Grain Sack Striped Farmhouse Stool Makeover

Hi ya’ll!  Today’s makeover is one of my recent favorites- it’s a perfect fit for my farmhouse style and I love the color scheme.  You’ll probably be seeing this combo on many future projects- I just can’t get enough of it!

I bought this little handmade stool for $3 at a barn sale.  Yep, that’s a real thing.  It’s basically an estate sale that’s held in an old barn.  The few that I’ve been to always include an awesome variety of farmhouse finds from mason jars, vintage kitchen utensils, old farm equipment to unique furniture.  Along with this little stool, I found an old rusted cheese grater and some vintage Ball mason canning jars.  You’ll see both of those in later projects.


This little stool was well worn after what I imagine was many years of functional use perhaps in a kitchen or even as an old milking stool.  I fell in love with its handmade features…like these legs- check out how they’re attached! (Sorry that they’re already painted in the photo.  I was just too excited to remember to get a picture pre-finishing…whoops.)

Mortise & Tenon Stool Leg Joint

That’s a mortise and tenon joint- it’s been used by woodworkers for thousands of years to join two pieces of wood and is actually still used today.  I don’t know how old this stool is, but I love that it uses these classic joints.  The legs were a bit wobbly though, so I decided to use 2-inch self tapping screws to better lock the tenon in place (the tenon is the protruding feature that fits in the mortise hole).

Sketch (Mortise & Tenon Joint) (for web)

If you missed my Custom Rolling Cart Makeover Part 1 post, I’ll recap: I love self-tapping screws because they rarely require pre-drilling and are usually self-countersinking- both of which are huge timesavers.  For a busy mom, that’s a big win.

I then used my DeWalt drill (an awesome Christmas present from my Dad and brother 😊) to screw from the top of the stool down into the tenon being sure to screw down far enough that the screw head was just below the wood surface.  I used one screw per leg and didn’t measure where I needed to drill- instead, I just eyeballed it.

Disclaimer: This eyeballing “technique” usually works for me, but I have had instances where my eagerness to complete a project has bit me in the behind and I’ve ended up having to patch holes that I didn’t mean to make.  Shame, shame. You know my name. I’m impatient, but at least I own it.  Haha

I don’t have a photo of the above step, but it looked a bit like this:

Sketch (Lock Tenon with Screw) (for web)

I filled the shallow holes from the countersunk screw heads with Elmer’s Carpenter’s Color Change Wood Filler.

Wood Filler

I love this stuff because it goes on purple and then dries tan so there’s no second guessing when its ready for sanding.

Filled Screw Holes

After drying, I used my Dewalt Orbital Sander and 180 grit sanding disc to smooth out the excess wood filler.  The wood on the top of the stool was also a bit rough so I did a few light passes across the whole thing as well.


Tip: After sanding areas that you’ve filled, its important to run you finger or hand across the surface to check for smoothness.  Occasionally (particularly when filling deep holes or gouges), the fill process may need repeated one or more times before surface smoothness is achieved.

I usually close my eyes and run my finger across the surface.  If I can’t feel the area I filled then I know I’m good to go.  Closing your eyes may seem strange, but it works wonders.  My eyes always play tricks on me- I’ll swear the area is smooth, move on to paint and then end up with a big dip in the spot I thought was filled.

Finger Test

It took me two rounds of wood fill to achieve smoothness on this stool.  Then, it was ready for paint.

Ready for Paint

First, I painted the legs and underside with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Chateau Grey (visit for a retailer near you or purchase from Amazon here.  The name is a bit deceiving- it’s not grey at all, but more of a light muted green.
Chateau Grey Base Paint

I used Frog Tape for Delicate Surfaces to mask off the base and then painted the top, edges and lip with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in French Linen (purchase from Amazon here.  French Linen is my favorite color of all time! You’ll see it on many future projects- it’s a beautiful neutral grayish brown that compliments most styles and is crazy versatile.

French Linen Top Paint

This stool has really clean and simple lines, so I knew it needed a wow factor.  Since it came from a barn, I thought a grain sack stripe across the top would be just the thing.

After the French Linen paint was dry (about an hour), I used Frog Tape for Delicate Surfaces to mask off the thicker stripe.

Thick Stripe Tape

I decided it would look best if the stripe wrapped around the edges and onto the lip.

Thick Stripe Tape on Sides

Then I applied Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Chateau Grey to the area between the tape.  I waited until it dried just enough to be tack free (about 15 minutes) and then removed the tape.  I’ve found that waiting to remove the tape until after the paint is thoroughly dry can cause the paint to peel.  I waited another half hour for the stripe to completely dry and then taped off two smaller lines on either side of it (sorry no picture of this step- I promise I’m getting better at remembering to photograph everything 😉).  I applied Chateau Grey paint to each of those thinner stripes, removed the tape after the paint was tack free and voila!

Finished Grain Stripe

I love to distress my painted projects.  I feel like it only adds to the farmhouse feel and country charm.  Typically, I distress prior to waxing (some people do distress after). For me, though, distressing before tends to be faster and a little less work because I don’t have to break through the wax as well, but it does create more sanding dust.  I also love the effect wax has on the exposed wood (it shines it up a bit and really makes it stand out).

NOTE: I do all of the distressing in my SHE Shop and I can promise you, it won’t feel like you’re in a desert sandstorm, but there will be dust. 😉 Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is completely safe and has nearly no odor so there’s no danger other than a stuffy nose, but if you have allergies like me or are prone to sinus infections (also like me), you may want to wear a mask.

To combat the dust, I occasionally wear these dust masks (occasionally because I often forget haha) and use 3M extra fine, fine or medium grit sanding sponges depending on the surface and the extent of distressing I want to achieve.

For this stool, I used a 3M fine sanding sponge and distressed along most of the hard edges as well as across the top particularly along the grain sack stripe to give it some age.


Lastly, I sealed the entire piece with Annie Sloan Soft Clear Wax (visit for a retailer near you or purchase from Amazon here.  Wax is my preferred way to seal and protect chalk painted surfaces and Annie Sloan’s wax is by far my favorite product.  One 500mL can will last through numerous large scale and small scale projects.  I only recently finished my last can.  It lasted me three months and I was using it nearly every day.

I apply wax with my Annie Sloan brush or a cloth depending upon the project.  There is a technique for waxing and I promise to include the complete process in the chalk painting tutorial I’ll be publishing in the coming weeks.  Also, if you were here with me last week, you may recall that I never mentioned waxing in the Custom Rolling Cart Makeover Part 2 post and you would be right.  I completely forgot to include that step so I have edited that post and it’s correct now. Oh my- where is my brain some days?!? 😉

Anyway, here’s this sweet little farmhouse stool now.  I just love it so much- I’m not sure I’ll be able to part with it.  I may just “forget” to put it on the truck for my next show. Hehe

Final (2)

Final (Collage)



I see this in an entryway as a little plant stand or a little step stool for my kiddos bathroom.  What about you? Where would you use it?  What well used, well loved pieces can you paint some new life into?  I’d love to hear from you!

Check back on Friday to see the unique way I repurposed these wooden pineapple bowls.


See you then!

blog signature (black ink)- actual size

2 thoughts on “Grain Sack Striped Farmhouse Stool Makeover

  1. Pingback: Chalk Painting Tutorial – Part 1: Prep | The Road Less Traveled Design Co.

  2. Pingback: In A Day’s Work: Top 7 Time-Saving DIY Products | The Road Less Traveled Design Co.

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