Our kitchen island is currently surrounded by three counter stools (to call them "rustic" is a stretch), and we are in dire need of an update. Here is an option I'm seriously considering: a Bucket Concrete Stool, dreamed up by Ben Uyeda, a designer, lecturer, and entrepreneur who makes (and shares) smart, affordable DIY design ideas on his site, Home Made Modern.
For step-by-step instruction, go to Home Made Modern.
Above: Uyeda uses a 120-grit sand paper to smooth the edges.
Above: The stool's legs are dip-dyed in white semi-gloss low VOC paint by using a cut-off plastic water bottle.
Above: In case your stool legs are uneven, add washers in the caps for any leg that is too short. It's recommended that you use construction adhesive to keep the pipe caps attached to the dowel legs.
Above: The finished product.
Above: Supplies needed: Quikrete 5000 concrete mix, wooden dowels, 5 gallon plastic bucket, and copper pipe caps and washers.
Above: Put 3 inches of concrete mix in the bucket, shake out the bubbles, and add the dowel legs (1 1/2 inches past the surface of the concrete and let the legs rest against the sides of the bucket). After 20 hours of drying time you can bend the sides of the bucket outwards a few times in each direction to loosen the concrete from the bucket, then pull the stool out by the legs.
N.B.: Looking for more $5 projects? Here are another 278 DIY ideas to consider.