My Grandma’s old Cosco step stool

Of all of the memories I have of my Grandma throughout my childhood this step stool seems to be in every picture I have of her in my mind. She will always be sitting on it, by her kitchen stove, whether a fire was burning in it or not. I had a pretty cool Grandma, she had herself the very first Nintendo and she and I went through and beat the very first Zelda multiple times one summer when I was 11 years old. She hand drew maps of all of the dungeons – seriously though, how cool is that?! I went looking for those old maps years ago and could not find them but still think of them from time to time. This old step stool, if Grandma wasn’t sitting on it her kitchen, I was! It was my favorite spot and when Grandma passed and this became my home this stool was with me throughout the entire renovation. It was already very old and not in the best of shape and us using it – me standing on it while drywalling or running electrical or plumbing, did nothing but just make it more rickety. By the end of the renovation this poor old Cosco step stool was not safe to use anymore! So, I stashed it in the garage for a day when I knew I could bring it back to its former glory. This weekend I rolled up my sleeves and got to work!

My Grandma's old Cosco step stool gets a much needed DIY makeover, before and after using chrome spray paint and red vinyl to recover the seat!

You can see in the picture that the step stool was absolutely filthy so I brought it inside, set it on a towel by our kitchen sink and mixed water and vinegar in a bowl and got to scrubbing. Is that a big nail being used to keep the back left leg attached to the stool? Yes, yes it is. Once I got the entire stool scrubbed down I headed out to the barn for a bolt and nut to replace that old nail.

My Grandma's old Cosco step stool gets a much needed DIY makeover, before and after using chrome spray paint and red vinyl to recover the seat!

I removed the last two rubber feet that were still holding on and the (very old) black electrical tape that was being used as a foot. I went through every bolt and nut and tightened the entire stool down besides replacing two of them that were missing. Amazingly, the stool became sturdy again and was just as good as new except, of course, it really need some paint! I bought one can of Rustoleum black matte spray paint and one can of Rustoleum’s chrome spray paint and took my stool outside for painting. I painted the “steps” first with the black matte paint and then taped them off and painted the rest of the stool in chrome. That chrome spray paint is AMAZING! It’s like liquid aluminum foil!

My Grandma's old Cosco step stool gets a much needed DIY makeover, before and after using chrome spray paint and red vinyl to recover the seat!

The seat was in terrible shape, the rings you see there are from PVC primer where this stool had joined me running all of the drains throughout the house. It needed to be replaced and I couldn’t think of a better replacement then red vinyl! Inspecting the underside of the seat I saw four steel tabs that were bent over, straightening them out I was able to pry the seat right off!

My Grandma's old Cosco step stool gets a much needed DIY makeover, before and after using chrome spray paint and red vinyl to recover the seat!

I grabbed my glue gun and some scissors after seeing that the old seat cover had also just been glued down. I ripped the old cover off and replaced it with my new red vinyl and found myself in a predicament. Shoot! That’s a really ugly wrinkle! I did some searching online and tried getting the wrinkle out by drying it in our dryer for half an hour – that didn’t really work, it helped, but not good enough. My mother-in-law had bought us a little hand steamer for clothes and that worked! With the paint dry I brought the stool in, put on the new feet I bought for it and TADAH!

My Grandma's old Cosco step stool gets a much needed DIY makeover, before and after using chrome spray paint and red vinyl to recover the seat!

I’ve already used this stool several times in our kitchen to reach the top shelves of our ceiling-height cabinets! It is just wonderful! And the whole cost only came to $12! I love that it is back where it belongs, I literally set it down in the same place where it always was before, in my Grandma’s kitchen. Things are a little different then they were back when this was her place but, to me, it is still the same place. Sometimes, I swear, for a split second when I run up the front steps and through the same screen door that was there when I was kid, I’m literally 11 again and I almost expect to see her sitting right there on that stool waiting for me.

My Grandma's old Cosco step stool gets a much needed DIY makeover, before and after using chrome spray paint and red vinyl to recover the seat!pinit-cosco-stool-makeover

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  1. May 19, 2016 at 2:27 am

    This is the sweetest post! Your grandma absolutely sounds like the coolest, and you’ve done an incredible job restoring her old stool. It looks amazing now!

  2. May 21, 2016 at 12:54 am

    I have two of these stools in my possession. One is in better shape than the other but the price was right on both. I think your makeover is awesome. My stools do not have the sentimental value that yours does but I would love to make them over and bring them back to life.

    • May 23, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      Hello! I have been on the lookout for another one just like this one so we can have two matching stools in the kitchen but I haven’t been able to find one yet! Thank you!

  3. Sharon Harris
    May 23, 2016 at 12:46 am

    Oh, Tarah. You made me cry again. When I go up those same old steps and through the same doors, I expect to see the house they way it was and both Mother and Dad there waiting. So touching, what you wrote, and how you redid Mother’s old stool. Love you, Ta.

    Your aunt Sharon.

    • May 23, 2016 at 3:20 pm

      Oh Sharon thank you so much! 🙂 Love you too! And can’t wait for you to see it!

  4. June 10, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    I remember back in the day every well equipped kitchen had a stool like this. Actually there are times I could use one now instead of standing on the counter trying to clean the top of the cabinets. Bad me right? The stool looks fantastic.

    • June 10, 2016 at 3:45 pm

      lol I used to stand on my counters to reach stuff all the time! We need to start a movement to bring these handy little stools back to the kitchen! Thanks for coming by 🙂

  5. VivSmith
    July 18, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Gorgeous! BTW I hate to sound like a jerk, but the brand of chairs and stools is Cosco, not Costco. I remember noticing that on one my mom had. I love your blog and am super impressed by all the renovations you have done. Good work!

    • July 18, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      Well, that’s good to know! Thanks for coming by! 🙂

  6. August 26, 2016 at 12:25 am

    Loved hearing the history of this stool. The makeover is super!

    xo Dianne

  7. August 31, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    My sweet grandmother had a stool as well–a chippy white wooden one–right next to the washing machine (hers was always in the kitchen). I can picture her sitting there clear as day, taking a rest after cooking something delicious. I love how “things” can evoke such powerful memories of the people we love. Lovely post, Tarah. Thanks for linking it up with us at Vintage Charm 🙂

    • September 1, 2016 at 2:30 pm

      Diana, what a wonderful memory 🙂 I love that I feel close to my grandma often when I’m here, sometimes I’m literally sitting on the same stool in the very same place she used to hang out every day. Thank you for sharing your memory and for stopping by!

  8. September 6, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    I did the same thing!! I used turquoise for my seat, but I loved how it turned out and especially all the memories those stools hold. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • September 6, 2016 at 9:09 pm

      Pamela, that’s wonderful! I’m thinking of getting another to match! Thanks!!

  9. October 4, 2016 at 5:20 am

    Items that have a treasured memory attached are the best. What an honour it is to redo that stool and share with the world how wonderful your grama was. I bet she is smiling. Beautiful job.

    • October 4, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      Leanna, thank you so much I think she is too 🙂

  10. October 17, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    wow! That is a huge transformation. I am so pleased that you have your grandmothers kitchen stool and have those memories come to mind every time you use it. Great job!
    🙂 gwingal

  11. October 17, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    It turned out great! What a wonderful memory you have of your grandmother and that stool!

  12. October 19, 2016 at 1:40 am

    Beautiful transformation! Thanks for sharing on the Pleasures of the NW DIY party!

  13. October 19, 2016 at 5:07 am

    That is an amazing makeover and I love how you went with the original style, it looks fabulous!

  14. October 21, 2016 at 2:39 am

    I LOVE the stepstool. LOVE. I love that it’s red, too. I have a stepstool that is awaiting redoing also but it has a back and I’m not looking forward to that part of it. I love how yours came out. Best wishes, Linda @Crafts a la mode

  15. October 24, 2016 at 12:39 am

    Looks great now! Thank you for linking up with us at #HomeMattersParty .See you again next week.

    • October 24, 2016 at 4:35 pm

      Thanks Sahana, see you next week!

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