I have been enamored with all things ‘cherry blossom’ lately. Well, more accurately, I’ve wanted to find the perfect piece of décor that replicates the picture I have in my mind: Vibrant pink blooms on a gray branch with a bright sky blue background. And I’ve been looking everywhere – rugs, pillows, wall art, etc. – all to no avail. So, like most of the accent pieces in my home, since I can’t find what I want I have to make it myself!
And once I got started on this hand painted footstool, it developed into something else. My naturally whimsical style of painting (aka: my “I’ve never taken a legit art class so I mask my lack of technique by calling whatever I make whimsical” style of painting…please, just go with it…) combined with my bold color combination made this the perfect footstool for a young girl.
I can easily see this belonging to a 5-year-old just learning to brush her teeth on her own who just needs a boost to the sink or even a 15-year-old who needs a step up to reach the top shelf of her closet. And yes, maybe even a 31-year old who no longer needs to scoot a chair over a couple of times a year to reach the good china on the highest ledge of the kitchen cabinets. Allegedly.
If for no reason other than to give my poor hardwood floors a break from damage as a result of dragging chairs and plopping down ladders whenever I need a step up, this footstool is the perfect solution.
And it can be the perfect solution for you, too! You can create the design that you can’t seem to find anywhere; you can protect your floors and dress them up at the same time; you can empower your kids to learn to do things for themselves in the safety and security of your home and in style!
DIY Hand Painted Footstool
I started with a basic wooden footstool that you can find at your local home improvement or craft store. You may need to lightly sand the entire footstool to smooth out the surface and heavily buff the corners and edges if you’re making this for a child to avoid splinters.
These inexpensive footstools are what I like to call ‘thirsty’ so I started by applying a base coat using some leftover wall paint from a sample that was in the running when we were painting the house. Now that I see how light it is when dry, I remember why it didn’t make the cut.
And depending on the final color of your footstool, you may be able to reuse some leftover wall paint of your own and save the more expensive craft paint for the top coat and the details.
I used Martha Stewart’s Acrylic Gloss in ‘Surf’ and ‘Wedding Cake’ and started painting the footstool upside down so that the ‘feet’ would be dry enough to turn it over and work on the top last.
I had these two colors leftover from a recent rug I stenciled so I knew that they needed to be mixed together to get the right shade of blue. I just love it!
Once the stool is completely painted, allow it to dry overnight before beginning your design.
I have never free-hand painted anything so I practiced sketching out the branches on a sheet of paper first. When I felt confident enough with the movement, I swapped out my pencil for a paintbrush and just started swiping!
I used Martha Stewart’s Gray Chalkboard Paint and varied the amount of paint on the brush to create shading that resembled the bark of a tree when it dried.
A cherry blossom is a tree, after all, so I wanted to loosely replicate the sharp angles of the twigs and branches.
From here, I placed a whimsical blossom at the end of each twig point and dropped a couple of randoms here and there where the branch looked too sparse.
To make the blossoms, I used Martha Stewart’s Camellia Pink in Satin and painted five half-figure-8s in the shape of a five-pointed star.
On each side of the stool, I painted a single branch with a fork at both ends and placed blossoms on each tine. For the front and back, I also painted three blossoms in the center of the branch.
I finished the blossoms themselves by outlining each with Martha Stewart’s Pink Dahlia in Satin.
After it dried overnight again, I coated the entire footstool in Minwax’s Gloss Polyurethane to protect the painted design and also to provide a surface that is more conducive to wiping away scuff marks from little shoes.
If you plan on keeping the footstool on wood floors, you can add a self-adhesive round felt pad on each of the feet corners that will sit on the floors. And if really little feet are using the stool, placing it on an area rug to cushion any initial falls is a good idea!
What type of design are you going to try?