26 Jul 2016
July 26, 2016

Camp Stools for Kids

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Camp Stools secrets

When you’re a child the world seems so big and sometimes you wonder where you fit. I have sweet memories of my childhood camp stool as does Elizabeth of the Simple Simon blog. So, I was pleased to find her tutorial for easy-to-make Summer Camp Stools that are not too big, not too small, but just right!

Camp Stools PVC cuts

Your first stop will be the hardware store where you’ll ask the nice store staff to pre-cut PVC pipe for you. Elizabeth’s tutorial will give you the exact dimensions – that’s part of the easy! These are really, really fun to make, so start right now and count up how many you need to delight all the littles in your life. When you get home with your pre-cut PVC pipes, you’ll be drilling four holes for each stool and that’s it for frame prep.

Camp Stools finished

On to the sewing! Choosing the perfect fabric is super important for your Camp Stools. It needs to be sturdy enough to hold the weight of your intended little sitter and I suggest you choose materials that are outdoor hardy, too. Here are some ideas:

  • Heavy- Duty Canvas or Outdoor fabrics are the perfect strength for your Camp Stools. If you want to leave them outside, look for moisture and mold resistant fabrics.
  • Sunbrella is a super-sturdy awning and outdoor furniture fabric that would be a good fit for your stools.
  • Rip-Stop Nylon is the fabric used for a lot of the outdoor gear you own and it’s normally bright, solid colors would be terrific for a stool seat.
  • Quilting Cotton is available in adorable prints that kids love, but not durable enough to use on its own. Try reinforcing it by lining your cotton seat with canvas or another strong fabric. A little free motion quilting would secure the two fabrics together nicely!

Coats Outdoor Thread

By the way, Coats Outdoor Living Thread will definitely be your best choice for both top and bobbin thread for this project. Designed specifically for the outdoors, it’s sun and water resistant (as in “won’t rot”) and comes in an excellent variety of colors. I’m so glad this wonder thread exists – click here for a post on using Outdoor Thread!

Camp Stools cutting fabric

You can, of course, just use simple fabric and get these stitched up quickly, but we sewists like to find ways to be our own designers, don’t we? Elizabeth suggests monogramming the stool seat if you like. What a marvelous idea! This would be a great way for each child to know which stool to grab from the inviting stack you’ve made. You could personalize with initials or use an applique of the child’s favorite animal or geometric shapes (circles, cubes, hearts) to make your Camp Stools a treasured childhood favorite.

Camp Stools seat attachment

By the way, I noticed that Elizabeth’s seats have serged edges that have not been turned under. While I love my serger and have used this finish multiple times, this is one time I think a serged, then turned under hem would be best. This will give you the sturdiest finish and we want our Camp Stools to hold up to lots of jumping and squirming. Just be sure to cut your seat fabric wide enough to accommodate a hem if you decide to go this way.

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Oh, my, I can think of so many reasons to make these little cuties as gifts! Family reunions, camp outs, summer parties, backyard BBQs. See what I mean? What child wouldn’t be thrilled to go home from a gathering with their very own stool or enjoy looking forward to where they’ll sit at Grandma’s house?? Make your list, click here for the tutorial and get busy maker friend. So many kids, so many Camp Stools. Enjoy!

About the Author


Annette Millard began sewing at the age of three, made her first dress at ten and is always happiest with needle, fabric and thread in her hands. Annette feels very privileged to have spent most of her work life in the sewing industry and loves teaching, making her own handmade wardrobe and writing about sewing. She spent over ten years as the newsletter and web site content writer for the Pacific Northwest's largest locally-owned family of fabric stores and is now thrilled to have the opportunity to share her passion for sewing with the Sewing Secrets community.

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