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Updating The Updated Barstools

So you probably remember last month when I took my uber brown craigslist barstools and lighted them up.

custom barstools

I love them, they look great…but they needed something.  Nothing crazy, just…something. A reader suggested numbers and I knew right away that’s what I wanted to do.

I also knew that I did NOT want to hand paint them…I can see that going very very wrong. I’ve seen some tutorials for freezer paper (some tutorials call for wax paper) stenciling floating around and figured I’d give that a go. This is how it should go…print out large numbers, trace onto freezer paper, cut out with Xacto knife, iron onto fabric (the wax on the paper will adhere to the fabric), stencil, and then peel off to reveal a perfectly crisp number. Sounds easy enough.

Well, this is what actually happened.

First I spent way too long trying to create big enough numbers in a nice font on Word, but couldn’t seem to get them big enough and not hang off the ends of the paper. So I turned to Google, but all the large printable numbers I found looked like they were for preschoolers. Finally I found something I liked on The Graphics Fairy. I went to print them out…and quickly found out that not only am I out of ink, I’m also out of printer paper. Okay, new plan…

light table

I’m really glad my husband wasn’t around to see me do this, it would have only solidified his accusation that I am “rough on electronics”.  Pssshaw…I traced incredibly lightly. He has no grounds, lol.

I cut the numbers out with an Xacto knife (make sure to do this on cardboard and save your “inner” peices…like the oval in the 6).

how to stencil without a machine

And then it was time to iron. I placed my number on the back of my barstool and got to ironing…except that it wasn’t sticking in the least.  I went back to look at my box…turned out I grabbed the parchment paper instead of the was paper. Ack…why? Before I redid my numbers I wanted so see how well actual wax paper was going to stick, so I ripped off a piece and started ironing. It wasn’t sticking either, so I cranked the heat up. Nope. I held the iron in one spot for a while. No dice. So I gave up.

(Just a quick reminder to anyone of y’all that might be under the false impression that I am some kind of crafting guru…take this as proof, a guru I am not. If I can complete a project and have it actually look okay, then you can too. I promise. I bet you could even do it faster than me.)

Then later that day it hit me…I had won a roll of craft vinyl earlier this year that I’ve never touched.  It’s basically a big sticker. Perfect! Wish I would have remembered about it earlier…

So I picked out the color I would probably never use and repeated the process, only this time I was successful.

how to make a stencil by hand

how to make a stencil

I know, 4,5, & 6 are kinda random. I just didn’t want to do 123…actually I might do 123 on my kitchen chairs when I get around to reupholstering them.

Anyway, the plain ol numbers still weren’t quite right, so I pulled the vinyl back out and went to work…

How to make a stencil by hand

 (The font is called “Monotype Corsiva” in 150…I tell you that mostly for my own reference).

….and now they’re done. Promise.

stenciled barstools

numbered barstools

stenciled numbered barstools

Just FYI, if you’re the lucky owner of a Silhouette Cameo than this project would take you about 5 minutes. I enter giveaways for them all the time but have never won. It might be time to bite the bullet…or wait for Christmas.  Christmas sounds good.

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  1. Ooooh, I like those a lot! And I love the fact that you went with 4, 6, 7. I am toying with the idea of doing a GIANT number (something meaningful to our family) on a big piece of plywood, stain it, and then use it as art. Thanks for the font rec!

  2. I really like what you did, it really gave the chairs more impact. I also appreciated your persistence in finding something that would work. (You wound up with the tried and true – stenciling! When in doubt…)
    After I move, I hope to get my own blog up and running at last. We’re doing so many projects, and I’m taking pictures so I’ll be able to post them then. Meantime, we’re too busy!

  3. Great job! I’m loving’ the numbers and the style. I actually did house numbers on my front door using the “No.” – turned out great and looks very European.

  4. You know, I looked at the chairs and thought, hey, why do you want to change them when they looked so much better than the original brown ones. But now they look so whimsical and fun! Maybe I’ll add a little ‘something’ to my Copper Washtubs too! ;)

  5. They look great Ashley, in spite of the challenges you faced!

    For the record, freezer paper has a plastic coating on one side that works great for adhering to fabric when ironed. Unlike wax paper or parchment paper, it really does work!

  6. Awesome. No seriously! I love when bloggers post their problems & mistakes, along with the ‘how I finally made it work’ stuff. Makes me feel like a bit less of an ass ;)

  7. Great job! I’ve got some thirft stools a lot like these. I love them because they are so comfortable, but they are kind of ugly as-is. I dyed some cheap white stool covers from BB&B, but they still arent finished…I admire your willingness to keep editing.

  8. I spied this photo on pinterest yesterday. I thought I recognised those barstools! (didn’t check they were yours though because I was looking for something else). Glad to see you persisted!

  9. They look great! Sticking numbers on stuff always works, doesn’t it? I have a wax paper method where you just stick the freshly printed paper onto the fabric and it gets the ink right where you want it. Then I just use a Sharpie. That’s another way of doing it for us non-silhouette girls. :)

  10. I just bought ink and now I ran out of paper!!! UGH!

    Your stools turned out so amazingly well! I’d love to have a Silhouette… yes, maybe for Christmas!

  11. The new look totally brightens your kitchen, and I love the numbers. I just saw this at A Bowl Full of Lemons, and I love it! If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll visit “One Creative Weekend” on OneCreativeMommy.com today (or any time Fri-Wed) and link up!

  12. Looking good girl, love the numbers and so need to do some myself. Totally bring your kitchen to a different level. Very nice! Thanks for sharing your inspiration with Sunday’s Best – you helped make the party a success!

  13. Excellent idea! Thanks sooooo much! I’ve been searching high and low for some unique house numbers! Now I can have just the ones I want to put on my front door! So happy!

  14. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not so crazy about the numbers. Although you did them well and 4, 5, 6 is better than 1, 2, 3. But I’s be interested to see how something more pictoral would look. Maybe like the silouette of animals or insects, or some type of leaf. I don’t know…I guess there’s lots of stuff you could try.

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