Plain to Preppy Stool Makeover Using DIY Chalk Paint

How to make over a plain wood stool into a colorful piece of furniture with ribbon trim that will coordinate with a room’s color scheme.

I have a hand-me-down stool in my studioffice that I use when I am at my work table. It used to have black and white checked fabric stapled to the top.

Furniture before makeover

I never painted it, but it sure was covered with paint from all of the projects I complete in my studioffice. I recently removed the paint and glue splattered fabric and was left with a plain brown wood stool.

As I am updating all the furnishings in the room, this handy plain stool has long been overlooked and was way overdue for some love. A stool makeover was in order.

Furniture Makeover Ideas

I finally painted it pink and added a perky preppy ribbon around it to give it a new bright and cheery life.

It has a very rough finish and after painting it, I realized it was not going to look perfect, so I opted to age it to make it purposely look flawed and aged.  Old school meets new school.

DIY Chalk Paint Recipe

I gathered and mixed all the leftover pink paint that I had on hand from other projects until I filled up a measuring cup. I then added 2 Tablespoons non-sanded grout along with some water to make myself some DIY chalk paint.

DIY Chalk Paint Recipe using Calcium Carbonate Powder

I used Calcium Carbonate Powder that you can buy in the health food store to make the pink chalk paint. Here is the recipe:

How to make Chalk paint

This is the color it produced.  Works perfectly for the color scheme I am using. I added a layer of paste wax over it and buffed it to a shine that brings the color to life and will help protect the painted finish.

How to add nail head trim to furniture

supplies needed:

  • Ribbon – a bit narrower than side edge of stool seat and long enough to go around the circumference, plus 1-inch extra.
  • String (use as a measuring tool)– enough to go around circumference of stool seat.
  • Furniture Nails –Lowes
  • Ruler
  • Hammer
  • Scissors

How to Evenly Place the Nail Heads Around the Stool

I eyeballed mine and it came out perfectly, but that was luck!  I could not figure out how to write this step here in the tutorial so you could easily do it yourself. I figured there was some way to do it mathematically.

I asked my hubs and he started calculating, but then my daughter asked what we where doing and I told her my tutorial writing dilemma.   She said why don’t you just do this:   Slapping hand on head – “Now why didn’t I think of that.”

How to evenly measure placement of nail head trim

1. Measure the circumference around the seat with a piece of string.   Take the string and fold it in half, keep folding it in half, until it is as long as you would like the nail heads to be spaced.

How to add nail head trim to furniture

Then mark the loops with a magic marker. When it is unrolled – you have a guide as to where to place each nail.  You can add as many nail heads or as little as you want. I didn’t want to hide the ribbon too much so 3 inches worked well.

To Attach Ribbon to Seat Edge:

1. Fold over one end of ribbon about 1/2-inch and hammer in first furniture nail head– but don’t hammer it all the way in, let it stick out a bit for now.  Continue adding the furniture nail heads around the stool seat.

How to add nail head trim to furniture

2. When you get back to the first nail head, pry the first nail out and tuck the other end of the ribbon under the starting end of the ribbon. Pull taut and then hammer the nail in all the way. This will give you a nice finished edge.

Furniture before and after ideas

The stripe in the ribbon acts as a guide making lining up the nail heads in a straight line easy. I put each nail tip into the thin pink stripe on the ribbon.   The nail heads I bought where a little soft and a few of them bent when I began to hammer them in.

Furniture Makeover Ideas

When tapping with the hammer – keep it as centered as possible on the nail head so it won’t bend.  If it does- remove with the claw part of the hammer and use a new nail head.

To learn more about chalk painting and get all your questions answered check out these posts:

More Stool Makeover Ideas You May Like:

DIY: Chalk Painted Preppy Pink Stool with Ribbon Border.

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  1. Can I use an acrylic black paint (has more solids) to make my grey chalk paint that was tinted a very black black) into my chalk paint?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jane – Yes you can use acrylic paint to try to lighten your chalk paint. I have done this myself and have also used acrylic craft with success and also acrylic latex paint when I mix it with calcium carbonate powder. If you use Plaster of Paris though, the mixture may turn into sludge before you can finish painting with it. When adding the acrylic paint, add a small amount at a time, stir and add more in increments until you like the color.

  2. Jane Wallace says:

    Hi Diane,

    I love your video on making the Macy bow. It looks so easy when you are doing it – I am going to give it a try.

  3. Eva Roberts says:

    If you hold the nails with needle nose pliers they are less likely to bend when hammering them into the stool.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks for the tip Eva :)

  4. Do you happen to know any recipes for the Annie Sloan wax? I would love to start using chalk paint on my projects, but the wax is still very pricey.

    Would love your advice!


    1. Diane Henkler says:

      HI Yvette- I use Johnsons Paste wax. I sells for under $10 a can. You can find it a Lowes in the cleaning aisle.

  5. Hello
    I love looking at all your porjects.
    I am going to re due and old hutch/ table and chairs.
    I wanted to know if there is any thing I need to add to the top of the table
    so that it will be durable enough. Or will the chalk paint work just fine.
    Also the wax is that a paste and will it seal the table and how long do I have to wait to bring it inside to use.
    I hope to post my project. At this point I am so excited and scared.
    Thank You so much.
    Sanford, NC

  6. Hi looks great did u sand first? I have a knotty pine table that I would love to paint it’s pretty beat up do you think chalk paint is the best way to go? If I could get away without sanding it that would be great.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kellee – yes – most definitely! I would just make sure the actual knots on the piece get covered well so they don’t bleed any tannins into the paint. The chalk paint takes care of this, but some knots can hold the tannins for years and can be stubborn. I would clean the table well first and let it dry, then paint. I just posted a project where I used another DIY chalk paint recipe. I used Calcium Carbonate powder. I bought it at the health food store. It works very well and doesn’t get hard as some leftover mixtures do after a few days.

  7. Thank you for the chalk paint recipe. What sheen of paint do you use (i.e. flat, satin, gloss)?

    1. Hi Jacki – I have used both flat and satin paint. Both have worked fine. It really does not seem to matter as the grout or Plaster of Paris is going to make the sheen flat no matter what sheen you use. On the test I did, I used satin.

  8. pandoras box says:

    The ribbon adds such a pretty and unexpecting surprise on this cute stool!

  9. Lorna England says:

    Love it! I have the perfect “Martha Stewart” green preppy guest room for this!! Thanks for sharing a sweet DIY!

  10. I quite like that. Although there wasn’t too much wrong with the stool to start with it does make it look more original.

  11. Hi, Diane

    I love your stool. It’s lovely.


  12. Ashlyn@Pinecone says:

    It looks like it’s a perfect little Lilly Pulitzer!! Love the pink ; )

  13. Wow, that looks fantastic. I am sure you are pleased as punch!

  14. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    I hit submit before I added beautiful (just like their mom) …… and thankfully healthy.

  15. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    Oh wow….. I think this is so cute and perky in pink.

    I was thinking just a bit ago that it is so obvious why we all are so in love with you…. your so fabulous and more! I am also in love with your two daugther’s. I first loved them cause they are loving and rescue little furry critters……. I am definitely loving them both. And what brilliant daughters as well, just like their mommy and daddy! Loving, smart, brilliant and clever.. that is about the best any of us can hope for.. right.

    1. Thanks so much Sheryll for making my day. XO You always leave the nicest comments :)

  16. Bonnie and Trish @ Uncommon says:

    Oh…I am a little in love!! Have never tried the chalk paint, but I have three white kitchen stools that apparently need it…hear them calling? This is just fabulous!!! :)

  17. Very cute idea. I love the update.

  18. HousebyHolly says:

    What a great idea! Now you are just showing off! ;)
    My brain in taking it all in…thanks for the inspiration.

  19. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says:

    That is one cute stool now, Diane!