Monday, August 16, 2010

DIY Project: Nils Stool Ikea Hack

Heya Nesters! Lately, I've been working hard to prepare for today, Matt's 26th birthday, and what do you get for the man that has everything? Ikea stools. Yep! You read right!  You see, he collects Japanese arcade machines that require the player to sit {as opposed to American where you stand generally} and has longed for some replacement stools for the wooden Ikea ones he has now: 

He had mentioned that he really wanted the Ikea Nils stool as the replacement.

But a plain stool just isn't his style, so he asked if I could pizazz it up a little and make the pair look a little retro with some sparkle vinyl covers to give it a vintage diner feel. 

So, I gave my mouse a work out and searched for glitter vinyl by the yard.  I quickly came across's supply of Sparkle Vinyl.

My next step was choosing the colors: YIKES! Matt's condo is very warm tones in golds, browns, and creams. So I decided to go with a classic color match-up: gold and black.  

I bought one yard of each and a speedy 48 hours later I had it in hand! Let me tell you: it looks even better in person!  **High Five!**

My next step was to gather the rest of the goods: 2 Nils stools, 1 package of sharp machine needles, black thread. 

So here goes nothing! This is how you get your stools and all you need to bring to this a project is a wrench... which of course I lost mine in the move and had to go out and buy one. But no harm all I needed to make the covers was the seat.  The best part about this project, is that when you don't buy the cover for the stool-- they're only $35!! Way less than I had anticipated paying. Score! 

Ok so now I started in on my patternmaking:

The seat is 13"X13" and taking into consideration my 1/2" seam allowance, I cut a 14"X7" rectangle out of paper and marked it "cut on fold".  {If you aren't all that familiar with sewing, cut on fold is exactly as it sounds, lay the pattern on the folded edge of the fabric to cut a mirror image.}

Then the sides required a little more complicated pattern.  You see, the under side of the stools have strips of Velcro to secure the slipcover, so we need to take the fold under into consideration, in addition of the legs and having to make sure the fabric will curl around them properly. This is how my pattern piece turned out. 

Notice this piece also calls for a cut-on-fold and I've already cut one of my 4 pieces. {Be careful not to pin this fabric too much, as it could perforate and tear.}  Here is what all my pieces look like cut out.

I wanted to change it up and really give the vintage two-tone look so, I'll be using the black on the top of one, with gold sides and the reverse on the other.

1) I started by stitching strips of Soft Stitch Velcro  on the lip of each of the 4 side pieces.  The stools come with the rough side of Velcro attached in order to adhere a cover to, so I worked with that and stitched some of the soft side to the lip of each side. {Be sure you do not buy the stick on Velcro. It won't stand up over time and will peel off, and don't even try stitching through it it will really mess up your needle and potentially do damage to your machine.} 

2) Next, I pinned all of the 4 side pieces with right sides together, to create a square and stitched.

3) I measured out 4 1.5" strips of scrap vinyl to create the piping effect.  Each strip needs to be at least 14" long.  If you cut it longer, it can be trimmed once it's sewn on but be sure not to cut it shorter or it will create an unsightly seam in the middle of your piping!

4) Once cut, I folded each strip in half, wrong sides together. Then I stitched one strip at a time on each edge.  Be sure to line up the raw edge of the piping with the raw edge of the top piece and stitch at 1/2".

Here's a peek of what it looks like with all the 4 strips stitched down.

5) Now, it's time to put all the elements together! Almost done!  Lets take the square we made out of the 4 side pieces and pin it to the top and piping.  The best way to tackle this delicate step, pin only 2 opposite sides together at a time and stitch.  Then pin the other 2 opposite sides and stitch. This will help you ease all the pieces together evenly. When stitching all the layers together, it's a good idea to have the stitch-line from the piping facing up so that you can use it as a guide.  If you let your needle flow exactly on the 1/2" stitch-line or just a hair to the left, you will not see any construction when you flip it right side out.  So make sure to keep the needle slow and steady as to not drift to the right of the stitch-line.

So, this is what it would look like with all the elements sewn together and after having trimmed the piping. Make sure the piping is sewn so that it curls toward the raw edges so it wont poke out the right side when its flipped.

Once it was put on the base, you might want to trim the Velcro flaps a smidge because the vinyl has a tendency to stretch as you work with it and may need to be trimmed just around the legs.

And there you have it: Custom, vintage-looking stools!  Don't you love IKEA hacks? I think its so much fun to make all these great basics more unique and personalized! I hope Matt likes them when I reveal them to him tonight! {How can he not... look how COOL they came out!?}

Alrighty Nesters, well, as with any of my DIY projects, you know how to get in touch with me if you have any questions.  I'd love to hear how your process went and if you ran into any issues or short-cuts!  Let us know!


  1. Neat idea - the fabric selection reminds me of roller skating on Friday nights when I was growing up!
    Dropping by from How To's Day. Hope you'll come see the informal picture wall How To I did for DD2.


  2. What were the measurements for the side pieces?

  3. Hi anonymous! Which measrements in particular? Ill have to find the patterns if you want all the measurement! Haha that lift take a bit. I just measured my stools and added 1/2" seam allowance. Does that help? Ill get back to you with the details!

  4. I haven't picked up the stools but was in the mood for a sewing project. I really just need to know the indent for the legs. I found the height of the sides, etc but don't know how much to cut out for the legs. (and thank you for the quick response)

  5. Do you recall the size of the notches on the side pieces?

  6. It was around 2". It was the size of the width of the leg. If you have the stool, you can measure the leg and get the measurement of the notch. How silly I didnt add that in! :) Thanks for reading!!


Heya Nesters! I always love your feedback! So dish, because we all want to hear it! <3