different viewpoints, we wonn n n n n n t allow derogatory, obscene, profane, racist or sexually explicit language. Any contribution that makes others feel unwelcome undermines the siten n n n n n s dedication to hospitality. Please keep your posts true and dignified.

  • watersedgehome 19 May, 2008

    Cute, cute, cute. I live on the water and they would be a great space saving seating solution. Thanks, Martha.

  • Jilou 19 May, 2008

    As awoman i have only respect and admiration for Marha Stewart, i knew she would come out bigger and stronger after her bad experience and she did, she is a success story. I love you Martha!!!

  • maggieo 18 May, 2008

    Wonder if the seat on a director's chair could be replaced like the campstool/?
    Rather than use the dowels in the ridges. Might be too high.

  • smay7651 18 May, 2008

    Cute Idea. I really wish everyone that just gets on here to bash the ideas would just not waste the space or our time. I can understand constructive criticism or hints to make it better, but some of you should just keep it to yourself. How many of you could come up with as many ideas as Martha and her staff do? Crafts aren't for everyone. As far as the comment about pre-prison, no one perfect and could you start from nothing and make the buisness she did? Be positive or be quiet.

  • marthastewartwannabe 18 May, 2008

    Why not buy stools you already like the color of? and just paint them ???? Has anyone used the double sided, stickers from Martha - they are not very "user friendly", you have to cut them out, they wrinkle, and the design "blobs" up with glitter??? Anyone else had that problem???

  • YvonneHvr 18 May, 2008

    I totally agree with CALIFTXN they have said what I've been thinking and that is a good thing. thank you for that.

  • PauletteW 18 May, 2008

    I agree - when I saw the e-mail, I thought I was going to get my own pattern for making a stool - not just remake a store-bought one - disappointing to say the least! Not the Martha of the old days.

  • califtxn 18 May, 2008

    This is the first time I've read any of the comments and was somewhat disappointed in the spirit of some people. Crafts presented are not for everyone. They are not tailored for each reader to do afterall we are not zombies. We each have certain tastes. I suppose I'm a bit Martha as when I look out on my patio, bedroom, etc. I like to see things that are coordinated, not mish-mash. But that's not everyone. So when a craft is presented you can either accept it gracefully and appreciate the ingenuity that went into the making of it or pass it by as it didn't interest you. But we have enough critics in this world without critizing every little thing in it. Let's be positive!!

  • insunity 18 May, 2008

    Hmm... what happened to the days when martha would show you how to make the STOOL and not just how to recover it?! I think it's super cute but I remember BACK in the day (pre-prison ;)) she'd make a whole friggin' table on her show as well as teach you a reciepe and and new flower arrangement! Do you think it's because people are getting lazier?? JUST A QUESTION! I'm not accusing anyone or being "witchy", it's just something I've been thinking about for a couple of years!

  • sillyswede 18 May, 2008

    I happen to think this is a great idea!! Yes, I would probably just imbellish the original canvas covers to begin with but would definitely keep this project in mind for when they wear out or loot tattered from being outside. No, I don't happen to have the room to hang them, but com'on people, if you don't care for Martha's ideas just stop reading them. It is a choice afterall, just like I choose to use some of her ideas, and not others

  • katiebugblue 18 May, 2008

    turn this around 45 degrees, and you have a nice luggage holder for your guest room

  • winecrafter 18 May, 2008

    look for the camp stools at the Scout supply stores, garage sales, and the crafts stores in their unfinished woods area

  • maggitaffi 18 May, 2008

    Please people, why strike out at this source of fun for a lot of us?? I enjoy ideas and so what if I never use some of them! Open your minds a bit more! Most of these ideas here are just to plant an idea in your head and give you something to build on! Enjoy or don't read them!

  • WINDJAMMER 18 May, 2008

    I have done a similar "trick" with common director chairs --those chairs made similar to the camp stool, just larger and with a back too. I removed the canvas; they just slide off --both the upper (back) and the seat pieces, and painted both pieces to my liking, then repositioned to the frame. It's "canvas" just waiting for a frustrated artist's touch!!!! (<: And, it is a sure way to very inexpensively accent any room or patio --and your artistic talent!! (<:

  • katiescho 18 May, 2008

    Seriously? Arguing on Martha about stools? People, grow up and appreciate that Martha and her staff come up with thousands of ideas to keep us all entertained and interested. Let's remember what our mothers always said..."if you don't have anything nice to say....." You know the rest.

  • auntiejen 18 May, 2008

    Cute idea. I would try the fabric and also try to fabric paint the canvas already on the chair. Maybe even stencil ladybugs or flowers on the wood. Fun, Fun.

  • paddywhisky 18 May, 2008

    Does any one know where we get camp stools and for $9 -$10? Send me a link or post it please.


  • foxinthewoods 18 May, 2008

    These are really pretty and a lot more environmentally friendly than plastic. $90 for 6 new beautiful seats is a reasonable price. Yes $90 is a lot of money, but you couldn't buy all these in a catalog for that price, you'd be spending a lot more. Plus this is custom work. If you would enjoy doing it, I think it's worth it.

  • colleenancel 18 May, 2008

    I'm not sure why some of you feel the need to be vicious to each other. If it floats your boat, do it, if not--MOVE ON.

  • enie 18 May, 2008

    Being a woodworker I would just buy just one and use it as a template to build as many as I needed! Now that's fun!

  • paddywhisky 17 May, 2008

    Looks nice, but I am still trying to find a stool like these..

  • carlavan 17 May, 2008

    I think if it makes you smile why not! The stools are a fun project and great for that special day at the beach etc. Every idea isnt for everybody!

  • janwinje 17 May, 2008

    I'm sorry, life is just too short to buy new chairs and remake them. Why?

  • Gramzie 17 May, 2008

    Well, I think changing the fabric to coordinate with other items in your garden is fine. It is such a small piece of fabric, that it would not be expensive. Another alternative would be to use acrylic patio paint to create designs on the canvas of the stool. That would personalize the stools and could be done in a manner that would also coordinate through color or theme and the stools would be very unique and beautiful.

  • sharoncsernyant 17 May, 2008

    camp stools

  • ulihelisdi 17 May, 2008

    What a great idea.

  • wduke2 17 May, 2008

    Very cute idea. However if it's going to be outside, I would use sunbrella material or other outdoor fabric.


  • pelican66 17 May, 2008

    heck i want to make an overhead ceiling fan from the canoe paddles! lol

  • Anna_Marie 17 May, 2008

    I want the pretty white boarded room to hang them in! lol

  • yvaineschulz 17 May, 2008

    Beautiful idea if you plan to coordinate the fabric with other garden items, such as tables, shading tents, etc. Where I live, plastic chairs would burn your behind, and are the worst of ideas unless they are recycled plastic...
    By the way, crafts are not always the cheapest to go, but always the elegant solution, that is if you are the artistic type. Otherwise, don't even try.

  • Mary_MAK 17 May, 2008

    Anne, I agree. Not every-thing is for every-body. Something new and fresh is always welcome for me. Try lugging your plastic chairs to the beach.....these are bright, cheerful -- you could do something fabulous for a theme party just with the fabric.

  • Annehwalker 17 May, 2008

    I like this idea. Like all crafts, it's the reader's choice to invest the time and money or not. There's nothing wrong with taking an inexpensive item and making it more lovely.

  • PinkGranny 17 May, 2008

    I like the new fabric; the stripes are cheerful!

  • judithuk 17 May, 2008

    this is beyond pretentious. For a lot less time and money you could buy the ubiquitous cheap plastic stackable chairs, make some cushions- and be a lot more comfortable

  • GromitGirl 17 May, 2008

    I really didn't think the mean spiritedness was necessary. :)

  • KaterTot 17 May, 2008

    I guess at 15.00 for a nicer looking stool, with a cool covering, that will last a long time, she figures it's worth it. The fabric isn't cheap or easy to secure, "unless you're Martha," I guess :)

  • dotsonjudy 17 May, 2008

    Why not just buy inexpensive camp stools? The only reason I would replace the covers would be because they were old and worn out. Why waste money?

  • agthomas57 17 May, 2008

    I guess you have to judge it by the cost of six stools of another type. Resin is cheap...possibly less comfortable and/or attractive.

  • seif 17 May, 2008

    Inexpensive camp stools, let's see, she's showing $90 worth in the picture. Not inexpensive in my home.