DIY cross stitch furniture

Get out the power tools – we’re taking cross stitch to the next level with Audrey Smit’s chunky industrial stitched stool

Who knew toolkits and cross stitch could be such a match made in crafty interiors heaven? This upcycled stool might look like a unique boutique find, but it’s so super-easy to create this yourself at home – simply drill a grid of holes, then get stitching just as you would on fabric. It’s a great way to makeover unloved furniture, and adds wonderful colour and texture to flat surfaces. If you grow bored of the pattern, just unpick the yarn and re-stitch with a new design.

DIY cross stitch furniture | final1 | headshot | Mollie Makes

• Wooden stool (from Ikea or similar)
• Sanding paper
• Ruler
• Pencil
• Power drill
• Painter’s tape
• Paint (spray or other)
• Chunky yarn
• Yarn threading needle

DIY cross stitch furniture | Upcycling | step1 | Mollie Makes

Step 1
Sand down the parts of your stool that you want to paint. We sanded the seat and the sides of our stool’s legs. This will remove any varnish or previous paint and ensure you get a smoother result when you move on to painting. Then wipe off the dust using a clean cloth.

DIY cross stitch furniture | Upcycling | step2 | Mollie Makes

Step 2
Find the centre of the seat, mark it with an X, and around it draw a grid of 20 horizontal and six vertical lines, equally spaced. The exact spacing of the lines will depend on the diameter of your seat, but they should be approximately 1-2cm (½-¾”) apart from each other.

DIY cross stitch furniture | Upcycling | step3 | Mollie Makes

Step 3
Drill holes where the lines intersect using your power drill. Carefully control your drill as you work through the grid so that it doesn’t hit the wood, or it will leave marks. Sand off any splinters using sanding paper.

DIY cross stitch furniture | Upcycling | step4 | Mollie Makes

Step 4
Clean up your work area using a broom to remove wood dust and splinters before starting your painting. Carefully cover up the part of your stool that you don’t want to paint using painter’s tape. We decided to cover up the front and back of each leg.

DIY cross stitch furniture | Upcycling | step5 | Mollie Makes

Step 5
Paint your stool in the colour of your choice. Spray paint will give a smoother finish as well as dry faster, but regular paint works just as well and will be less toxic. Let your stool dry completely before removing the painter’s tape.

DIY cross stitch furniture | Upcycling | step6 | Mollie Makes

Step 6
Start cross stitching the pattern using chunky yarn, working one colour at a time. Work one whole stitch at a time, or do a line of half stitches and finish on the way back. To make it easier, place the stool on its side on your lap so that you can easily see the front and back of the seat. Tie knots under the stool when you finish each piece of yarn and carefully trim the excess with scissors. Take a seat and enjoy!

DIY cross stitch furniture | final2 | headshot | Mollie Makes

DIY cross stitch furniture | Upcycling | headshot | Mollie MakesAbout Audrey Smit

Audrey is originally from France but now lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband and their three daughters. She loves her family and friends, colours, Scandinavia, photography, learning new things, dining al fresco and beautiful design. Check out her inspiring blog at