Painting your footstool’s upholstery is a fun way to give it a fresh new look

DIY Your Own Hand-Printed Footstool
Printing using string, card, foam, lino, sponge, potatoes, and polystyrene (to name just a few of the things I’ve used on furniture and fabric) has always been one of my favorite ways of making pattern. Each item gives a slightly different paint print—the ones created by materials such as polystyrene and lino are almost crisp, while those produced by sponge, for example, are soft-edged. I love the chance, uneven, and inconsistent printed result. I used upholsterers’ piping cord to print this footstool because it is soft and absorbs paint well. I also like the broken-line effect created by this rolled cord. You could use string instead of cord, if you wish, although you may find some types of string have a coating that stops the paint adhering at all, which means the print will be unsatisfactory. So, test a few different types before you get going. The block is simply a discarded piece of wood that was left over after making some shelves. You’ll discover that printing on a colored fabric is better than printing on white fabric if you’re using quite strong colors. The fabric here is a mid-tone, neutral, textured natural linen. Play around with making various patterns and using different colors on paper or scraps of fabric before committing to a design. Use a generous piece of fabric, so you can choose the best design for your upholstery. 


  • Small project pot of Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan in Emperor’s Silk and Henrietta
  • Wooden block
  • Hot glue gun
  • Upholsterer’s piping or soft cord
  • Annie Sloan MixMat
  • Small, flat brush
  • Annie Sloan Coloured Linen in French Linen & Old White
  • Rag cloth
  • Iron and ironing board


1. Take the wooden block and apply a couple of spots of hot glue to one end. Wrap the cord around the wood and, as you wrap, allow it to be both slanted and straight. Add more spots of hot glue as you wrap. Pay attention to each side of the wood, so you can use both sides for printing. The slanting of the cord is part of the joy. (Although hot glue isn’t essential, it does ensure that the cord doesn’t slip out of place and smudge the paint.)
2. Working on the MixMat, apply an even layer of Emperor’s Silk to the cord with the flat brush. Before applying the paint to the fabric, check that the paint is even and printing well. The first prints are often a little uneven until the paint is properly absorbed by the cord.
3. Print rows of stripes in Emperor’s Silk first, leaving gaps between rows that are wide enough for the rows in the second color of Henrietta. Keep printing until the fabric is covered with the striped design.
4. Wipe off the excess Emperor’s Silk with the rag cloth and use the reverse side of the block for the Henrietta print.
5. Print the stripes in Henrietta in the gaps between the rows of red stripes. Once dry, iron the fabric to set the paint.
For instructions on upholstering the footstool, visit
Keep Reading: