In this guide I’ll show you how I made this footstool, with a steel welded frame, and an upholstered top using a beautiful coffee sack.
This is my first ever project welding, so I was still trying to figure a lot out. The welds get better as it goes on, but overall I am very happy with it. I’ve also never made any furniture like this before, so already know what I would do differently in regards to the top. But I hope you enjoy!
For this build, you will need;
- 40mm Box Section Steel (UK)
- 40mm Box Section Steel (USA)
- 18mm Plywood (UK)
- 3/4″ Plywood (USA)
- 2″ Upholstery Foam (UK)
- 2″ Upholstery Foam (USA)
- Metal Cutting Saw (UK)
- Metal Cutting Saw (USA)
- Angle Grinder (UK)
- Angle Grinder (USA)
- 40 Grit Flap Disc (UK)
- 40 Grit Flap Disc (USA)
- Black Spray Paint (UK)
- Black Spray Paint (USA)
- Spray Adhesive (UK)
- Spray Adhesive (USA)
- Chalk Paint Pen (UK)
- Chalk Paint Pen (USA)
- Upholstery Tacks (UK)
- Upholstery Tack (USA)
- Coffee Sack (UK)
- Coffee Sack (USA)
Step 1: Cut Steel
I started by taking my 40mm box section steel and cutting it down to size. I was using an Evolution Mitre Saw. This is great for cutting through steel like this, made very quick work of it. Not all saws are suitable for cutting steel, so make sure yours is. I needed to start with 2 x rectangles to start, one for the top and one for the bottom. I wasn’t really sure how big to make this footstool, they seem to sell them all different sizes but I decided to go with 40cm x 50cm. It seemed like a decent size 2 people could rest their feet on, or can double up as stool if we have guests.
I made a series of mitre cuts at 45° so they would all join together nicely. When cutting metal like this make sure to use a face protection and decent gloves.
Step 2: Frame Up & Weld
As I said, this is my first time welding. I bought a cheap arc welder second hand on eBay to try and teach myself. This is my first actual elding project so please don’t judge too hard. I used some welders magnets to hold the frame together while I ran some beads. You can use whatever welder you have/want. I then used a welding hammer to chip off the slag that forms over the welds. I then had to go back and add a bit more weld in a few places but mostly was fine.
I then took a 40 grit flap disc on my angle grinder. This is where you can really see how good your welds are. I was really surprised how well they came out and pretty happy with them. I went over all them all with this to tidy it all up.
Step 3: Uprights
I cut down 4 bits of steel at 25cm for the vertices. Here I made a bit of a mistake and cut one of them short. In the end, I decided to embrace my mistakes and make it 3 leg stool. It is more than solid enough and I think it give it a really cool look.
Step 4: Keeping Tabs
I needed to make some tabs hold the wood and foam base onto the frame. I found some scrap steel I had lying around and marked up 4 x 6cm long strips. I swapped out the flap disc for a metal cutting disc. My cuts left the metal a little rough around the edges, it’s not really a problem as they won’t be seen or touched as they are under the frame. But I didn’t like leaving round, so I took them over to my belt grinder and just smoothed out the edges.
I drew a line along the length of each of them, just off centre. And marked a centre hole to drill. I wanted the hole to be further away from the frame and closer to the middle of the footstool. I made sure to use some oil and drilled a 4mm hole in each of the tabs.
I turned the frame upside down so the top was on the ground, and marked the centre of each bar. Then I lined up the holes on each tab with the centre lines on the frame. And welded them onto the frame.
Step 5: Paint
Once the frame was all done I took some matt black spray paint. I did two coats of this leaving a good 2/3 hours in between to dry. This is more than enough time, but my workshop was freezing cold and it was taking ages to dry. It’s important to let the paint dry fully in between layers.
I was tempted to grind the whole thing shiny and use a clear coat but my welds weren’t quite good enough for that. Next project I will definitely do that.
Step 6: Foam
I used the frame to mark out the exact size on a sheet of 18mm plywood. I then cut this down to size. Then I used the wood to mark out the size I needed to cut the foam. I used some 2″ thick upholstery foam. I was tempted to go thicker but I think 2″ was perfect in the end.
You can see in the video I used a razor blade to cut the foam, this didn’t work terribly well and left with me one pretty bad edge. I’ve since learnt it’s best to use something like a bread knife to cut through this.
I used some spray adhesive and put some on the wood and some of the foam. I let it sit for 2 or 3mins until it was tacky, then stuck the 2 together. It’s important to check your spray adhesive is okay to use with foam, some of them actually eat through the foam so be careful!
Step 7: Wadding
I use some thick wadding in between the foam and the coffee sack. I trimmed it down so there was a fair bit of overhang and used a staple gun to pin down it down.
Step 8: Coffee Bag
My friends run a coffee roasting company, (Monsoon Coffee) Go check them out they make amazing coffee! They let me have one of their coffee sacks. I trimmed it down to size and did exactly the same as the wadding, just a staple gun to pin it down. I cut the corners before folding it over to help it all sit a little bit more flat.
Step 9: Tacky
I’m really glad I did this step, I think it really makes the whole project work. I got this black upholstery tacks. I hammered through through the sack, wadding and straight into the plywood. I did this every 6cm or so. This will also help hold the coffee sack taught but was mainly for the aesthetics. Then all that was left to do was screw the top down onto the frame.
Step 10: Final Images
I’m really happy with the finished thing. I really enjoyed teaching myself to weld and think it looks great. Also learned to embrace mistakes, as I think the floating 3 leg look is really interesting.