Floral Washtub Footstool

By  Vera Collier 

  • Floral Washtub Footstool
  • Inside View


  • Galvanized metal utility tub, 4-1/2 gallons, 13-1/2” diameter
  • DecoArt SoSoft Fabric Acrylics: Antique Gold, Avocado Green, Buttermilk, Dark Chocolate, Hauser Dark Green, Hauser Light Green, Lamp Black, Pottery Brown, White
  • Fabric brushes: Flat Shader, #8; Round, #0; Round Scrubber, #6; Stencil brush


  • Delta Stencil Mania Tropical Plant or other fern stencil
  • Plywood, 1/2” thick, cut into 12” circle and 16-1/2” circle
  • Luan or birch plywood, 1/4” thick, cut into 17” circle
  • Fabric: Unbleached cotton drill fabric or other sturdy fabric in off-white, 1 yd.; cotton fabric, 45” nap, 1 yd.: Frosted Memories by Holly Taylor for Moda or color of choice
  • Black trim, 3/4” to 1”-wide, 1 yd.
  • Cotton batting
  • Upholstery tacks or black thumb tacks
  • Iron on seam tape or basic sewing supplies: sewing machine, matching thread, straight pins
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Freezer paper

Pattern - Floral Washtub Footstool

  • Note
  • 1. Wood measurements above are specific to utility tub used. For various size tub, adjust measurements accordingly; smaller 1/2" thick plywood should be a bit smaller than inside of tub, larger 1/2" thick plywood should be 1-1/2" wider all around than top diameter of tub, and thin luan board should be 1/2" wider all around than larger 1/2" thick plywood.
  • Preparation
  • 1. Cut cotton drill fabric approximately 4" wider than luan board. Wash and dry fabric without fabric softeners. Press fabric smooth. Measure freezer paper to fit design area; with dry iron, iron paper, shiny side down, onto center of fabric. This is now wrong side of fabric.
  • 2. Print out pattern; transfer basic pattern lines onto center of right side of fabric. (Transfer details as needed.)
  • 3. Dip stencil brush into Avocado Green and rub most of paint off onto paper towel; scrub paint into background areas keeping color very light, working around design area, and allowing color to fade out to edges of center area. (Note: You may want to test this on a piece of scrap fabric.)
  • 4. Using stencil, all three green colors, and Pottery Brown to randomly stencil ferns around design area placing stencil as if they are coming from behind flowers and leaves. Make some ferns very light and some darker to establish depth.
  • Artist's Tip
  • 1. Design was painted using wet-into-wet technique unless otherwise indicated. Paint each leaf and each flower petal separately, completing all shading and highlighting before moving onto next leaf or petal. Use flat shader for all basecoating and shading. Use hair dryer to speed up drying time.
  • Leaves
  • 1. Base Avocado Green. Pat in Hauser Dk. Green to shade; deepen with Lamp Black where petals and other leaves overlap. Shade Hauser Dk. Green along center vein. Pat Hauser Lt. Green to highlight. Dry. Use round brush to paint veins Lamp Black. Dry. Use fabric scrubber to add scant amount of Pottery Brown here and there on leaves.
  • Flowers
  • 1. Base petals Buttermilk. Shade Antique Gold around flower center and where petals overlap, patting and blending into wet Buttermilk. Repeat using Pottery Brown not working color out quite as far. Add a "V" shape Antique Gold shading in center top of petals so wider end of "V" is along outer edge. Dry. Use fabric scrubber to scrub White into center of petals at each side fading edges into Buttermilk background.
  • 2. Base flower center Pottery Brown; shade "C" shape Dk. Chocolate area along bottom edge; deepen with Lamp Black, blending into Dk. Chocolate for a black-brown color. Highlight Antique Gold along opposite side. Dry.
  • 3. Base flower bud stem Avocado Green; highlight Hauser Lt. Green and shade Hauser Dk. Green. Repeat same for calyx.
  • 4. Use round brush and Lamp Black to add detailing to petals; outline all petals and leaves. Use large end of stylus and all petal colors to dot around flower center.
  • Finishing
  • 1. Follow paint manufacturer's instructions to heat set design.
  • Assemble Footstool
  • 1. Screw 12" plywood circle onto center of 16-1/2" plywood circle. (12" circle is used to keep top from sliding off wash tub when in use.) Use 17" luan circle to cut several batting circles; cut one 19" circle. Layer smaller batting pieces over luan circle then center 19" batting over top, folding excess to bottom of luan circle. Secure ends temporarily with masking tape. Center painted fabric over batting; flip over and distribute excess fabric evenly to back of luan circle so top designs remains smooth and centered. Secure fabric ends with thumb tacks or upholstery tacks every few inches. Center and glue padded circle onto 16-1/2" circle.
  • 2. For skirting, place assembled top on washtub, measure length from under padded top to floor and add 1". Cut enough fabric pieces to wrap around side of tub twice. (For washtub used, cut two 10-1/4" lengths from cotton fabric.) For hem, fold back 1/2" of one long fabric edge to wrong side, fold under 1/2" again; sew or use seam tape to secure hem in place. Repeat same for remaining fabric strip. With right side of fabric facing out and hem at bottom, attach raw edge of fabric strip to 16½" plywood edge directly under padded top; work around plywood edge, hand pleating fabric as you go, attaching thumb tack or upholstery tack every couple inches. There's no need to sew strips together, simply fold in extra strip along short end and tack in place; trim excess fabric as needed, overlapping previous strip ends. Use glue gun to glue decorative trim over tacked skirt edges.