DIY Folding Tripod Stool

What do we want? An affordable, in-character folding seat that needs no woodworking skills!

When do we want it? In about 4 hours!

You will need:

  • 3 X 24mm dowels, length 40-60cm each (or 1-2 broom handles and a saw)
  • Sandpaper
  • 2m of paracord
  • 0.5m square of scrap paper
  • 3 X 0.5m squares of fabric (must have some give, but no stretch. You don’t want it to rip as soon as you sit. I used a cotton twill dust sheet.)
  • Thread + sewing apparatus
  • Fabric/Multipurpose glue

Step 1
Cut your dowels into 3 equal-length pieces (40cm for a small stool, 60cm for a tall one).

If you are using a broom handle, you can make the 40cm stool with one stick, or two 60cm stools with three sticks.

Step 2

Sand one end of each of the legs, so that it’s smooth and roughly rounded. This is the top end that will rub against the fabric, so it’s important that it doesn’t have sharp edges.

Step 3

Using the paracord, tripod lash the legs together. There are plenty guides online on how to do this. It’s clove-hitch, lash, clove-hitch, tie off loose ends. If you don’t know knots, don’t worry – you can repeat and undo this step as much as you like.

Step 4

Make the seat pattern. It’s made of equilateral triangles. I recommend a 30cm seat for the small stool and a 36cm seat for the large stool.

  • 30cm seat – one large 30cm triangle with 10cm triangles next to each of the points

  • 36cm seat – one 36cm triangle with 12 cm triangles next to each of the points

You could print out 15 X 10cm triangles and tape them together to make this easier.


Step 5

Pin and cut out the pattern three times, leaving an extra 2-3cm for hemming.

Step 6

Laminate the fabric. The idea here is to make sure that the threads of the three layers lie in different directions, so the fabric will warp equally in all directions as it is pulled by the weight of sitting on it.

  1. Apply glue to the first piece

  2. Turn the second piece 120 degrees so the threads DO NOT align, but the shape does

  3. Place the second piece on top of the first

  4. Apply glue to the second piece

  5. Turn the third piece 240 degrees so the threads DO NOT align with either first or second layer

  6. Place the third piece on top of the second

Step 7

Wait for glue to dry

Step 8

Hem the straight edges and points of your fabric using a stretch/zig-zag stitch. Do NOT cut or hem the inner corners.

Step 9

Fold the points inward so they overlap. Using a stretch/zig-zag stitch, sew through the ~12 layers of fabric along the edges of the 30cm triangle. You might need a denim needle if using a sewing machine. Sew over a few times for good measure

Step 10

Work out how the stool folds out. Make sure stick 1 is resting on stick 2, which is resting on stick 3, which is resting on stick 1. Slot the seat pockets over each rounded end of the tripod. Fold out the stool to its maximum extent.

Step 11


Notes: You can modify this however you like. The key element is the turned and laminated fabric sewn into ‘pockets’ at the corners. This spreads the weight on the fabric and the legs over a wide area, so it shouldn’t rip or break. Make sure the tripod lashing is tight and the legs are mostly even when setting up - the knot will slip up and down the legs, but when sitting the weight will lock it in place.


Much applause!