Retro School Stools

Not sure about you, though typographics always seem to catch my eye.

These stools were originally salvaged from an old secondary college where I assume they were used in woodwork class as most of them have what look like saw cuts, nail holes and chisel marks, not to mention the obligatory “Mark waz ere” and “Sharon luvs Paul’ graffitied on their undersides.

Here they are before:

When I first brought six of these stools home everyone thought I was crazy – myself included to be honest. I loved the pared back industrial feel of them though they were a little too raw for me. I wanted to freshen them up (a bit) and add something eye-catching. I wasn’t quite sure what, however, so the stools sat in the garage for a while until I finally had a brain wave which told me to make three stencils from old x-ray slides (see, there is some use in those seemingly defunct internal photo sheets) and use them to paint some funky looking numbers on the seats!

Before I added the numbers, I lightly sanded each seat before wiping on a diluted walnut stain to add some extra depth and richness. Once dry, I stencilled on the numbers with standard acrylic craft paint. To finish I applied two coats of my beloved danish oil.

I decided to leave the naturally distressed metal legs in original condition. I adore the extra character the old screws provide too.

I recently sold two sets of these stools to a client who has three children and wanted to use three at her breakfast bar and one in each of their bedrooms as little side tables – how cute.

  1. Kerry says:

    They are awesome you clever thing!

  2. Sarah B says:

    These are really fabulous – I love them! You re such a talented lady! :)

  3. The shape is great on these, Kristine. I could see them making for little accent tables, as well as being used for stools. The font on your stencil really suits these, too.

  4. Cute idea!!

  5. I have admired these stools in your sidebar. They are simply fabulous! It truly takes a well-trained eye to see beyond the battle scars. Did you enlarge the numbers at chain printing place like our Office Max?

  6. you already know i HEART these stools! they are awesome!

  7. elizabeth says:

    I love these!

  8. Oh, Those are gorgeous! I love the numbers. Fabulous!

  9. gina3 says:

    Those are one of my favorite things I’ve seen anywhere in blogland! I would love to find some exactly the same and do what you did to them.

  10. I really love everything you do! These came out FANTASTIC!


  11. sharon says:

    Clever you! Great idea! Do your children fight for 1st place at breakfast?

  12. love them,, wish I could get so lucky and find some like them. They would make a great gift for my sister.

  13. Cindy says:

    Those are great stools and what you did with them makes them look so original. Wonderful brainwave!

  14. Charity says:

    Those are so cute! You aren’t crazy for picking them up!! haha. Great job, I like how you placed it like a little table.

  15. The stools look fantastic Kristine, great job!!

  16. chair up says:

    These stools are great Kristine, takes me back to high school science lessons.
    The fabric on my chairs was el-cheapo from Spotlight. I have actually used the reverse of the fabric (the right side of the fabric is black!) The print on the side says it is inspire Aurora”by hf. Home Fabrics 100% cotton.

  17. angela says:

    They are great, nice job!! My husband worked at a university for a while and they toss a lot of really cool things in the dumpsters. I miss that part of his job!!

  18. LOVe these stools!

    Found you via Miss Mustard Seed . . .

  19. Lylah Ledner says:

    I’m brand new to your spot in the blog world and LOVE not only this post BUT your theme…making a home for honey!

    lylah xoxo

  20. Struggler says:

    Yes, I noticed these in your sidebar today. They’re awesome and I bet you could sell them a hundred times over!

  21. Kenzie says:

    Amazing! I love them!

  22. Tina says:

    I have admired these in the pic on your sidebar, now I love them even more! They are amazing Kristine!!! Love them:) Wishing you a wonderful weekend ~ Tina xx

  23. Kerri says:

    Ooh, love these! I wish you’d been around with all your goodies when my kids were younger, I would have snapped these up straight away. You are just too clever for words! K xx

  24. Christina says:

    These are great! Love them.

  25. Happy Nester says:

    I love love those stools! Great job.

  26. Those stools are so cool. I don’t think I would’ve seen the potential in them, but they are very industrial chic and fit in perfectly with your look.

  27. These are so awesome!!!

  28. Oh I love those! Great job!

  29. CoopDeVilla says:

    Love this idea. I have to get up to speed with graphics such as yours. Great Blog too.

  30. I absolutely love these! You make me wish I had 8 stools (I have 8 kids) to go stencil right now! What a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

  31. Atticmag says:

    Very effective when they’re lined up and “read”. Well done. Jane F.

  32. Tricia says:

    Simply splendid! Love them.

  33. Anita says:

    I like them all lined up like that. Makes a nice buffet for an area without a lot of space.

  34. Laura says:

    These are awesome. What a transformation!

    I’m having a blog party tomorrow and I’d love it if you linked up!

  35. These are SO COOL! I want to make some! Thanks so much for linking on Favorite Things Friday!

  36. Ok so I just found you (through Funky Junk’s SNS link up) and Im in LOVE with your blog. These stools NEED to be in my home! Im going to be on the hunt now!
    Question: although they wouldnt look nearly as good as these, whats your thought on doing this technique to those generic TV tray tables that can be easily found?
    Oh and one more thing: LOVE your header. My hubby is a beekeeper on the side so we know all about the hive, we call each other honey,etc… Im your newest follower and cant wait to catch up on what Ive been missing!

  37. SweetMelissa says:

    Absolutely LOVING your stools and your treatment to them!!! They are now at the top of my “junk hunting” list!


  38. Jane says:

    Wahoo…I love these! They are so vintage and fun and pottery barnish…all of my favorite things! Thanks for linkin’ up to Frugalicious Friday!

    Finding Fabulous

  39. Rose says:

    oh my goodness, they are soooo cute! I love the way you stenciled them. What a great idea!
    (followed link from FJI SNS)

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  41. wow, kristine!!! i love it!!! you did an awesome job! i made a comment before i realized it was you…then had to delete it because i said i was your newest follower.,..haha…what a nut…ok, so LOVING the “st, nd, and rd” after the numbers…brilliant!!


  42. Autumn says:

    These are simply amazing. I’ve so enjoyed your blog and your cute wit. The tutorial on finishes was super-helpful! Refurbishing furniture is a passion of mine too and it’s always great to learn a trick or two to help.
    Autumn Clark

  43. Pink Pig says:

    Tons of inspiration on your blog. I love the stools and actually saw something very similar when i was at the NY Gift Show.

  44. I love these! I just discovered your blog – can’t wait to see more of your projects. :)

  45. bestyjeczka says:

    They look fantastic! I love the arrangement with phrenology head. Great job!

  46. CBelle says:

    Wow! I love these tables!


  47. Oh my gosh I LOVE those tables! They turned out amazing! LOVE what you did to transform them! :)

  48. Kate says:

    Just found your blog through CSI…what fabulous style! These stools are to die for. Thanks for sharing!

  49. Margie says:

    Those stools are fabulous! I would have grabbed them right up in their original state, but the stenciling made them extra special.

  50. Hahaha–looking through CSI projects and the first 2 I have looked at have been yours–I see a theme here! Your work is great!!

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