I don’t know about you, but one of the best parts of showing off my home is when someone asks where an item is from and I can tell them I’ve made it myself. Whether it’s something I’ve upcycled or built from scratch, or a craft project that I’ve painstakingly poured over, it’s such a sense of satisfaction when someone admires it. Over the years I’ve updated many a piece of furniture and aside from paint, you can’t beat adding a new pair of legs. I had a sideboard in my living room that used to sit squarely on the floor and although I still liked the design of the doors and the colour, it just felt a bit dated – a new pair of legs though and it was different again.
The type of legs you choose can make a real difference, too, which is why I was really happy to work with The Hairpin Leg Company on a recent project – they have a fantastic range to choose from. It’s easy to see why hairpins are such a design classic, as they are just incredibly modern and edgy – plus they come in lots of different shades, so if you want to add a bit of colour to a table or chest of drawers without painting, then it’s a really easy way.
I’ll be honest, when I came to order some hairpin legs for this project, I was surprised by what a great selection The Hairpin Leg Company have. Not only do they sell designs in all different heights and colours, but they also sell other types of legs, wall hooks, shelf brackets and tops for seating and dining – not to mention ready-made pieces for those who don’t want to do the DIY themselves, so it’s well worth checking them out if you’re looking to update some furniture or just fancy doing a little craft project like this one.
Being that I never have enough surfaces in my house to put plants or other decorative objects on, I thought a low stool would be ideal – after all, it’s not too big so I wouldn’t need to jiggle any furniture around, and it will come in handy when I need a bit of a step up in our kitchen to reach the high cupboard shelves! The Hairpin Leg Company have an oak stool top that I thought would be ideal for doing something creative with, although it was tempting to leave it as it is – it’s crafted well enough that it doesn’t need anything doing to it, but I couldn’t resist the chance to stencil it. Yes, I know stencilling in itself isn’t a ground-breaking craft, but it’s easy enough and it meant I could choose a design to go with my slightly boho, rustic interior – plus, it’s fun to do!
As I wanted the stool to act as a side table rather than a stool to sit on, I chose the 35cm white metal hairpin legs to go with the solid oak stool top – if at a later date I want to get longer legs for the stool top, I can, and I could also use these shorter legs for a coffee table if I want to switch things up a bit further down the line. The stool top is nice and sturdy and comes with pre-drilled holes in the back for a set of its other legs (I didn’t use these as I’d chosen to use three hairpin legs).
Next, I chose a stencil and opted for a Mandala design, which I bought from Amazon – you get 16 in the pack, so deciding which one to use took some time, purely because they all looked good!
So, on to the crafty part… I thought I’d give you a little tutorial of how I went about making it, just in case you want to try the same thing (or similar) yourself. This is the finished result and I’m so happy with it – I can put a plant to one side and let the stencil show on the other, plus the white legs and oak top tie in with decor. I’d love to know what you think – and whether you’ve used hairpin legs before?
What you’ll need:
Hairpin legs x 3 (I went for the 2 rod design at 35cm)
Solid Oak stool top
Stencil (this is the pack that I bought)
Paint (I used Pink Ground matt emulsion from Farrow & Ball)
Clear wax (I went for Annie Sloan’s clear furniture wax)
Take your oak stool top and sand the part that you’ll be stencilling onto. I only wanted to stencil on one side of the surface, so I just gave this part a light sand to create a key for the paint to adhere to. Give it a wipe down afterwards to remove any dust.
Place your stencil where you’d like it, and use masking table around the edges to keep it in place. Then, taking a small sponge (I cut up a washing-up sponge scourer), dip it in your paint and start dabbing the stencil to make sure every cut-out piece of the design is covered. The trick is to not overload the sponge and make sure your stencil is absolutely not moving as you dab it. While the paint is still tacky, remove your stencil carefully and leave to dry.
If you need to continue the design, place the stencil in the next area and mask it down firmly again. Make sure you the design will run on from the last one, without any big gaps or overlapping it. Repeat the painting process and then take off the tape and, again, leave to dry.
Using a lint-free cloth, apply a clear wax to the top to help protect your stencil from scratches or smudging. You only need a small amount and it works best if you try and work the wax out towards the edges of the design. Leave to dry.
Turn your seat top over, place the metal legs where you want them (you can measure them out, but as I had three it was quite easy to place them together in a triangle shape) and use a pencil to mark where the holes for screws will be.
Drill holes, being careful not to drill all the way through the seat top. Then, using a screwdriver, attach the legs with screws into each of the holes. And there you have it – your finished stool! Make sure to put it where people are likely to see it and you can really show it off.
*Post sponsored by The Hairpin Leg Company.