Upcycle Final Report: Paper Mache Stool

For my Upcycle project, I will be making a paper mache stool. I got the inspiration when I was sitting on my couch with my feet up resting on an ottoman. The ottoman at my house was extremely worn down so I thought about buying another one when I realized I could just build a simple foot stool for little to no cost. It dawned on me that I had several pieces of remnant wood in my backyard so I thought to make it out of wood. But what to cover the wood with? I thought about painting the stool or covering it with a fabric. It wasn’t until I saw a stack of newspapers sitting on our coffee table when I realized I could cover it newspaper, or even better, paper mache. And plus, I use to love doing paper mache projects when I was younger so I was up for the challenge.


Upon searching the web for ideas, I came across this one on Pintrest (pictured below). This stool is completely covered in paper mache. My stool is covered with newspapers that will make it look like it is a paper mache stool but with the additional structural support from the wood. This stool will serve as footrest for me to use when I am relaxing while also providing a unique newspaper aesthetic.

Picture Reference:



My design loop (shown above) is actually not a loop; it is a staircase. I chose a staircase because no matter how many steps you have in your design, you are always advancing your progress within the design. In my case with making a paper mache stool, there are six steps; think of the idea, design the structure, acquire the materials, build the structure, test the structure (redesign if needed), and enjoy the structure. This has been a great design loop for many projects I have completed and following these steps will make for a successful project and pretty neat stool!

The actual structure will be made of remnant wood material found in my backyard or at a local wood cutting shop (Home Depot, McGuckins). The stool will then be covered with the glue-water mixture and newspapers that will make it look like a full paper mache stool but with the additional structural support from the wood. Shown above are my concept sketches where I have three ideas. I eventually went with the rectangle top because of the space for my feet to sit.


I acquired all of the materials (shown below) from my backyard, which was a piece of ply wood and two pieces of 1” x 1” composite beams. I used a tree cutter saw to cut the plywood which became the top of the stool and the composite beams which became the four legs. I then cut angles in both ends of the legs and drilled them into the top one by one. After the structure was made I had to cover it with paper mache so I disassembled the stool and covered each piece individually. There are two layers of newspaper strips on each piece and the top of the stool has the comic section.





In reality, for this project, I was constrained by the materials I had for making the stool. Since there was a limiting number/size of remnant wood I actually acquired the material first and then made the design. The final project turned out better than expected and after receiving a comment about covering the newspaper to protect it, I covered it in clear packaging tape, which made for a shiny look while also making it waterproof!

In the future, I will adjust the paper mache mixture because I don’t think I had the right glue-to-water mixture for the paper mache which caused the finished product to take a longer time drying. Also, I could have used a more accurate saw so the angles on the legs were more even.

YouTube Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cj11lRiG_fk


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6 Comments. Leave new

  • A very functional project with lots of handiwork going into it, I like that you put all the best bits of newspaper (comics) on top!

  • I love this concept. I especially like the comic strips that ended up on the top surface, giving the stool more functionality. It’ll be cool to take this concept and apply any kind of a clip (such as sports) to customize it to the owner’s preference. Great work!

  • Alexander Thompson
    February 17, 2017 12:50 pm

    I love how clean your project came out! Normally paper mache starts to look a little rough: the paper gets wavy and the ink will run. However, your stool looks so clean and smooth. I think it was a great idea to build the base out of wood to ensure the stability, then paper mache on top. And I like how you chose to layer the comics on top and sports sections on the legs. Overall, great work! Keep it up!

  • Maxfield Scrimgeour
    February 17, 2017 12:35 pm

    I like the way that the comics section is on top of the stool for the enjoyment of the user. I also like how the table fills a purpose. really impressed with the paper machet and the work on the project. It would be cool to see the table be a little larger, but perhaps the size was intentional. Overall nice work

  • It is refreshing to see such a useful and practical upcycle project. Having comics on the top of the stool is a really nice touch. Also paper mache usually looks gluey and crunchy and can make ink bleed; however, this newspaper is very clean. I am very impressed with your paper mache skills!

  • Preston Marcoux
    February 17, 2017 12:15 pm

    I think that it was really interesting that you adjusted your design loop because of the lack of materials you had. Its obvious that you’ve given a lot of thought into the project due to the comics being on top and the tape layer to protect it. I think it’s a really cool project and I like the newspaper and the aesthetic appeal of the sports and comics.


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