I am not artistic, but I love to decoupage.  Collage and glue — right up my unartistic alley!

A few summers ago I made this stool for my classroom.  My students loved it but were only allowed to use it as the “author’s chair” when they were reading something they’d written to the class.  Fellow teachers borrowed it for poetry readings or special events, and it was easy to toss it in my car at the end of the year to keep it safe during the summer.

I still get many compliments on this stool!  And it was easy and fun to make.

How to decoupage an author chair

Step One:

Find a stool (or you could use a wooden chair).  This is just a stock bar stool.

You are too boring!

Step Two:

Cut out a mountain of words, images, pictures, colors, whatever from that stack of magazines you have sitting next to your sofa.  This is an easy activity to do while catching up on This is Us or watching Pride and Prejudice for the tenth (twentieth?) time.

Cut out more images and words than you think you’ll need.  That will provide you with options!

Step Three:

Rough up the stool with a bit of sandpaper.  I just lightly sanded the legs and top.  Didn’t go crazy.  I didn’t decoupage the rungs of the stool because I figured that’s where people would put their feet.

You’ll need a paintbrush or sponge brush.

Step Four:

Start layering on the paper.  I glued it down with Mod Podge (you might be able to use white glue for this as well).  Randomly working across the surfaces.  Keep the pieces of your collage flat as you glue them.  I just used my fingers and a cheap-o paint brush to smooth things out.

You will probably have some bumps and folds, especially where the chair is curved.  That’s okay.  They’ll get evened out when you layer on the polyurethane.

Step Five:

When you’ve glued all your words and pictures down, let them dry.  Then cover everything with a layer of Mod Podge.

The top of the stool. How inviting!

Step Six:

Start the poly!  The first five steps can be done indoors, but you’ll want to finish the stool either outside or in a garage.

Use clear polyurethane and paint a layer of it over all surfaces (except the rungs) of the stool.  Allow to dry (follow directions on the can) and repeat.  Many times!

I went out in the morning, painted on a layer and then did it again in the evening.  You will notice that you are building up layers of polyurethane.  The bumps will be covered and the stool will get smooth.

Continue covering until you are happy with the smoothness of the finished product.

Enjoy your finished masterpiece!


  • When you choose the polyurethane, look for “non yellowing” or “crystal clear.”  My stool began to take on a yellowish tinge because of the layers of polyurethane.
  • Don’t forget to sign your work!  Flip your stool over and sign and date the bottom of the seat!
  • You could even do this as a class.  Have students collect items for the stool and allow them turns to glue on pieces of the collage.  All the students could sign the bottom of the stool when it’s finished.  Of course, you’d have to take the stool out of the classroom for the final polyurethane step.

Looking for more teaching resources?  Take a look in my resource library:

Now that you have an author’s chair, how will you use it?  Book talks?  Sharing research? 

With gratitude,

 photo my signature_zpslqacst4k.png

2 Comments on Decoupage a Classroom “Author’s Chair”

  1. This rocks! Such a simple but powerful idea-giving words and author a special place. I have a decade(s?!) old bar-type stool that could be revived with this technique. Thanks for the tip!

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