Make Your Own Library Classroom Storytelling Stool

The last post dealt with making your school library appealing and welcoming for your patrons, the students.  Today, I am going to guide you through the steps needed to make your own personalized storytelling stool.  I got my inspiration from several classroom boards on Pinterest.  I made mine to fit with our new zebra with pink accents jungle theme in the library.

The entire project to make complete one of two stools took me about two days with the necessary paint coat drying times.  I purchased the two stools secondhand from a Facebook group that allows people to sell their gently used items.  I also recommend scouring your local Goodwill or Salvation Army thrift stores for paintable finds.  Both stools cost me $20.  However, if you already have a stool in your possession, then you can cut costs by half already.  Way to be thrifty!

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The supplies cost roughly around $30 for two stools, but this can be more or less depending on the embellishments that you want to add or subtract.  I went to Hobby Lobby and Walmart for supplies.  If you have a Super Walmart with an expansive crafting/home improvement section, then I recommend them for money savings.

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To make the stool exactly as I did, you will need:

  • 1 or more storytelling stool
  • 100 and 220 grit sand paper or 100/220 sanding pad
  • Krylon hot pink spray paint
  • Krylon Glitter Blast spray paint
  • Zebra print alphabet stickers
  • 2 packages of stick-on gemstones
  • One roll of painters tape
  • One wet workman’s cloth or rag
  • One pencil
  • One circular bowl or dish for tracing purposes
  • One acrylic paintbrush
  • Two small bottles of black acrylic paint in metallic shine
  • One paper plate
  • One feather boa in the color of your choice
  • Scissors
  • One can of spray adhesive

Note:  In the picture it shows two paint markers.  Avoid paint markers, as they really do not cover over the pink well when painting zebra stripes.  Live and learn.

To begin, sand the finish off of the tops of stools.  Use the 100 grit sandpaper or 100 grit side of your sanding sponge to start.  Then, using the finer grain 220 sandpaper, re-sand the tops of the stools again.  You should not be able to see any shine from any finishes or varnishes.  Then, using your damp workman’s cloth or rag, thoroughly wipe down the tops and any rogue sanding remains on your stool.

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Next, use your painters tape to wrap the legs of your stool.  I recommend taping at least 8 inches down from the bottom of the stool down the legs.

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Then, begin to apply your first coat of spray paint.  Try for even, graceful strokes vertically holding the can about 8-12 inches from the stool top.  You will need at least three coats of spray paint.  Allow for at least an hour of drying time in between coats.  I did the spray painting on one day and the acrylic painting the next to provide for plenty of drying time to let the paint set.

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The next step is to draw the circle in the middle of your chair for the name.  I used a bowl as a tracing pattern to provide a nearly-perfect circle shape centered in the middle of the chair.  Then, I drew the zebra stripes on to the chair using a pencil.

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Painting the zebra stripes comes next.  Note:  Allow yourself plenty of time and patience for this step.  It took at least three hours for one stool.  You need to hand paint each stripe with a generous amount of black acrylic paint in order to cover the bright pink color of the stool.  If you happen to be outside in the sweltering Tennessee summer heat while doing this, then have plenty of water to drink on hand!  Allow at least an hour for the paint to dry before proceeding to the next step.

Next, apply the zebra print letter stickers.  You can spell out your name, your grade, an inspirational quote, etc.

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If you want to make your stool really shine, now is the time to apply the Krylon Glitter Blast spray.  I used the silver color.  Make sure to shake the bottle for two minutes prior to spraying as directed on the side.  It makes for more even glitter.  I decided to spray the entire chair with the glitter spray, but the decision is yours.  It will dim the color a bit, but does add a fun sparkle.  To add more sparkle, use adhesive gems around the circle on the top.  Be sure your glitter spray has been given at least an hour to dry before handling the stool or adding embellishments.

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The last thing to do is add your feather boa to the bottom of the seat of the stool.  Cut the boa to the size of the circumference of the stool bottom and use a spray adhesive to stick on the boa.  Allow for the adhesive to dry before turning the stool right side up.

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Viola! You should now have your very own library storytelling stool.

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Other quick tips for the new school year:

Be sure to have a notebook and folder where you can take notes at faculty meetings and collect all of your papers.

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If you use erasable individual student whiteboards in your library (I do, a BUNCH), get heart shaped bath pads as erasers instead of old kitchen rags or tissues.  This will cut down on the mess, and students will love them!  (Notebook, folders, and bath pads can be purchased at the Dollar Store).

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Be sure to stay tuned for updates on school library decor!

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Just a Touch of Zebra-Print and Your Library Space

Just as I have done blog postings in the past on my home work space, I need to assert that your actual school library space is even more important.  Obviously, function rules the day in the school library.  You want a library that can serve all of its patrons and allow for smooth and easy transitions from one area of the space to the next.  However, also equally important is that the space must be inviting to your patrons.  Your school library space must make students WANT to come to visit and spend time there.

This year, I’m sprucing up my space to make it a little more mine and a little more inviting for the students.  I’m changing out the usual bulletin board to make way for a multicultural board that features scrapbook style photographs of our students in action in the library from the past school year.  In addition, a coworker is helping to make new colorful draperies for the windows to replace the older, darker green plaid versions which currently hang in the windows.  I want to use the fabric’s theme to also cover the front and sides of the circulation desk.  Polka dots?  Zebra print?  Only time will tell what theme we decide to go with.  See pictures below for inspiration (note: not my library classroom.  Photos found on Pinterest).

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My husband has also gifted me with a crayon wreath that I intend to hang in the hallway on my office door to liven up our corridor of the building.  You can get a similar wreath for your library/classroom from the Etsy store TheWhimsicalWrenTN:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheWhimsicalWrenTN?ref=seller_info

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Ultimately, this is the space that you work in all day and it is also the space where you expect your students to do their best library schoolwork:  You both deserve for the library space to be cool and comfortable!