How to Update Vintage Stool with Buffalo Check
This little stool makeover project in buffalo check started as a garage sale find along with two other vintage stools. The man I purchased them from said he made this little step stool in the 1960s. He had three of them and I grabbed them all to use as patterns for new stools to sell locally. This vintage stool is staying here with me and I am really happy to have it.
The stool is finished in coal black with a buffalo check stenciled top. It can be used as a single step stool, but I actually want to use it for adding height to various vignettes.
Supplies I Used (Not Affiliate links, links for info only)
Coal Black Fusion Mineral Paint
White Fusion Mineral Paint
Spray on Adhesive
Synthetic paint bristle brushes for the mineral paint
Wood filler (optional)
Sand paper 60, 120, 150 grit
Buffalo Check Stencil
The buffalo check stencil was a challenge to get for a great price, I saw them for sale up to $45 (CAN) which was three times the cost of my stool. I solved the problem by making my own using my Silhouette cutting machine. The pattern cost me $1 at the silhouette store and I used Cricut stencil plastic from Michaels. The only down side is it took me a full evening while watching TV to weed out all those little slats.
My stencil is 12 by 12 inches, which is enough to cover the width of the step up stool, but not the length. If you want you can do a 12 by 24, but I chose not to.
The next step is to figure out the correct cut settings. This took me forever, but to shorten it for you I ended up cutting mine at a thickness of 33. You may want to fiddle with you machine doing some test cuts, but the 33 is where I ended up.
To weed all those little strips I found it easier to carefully remove the entire stencil from the backing cutting mat first. Then I worked on each little piece with a toothpick on my lap watching TV. It was worth the 40 dollar savings to me.
Preparing the Vintage Stool
The stool is handmade so it was never perfect and after 50 plus years of use it was in rough shape. As I love old things, I could not bring myself to just toss it and make a replica using the pieces as a pattern.
To remove lots of dirt, spiderwebs (shivers) and slivers I began by giving the wood a good sanding with 60 grit sandpaper.
Next it filled in the cracks with wood filler where I wanted and chose to embrace other small cracks as I did not want it solid wood filler.
I then sanded it with 120 grit sandpaper until as smooth as possible.
Painting the Vintage Stool
Once sanded it looked much better, although not perfect.
Paint the stool with two coats of coal black fusion paint on all the lower surfaces. Let the paint dry well between coats, sanding lightly between coats.
Once the black is done, repeat the process on the top using two coats of white fusion mineral paint.
Applying the Buffalo Check Stencil
With the very fine lines on the stencil its important to reduce the likelihood of bleed through. To help the process I applied spray adhesive to the back of the stencil before setting in onto the white top of the vintage stool. Also I did tear a couple little parts of the stencil while weeding, (see the following picture), but the adhesive allowed me to just hold it in place as I painted.
My stencil was not wide enough to cover the entire width of my little stool. To make sure the check pattern matched at both ends I began in the middle and worked outwards towards one end. Remove the stencil when the paint is still wet, make sure the stencil back is clean, and set aside while the paint dries.
Once the paint is dry, match center of the stencil with the painted portion, and work from center to the other end.
I tried two methods of stenciling, using a small sponge and then with a small artist paint brush. The small paint brush worked much better.
Dip a small paintbrush into the paint, removing the excess onto a paper towel before applying the paint to the wood. Once the brush is pretty much dry, apply the paint, starting from the outside of the cut square to the middle. This is challenging, almost impossible for the small slats, but I did it just making sure the paint brush was dry before applying the paint. Here is a closeup of how the pattern turned out, it is not perfect but it looks really good on the table.
Adding Height to Vignettes
This little stool will be handy in the pantry, or the bathroom but I want to use it in vignettes. A couple of years ago when doing Christmas vignettes I fell in love with a simple white stand; but at $35 I am never going to own more than one. This fall vignette would look nice with just the white stand. But now I have two stand and the buffalo check one is not only cheaper, it’s more unique.
You can use stacks of book, tiered trays, and boxes to add height to Fall vignettes. I really love this DIY buffalo check stand for Fall decorating. Its an easy way to add buffalo check and a pop of dramatic black to my typically white decorating schemes.
This is another simple thrift store stool makeover that I did using black and white Fusion mineral paint.