How to make a rag tabouret, rag footstool or rag chair
A while ago I promised you a tutorial on a project of mine that I started years ago. I call it the “rag tabouret”. This tabouret/stool/footstool is all about upgrading old worn-out clothes and other pieces of fabric. This tabouret is inspired by the “Rag chair” which is made by Droog Design. Since I can’t afford one (yet), I made a tabouret with the same idea, but then handmade by me.
The tabouret gets a lot of attention when people come to visit us. It’s a true centre piece. And it wasn’t expensive. I only bought the tie wraps. Many reasons for you to try and make one too!
How to make a ragchair / footstool / tabouret
What do you need?
- a lot of old rags / clothing / sheets (amount depends on how big you want the stool to be)
- a pair of hands ;)
- large/long tie-wraps (number depends on how big you want the stool to be and how big the tie-wraps are)
- stanley knife (if you are using thick flooring parts)
- measuring tape
- old/new pieces of carpet as a base (not perse necessary)
If you have the biggest part of this list, you can start working!
STEP 1: Decide on the size. Decide how big your tabouret should be. Mine is a cube 43cm/17inch.
STEP 2: Cut the base carpet and fabric in the right size. You begin with one piece of carpet on the basis. You will need around four pieces for the whole piece (evenly divided in the pile). I used a few pieces of strong carpet so that the tabouret became sturdy. After you’ve cut up the carpet (use stanley knife), you start with the pieces of fabric. This is a lot of work if you cut up everything layer by layer. There is a lazy solution though that gives the whole chair a bit of texture. You can just fold big sheets in the right size instead of cutting individual pieces of fabric and then mix everything up.
After all the cutting and folding you’ll have a pile of fabric formed as a cube. Kind of. As one of the last pieces, you’ll use a piece of carpet again (for better structure). And finish of with some nice colours (that fit well in your interior).
STEP 3: Make the pile proper. That doesn’t need any explanation I think. Just put the pieces of fabric nicely on top of each other.
STEP 4: Decide on the height. You didn’t decide on the height yet! This depends on the amount of old fabric that you have or the purpose for this tabouret. I wanted it to be almost as high as my couch, so that I could put my feet up and at other times use it as an extra chair. So mine was again around 43cm/17inch tall (a proper cube).
STEP 5: The tie wrap part! You will now have to wrap the pile up with tie wraps. I did that on 4 different points. So two vertically and two horizontally. Like a mail package. The second time I only used 3 points. You can use some help with this step. One can keep the pile into place and the other can (first) gently and (later on) firmly tighten the wraps.
Some extra advise:
Tie a few wraps onto each other before you start putting it around the pile. Put the pile of cloth on two lines of the tied wraps and finish the upper part afterwards. When you finish the two vertical wraps, you start on the two horizontal one (don’t overdo the tightening part yet). Keep the upper points of the tie wraps short, adjust it on the sides! After all 4 (or 3) circles of tie wraps are on the cube, tighten the tie wraps again. This time with some more strength (still don’t overdo it).
STEP 6: Finishing part. Now you can finish the tabouret. The long pieces of left over tie wrap can be cut off. Don’t cut them off to short too soon, because the tabouret adjust its firmness. Normally you’ll have to tighten it up a few times (it’s a bit like a piano ;)). Don’t be too afraid (if you don’t have small children) of the tie wraps points sticking up on top. You can’t feel them while sitting if you don’t cut them very short.
After a year or two the tabouret will need a shuffle up. That’s easy! Just take of the tie wraps. Put some extra clothes on it (if needed), wash some (if you think it’s important) and tie it up again! :)
So this was our rag tabouret seven years ago:
And this is the 2016 version in a totally different country with different clothing:
This post was originally written in 2009 and in 2016 new pictures were added.