Decorating a classroom can become super expensive and overwhelming if you’re not careful. I try to DIY as much as possible each year, and this project is one that I do EVERY summer before school starts. Here are the steps I take to painting and decorating wooden stools for my classroom! I’ve included affiliate links to the products I used for my stools.
1. Prep Stools for Painting
This step is different depending on the type of stool you’re starting with. Mine are just standard wooden stools from Walmart, but you could use this set from amazon, or I always see them on Facebook marketplace for super cheap! I repaint mine every year so they aready had paint and vinyl on them. Regardless, you’ll want to sand them down just a bit to help the paint stick better. Mine had some sticky residue left on the top from last years vinyl, so I had to do a little more sanding than usual. This step does not have to be perfect! You only need to scuff them up a tiny bit to help the paint apply evenly. I started with 60 grit (coarse) sand paper, then went back over the stools with 120 grit (medium) sand paper. The grit does not necessarily matter, but you want to start with coarse, and finish with the least coarse (highest number).
2. Spray Paint
Now for the fun part! I choose different colors every year just to mix it up, and honestly I don’t think the brand of spray paint matters all that much. This is just what I always use-and it works! I get it from Lowe’s or amazon, and I always get the paint + primer because I feel like it covers better.
To spray paint the stools, follow the directions on the spray paint can! I always do several thin coats. I’ll spray the entire stool upright, then flip it over and get the other side, just make sure it’s dry!
After they are completely painted and every inch is covered evenly, I let them dry for several days. You could leave them just like this if you just want them plain. I use my cricut to cut this adhesive vinyl into decals for the tops!
I create about a 9in x 9in decal for each stool, center it on the top (as best I can) and stick them down!
4. Clear Coat
This is the MOST important step if you want your stools to last all year and stay looking nice! A CLEAR COAT! I use the same brand from Lowe’s or amazon, and I get the satin finish. They have a matte finish as well but I feel like satin looks the best! I spray the clear coat over the stools (with the vinyl already on). I do a TON of coats because I want it to last, and I want to make sure I get every inch of the stool! This helps the vinyl stay on as well.
That’s it! It is a pretty budget-friendly and quick project, especially if you already have some old stools laying around.