Monday, July 29, 2013

Restyled Stools for my reading table!

When my students come to a guided reading lesson, we sit together at my reading table.  Some people call it a "kidney bean" table.  One of my teammates calls it the "rainbow" table.  Whatever you call, it, it fits five chairs nicely, six chairs if we squeeze.  Some teachers at my school have gone to IKEA and found really cute plastic stools shaped like two cones, point to point.  I looked on the IKEA website, and found THESE.  They would be so CUTE in the blue color in my room!  But, I really like the idea of reusing... you know, going green.  I don't go around hugging trees, but it just makes sense to me.  So I checked on Craig's List and found six bar stools from a family that was moving.  All six for $30!  SOLD!

But wait... much too high for first graders.  And the fabric?  Ew!  So, I picked up some indoor/outdoor fabric at JoAnne's (half off PLUS my teacher discount).  I watched some videos on youtube about recovering bar stools, enlisted my husband to cut the legs, and viola!

Here's how I did it:

Get yourself some tools.  (Please note the $2.99 staple gun from St. Vincent DePaul.  I told you I like the idea of reusing.... OK, and saving money too).  This is all I needed.  Remember, JimDear did the wood cutting with an electric saw.

First, I spread my fabric out.  It comes folded in half, and I left it folded.  The pattern matched on both the top and bottom layers, so I knew I was getting the same design on both layers.  I looked around for something round to trace and choose a cooking pot lid that was 12 inches (the same diameter as the seat on the stool).  I placed the center of the lid over the part of the fabric I wanted to be in the center of the seat.  Then I measured out four inches from the lid all the way around and made dots with a marker.  I wasn't worried about the marker showing.  I knew it would eventually be trimmed off.  If I bothers you, mark a bit farther out and cut inside your markings.

Then I cut the fabric.  I put one circle of fabric right-side-down and put the stool on top of it, centering it just the way I wanted.

(Weird how the people who owned these bar stools for who-knows-how-long, never took the bar code off.)  Anyway, according the youtube video, you should put one staple on each side to start.  Hope you don't mind that I'm going to use the term "side."  I realize that circles don't have "sides," but just go with it, for my sake.

Then I stapled the four "corners."  I know, I know, just go with it!  The photo below has eight evenly spaced staples.

Now that I knew my fabric was held in place on all "sides," I began to work the fabric in between the staples, scrunching it and spreading it out, so that there were no big folds or bunched up spots.  Here is a picture of the bottom with all the staples in it.

The next job is to make sure all the staples are in all the way.  That's what I used my hammer for.  I DO NOT want any student's fingers getting pricked!  The needle-nose pliers was to pull out any staples that went in crooked.  All that was left to do was to trim the extra fabric off.  This picture was taken AFTER I trimmed it. (The dots I made earlier are now gone.)

Done!  I just love it, and I think the kids will be excited to come and read with me at my reading table. Many times when the kids come to sit on the chairs at the table, they sit on their feet or they kneel on the chairs.  I think it's so important for kids to have good posture when they're working at school, especially for reading and writing.  So now, just five more to go!  I don't start school until September, so I know I can do it.  I really didn't take long at all!

One done, five more on the way!

I'd love to hear what your kiddos sit on when you do guided reading lessons.  Feel free to comment!

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I'd love to hear from you! Catherine