Last year at the local markets I saw an Ikea stool that had been made into a toadstool, perfect for small children, with a lovingly crocheted top which cost upwards of $40. Crocheting is way beyond my meagre talents, so I came up with a slightly more modest approach, although you will need to be able to handle a sewing machine.
I made three stools for my daughters, and together they cost less than $50, took around 1-2 hours to make and are practically weather-proof so they can live outside in the garden.
The instructions and supplies below will make three stools, but you can make more or less depending on what you need. The fabric and yoga mat will probably make at least four if you are careful with your cutting out.
These are the cheapest stools to buy, although a bit temperamental to assemble
1 metre of LIALOTTA plastic-coated fabric, red with white spots from Ikea $12 (if you can't find the fabric, try Spotlight or another fabric shop for spotty fabric, or get plain red fabric and sew or paint the white circles on).
5m Birch elastic, minimum 6mm wide, from Spotlight – a couple of dollars.
A cheap yoga mat, can be found at Red Dot or Variety Shops – approx. $10.
Start by cutting three circles from the fabric, each with a 45cm diameter. Unless you have the world's largest dinner plates, you're going to have to guesstimate the circle. I used the largest plate I could find and then used a ruler to make marks on the fabric to the appropriate distance, which I then joined up by hand.
Using the top of the Mammut stools, draw three circles on the yoga mat with a biro and cut them out. This will be the padding on the top of the mushroom. If you want to get a little fancy, cut two more circles per stool, each about 5cm smaller (diameter) than the previous one. This will give it a more rounded appearance. Use the craft glue to stick the three layers together, and leave to dry for at least 24 hours.
Take one piece of elastic, and secure it to the wrong side of a fabric circle with a few stitches. Then pull the elastic as tight as you possibly can and carefully sew the elastic to the fabric, about 1-2cm from the edge. It is essential that you sew the elastic on only when it is completely stretched. The 70cm length will be sufficient (you'll probably have an inch or two excess which you can trim).
To make the mushroom seats, simply assemble the Mammut stool, place the foam on top of the stool, then stretch the fabric top over. The elastic should be tight enough to secure the cover to the stool, but if you find it slips, use red ribbon (two pieces per leg) attached to the inside of the cover that you can tie tightly around the inside of the leg.
The mushroom top will shrivel up when it is finished