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The Little Helper Tower

December 31, 2010 |
posted by Ana White
PDF versionPDF version

Bring your child to counter height with this Little Helper Tower. Features adjustable height platform, removable tip resistant kit, and optional fold flat modification.

The Little Helper Tower

Handmade from this plan >>

Projects built from this plan. Thank you for submitting brag posts, it's appreciated by all!

Dimensions

Dimensions: 
The Little Helper Tower
Dimensions: 
Dimensions are shown above. Heights of rungs are adjustable platform heights. Platform measures 15″ x 18″. You can add additional guards to fit the special needs of your individual child. For an older child (like my daughter) you could remove the tip resistant kit for a more compact profile.

Materials and Tools

Shopping List: 

1 – 1×8, 8 feet long
4 – 1×2, 8 feet long
1 – 1×3, 8 feet long
2 1/2″ screws (is you are not using pocket hole screws)
1 1/4″ screws
wood glue
paint and finishing supplies

Tools: 
measuring tape
square
pencil
safety glasses
hearing protection
drill
circular saw
jigsaw
sander
level
countersink drill bit

Cut List

Cut List: 

4 – 1×2 @ 38″ (Legs)
8 – 1×2 @ 15″ (Ladder rungs)
1 – 1×8 @ 15″ (Arches)
2 – 1×8 @ 16 1/2″ (Front and Back Sides)
2 – 1×8 @ 18″ (Platform)
2 – 1×2 @ 15″ (Platform Supports)
2 – 1×2 @ 16 1/2″ (Bottom Supports)
2 – 1×3 @ 16 1/2″ (Top Supports)
2 – 1×3 @ 24″ (Tip Resistors)
4 – 1×3 @ 3″ (Tip Resistors)

Step 1

The Little Helper Tower

Cut Arches

From the 1×8 that is 15″ long, cut arches as shown above. If your 1x8s do not measure 7 1/2″ wide, make sure you adjust accordingly at this stage, making your arches slightly less than 2 1/2″ high. Use the scrap as a pattern.

Step 2

The Little Helper Tower

Ladder Rungs

Measure and mark legs for ladder rung positions. Predrill holes and apply glue to ends of ladder rungs. Attach with either pocket holes or 2″ screws. Pocket holes are ideal, but my wood kept splitting, so I switched to countersunk 2 1/2″ screws and had really good luck that way. Make two

Step 3

The Little Helper Tower

Assembly

Mark the location of the end pieces and predrill holes. Apply glue and screw in place with 2 1/2″ screws or pocket hole screws. Adjust for square. You can add additional rails to the front and back as you see fit, but keep the sides open so your youngster can crawl in and out of the helping tower.

Step 4

The Little Helper Tower

Platform

Next, build your platform by marking the 1x8s that are 18″ long 1″ from the outsides. Attach with glue and 1 1/4″ screws the platform supports. These platform supports not only join the 1x8s, but they also keep the platform in place inside the helping tower.

Step 5

The Little Helper Tower

Fit

Fit the platform into the helping tower and test the fit. It should fit snug, but be easy to pull up and refit in a new location. You can also pull the platform out between the rungs and move up or down ea

Step 6

The Little Helper Tower

Tip Resistant Foot

Round the corners on the tip resistors as shown above. Screw together. You can optionally exclude the smaller tip resistors, as side to side tipping is less likely than backward tipping. You know your child better than anyone. Build to suit your child’s needs

Step 7

The Little Helper Tower

Attach Tip Resistant Footer

Simply screw the tip resistant footer to the legs as shown above.

Step 8

The Little Helper Tower

Folding Mod

By placing hinges instead of screwing the front and back pieces to the side pieces, you can make the Little Helper Tower fold easily. Just make sure you use plenty of strong hinges, make the platform fit very tight (adjust the inset on the ends to 3/4″ instead of 1″ in step 4, and regularly check to make sure your hinges are not loose. I personally prefer simplicity, and any time you add hinges, it increases the complexity. But for those of you who require storage for the Little Helper Tower (would slide under a bed easily) this mod if done with care can be the solution.

Step 9

The Little Helper Tower

What color are you painting yours?

My mother-in-law once told me a story about kids in a playground on a busy interstate highway.  At recess, the kids would play outside, running after balls, laughing freely and oblivious to the traffic.  But then one day, the fence around the playground came down and suddenly, the children were very aware of the traffic, and huddled in a circle in the center of the playground.

It might be work for me, but whatever I'm up to is my daughter's playground.  And today, she got a security fence.

I could not call this one the kitchen helper because I get help with everything from building and painting furniture, to doing laundry, to hanging pictures.  It's a helping tower.

This one really shouldn't have taken me a year to design.  In fact when I started working on the design this very afternoon, I had no clue it would be done by that evening.  But the truth is, I've been thinking about this design for a very very long time.  how can I make it easy to build?  Lightweight?  Easily adjustable?  Tip resistant?  Cheap?  Conserve materials?

I've been working on this one for much longer than a few hours.  And I'm so glad.  Because I couldn't be happier with the design.  It's easy to build.  It uses standard boards, so no tedious jigsaw cutting of plywood or wasted plywood pieces.  It's lightweight and more compact than it appears.  It's inexpensive to build (under $20 category without paint).  But I love most the adjustable platform.  The platform adjust so easily but securely!

And . . . after so many of you requested . . . an easy way to make the Little Helper Tower store under beds or in hallways.  The Little Helper Tower can easily fold flat.

Like 3" flat, under bed flat, in the garage flat, in no time flat.

And in no time flat, fold open again.

The platform keeps the Little Helper Tower from collapsing when in place.  Some notes about making yours fold:  It's always more sturdy to have a glued and screwed joint than a hinged one.  I highly recommend building yours fixed if you can (mine gets use all day, from making cookies to making forts), but if folding is a must, then use a total of 8 hinge sets (photos show only 4 sets because that's all I had on hand) and periodically check to make sure hinges are tight.  Also, when you construct the platform, leave just 3/4" space between the end and the supports to get a super tight fit on the platform.  See the final step for specific instructions on folding.

The platform adjusters are actually a ladder to get your youngster to climb into it, with the arch shape cut out above to give a little extra headroom when boarding the helping tower.

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AWESOME..TOO bad my kids are

AWESOME..TOO bad my kids are to big now..they're taller than me.

posted by iluvsawdusting (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 02:11

its looks nice,but just seems

its looks nice,but just seems like an accident waiting to happen.

posted by chris (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 03:46
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Trishdish's picture

Might help

I thought so too at first...and then I realized that right now my kids stand on a step stool when they help bake and they fall off that all the time! I think having the railing around them would help especially since mine are old enough to grab the rail if they started to loose their balance. I'm gonna try it!

posted by Trishdish | on Wed, 2011-03-16 23:29
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Momma Cunningham's picture

Really? With all the safety

Really? With all the safety features? That's odd you would say that.

posted by Momma Cunningham | on Mon, 2013-05-06 10:45

Yay! We have a 3-year-old

Yay! We have a 3-year-old who loves to help with *everything* and this is perfect! I've been eyeing the $200 models and they just are NOT in our budget -- can't wait to get this made for our girl -- thanks SO much!!

posted by Danielle (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 05:52

I can't wait to build this!

I can't wait to build this! Thanks Ana--you are the best!

posted by Jenna (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 05:54

So glad you did this one!

So glad you did this one! I've been meaning to do this myself ever since I saw a learning tower... and the $250+ price tags... Now I can move on directly to building rather than design. My 3 year old is gonna dig it! Now he can start doin' dishes! HA!

posted by Concretin Nik (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 06:25

just thought you should

just thought you should remind readers that this tower is not only great for getting the kids to counter height for kitchen helping, but with the addition of a blanket it becomes a play house or puppet theatre.

posted by lee (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 06:36

Help AND Play!

I love the comment about tossing a blanket over the tower to make it ready for play time! This is such an awesome project! Thank you so much for posting it!

posted by Jess Shevlin (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-09-12 13:25

Doing this one TODAY! with a

Doing this one TODAY! with a 1 year old and 3 year old, I have all the "help" I can get!

posted by Erin (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 06:46

Ana, I'm sending these

Ana,

I'm sending these plans to friends who have a very active toddler. BUT, when I saw this, I immediately thought of how cool it would be to add removable curtain rods - pressure fitted rods - to make this into a PUPPET THEATER! You would need four of them, so the sides and back would be closed. The front rod should be positioned about half-way back to create the "stage" and the front curtains should be split in the middle. How cute would that be?

posted by Corky King (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 07:02

Wow Ana, another project for

Wow Ana, another project for me! I love this. Thanks!

posted by Donna (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 07:03

Thank you Ana!

Thank you Ana!

posted by Jala (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 07:28

Awesome. Mine will be green

Awesome. Mine will be green or orange. Or teal. We'll see.

posted by Rebecca (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 07:35

I. Need. One. My 2-year old

I. Need. One. My 2-year old drags chairs all around the house so he can "help" me. Or so he can help himself get that toy that's out of his reach (usually with good reason...)

posted by Tracey (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 08:01

Anna, for you to do what you

Anna, for you to do what you do and for free, you are amazing. Thank you so much. I have been looking at your website for a couple of weeks now trying to decide what my first project will be and waiting for my husband to get his project car out of the garage. The helping tower is going to be my first project and I couldnt be more excited. I have a two year old that pushes chairs all around my house to help me. My four year old is handicapped and wants to help me so bad but she cant stand on a chair. so this will be perfect for her and save me from having to search my house for my chairs. Thank you so much

posted by Kassie (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 08:05

I wish my kitchen was bigger!

I wish my kitchen was bigger! My kitchen is smaller than most apartments! Under $20 is a steal too! These sell for $150 online!

Maybe one day when I get a bigger house! (a family of 5 in a house that's just over 1000 sq. ft.! We're a little cramped.)

posted by Kerrie (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 08:27

So excited for this one! I

So excited for this one! I already forwarded it to my dad (aka the one with the tools). We have had too many slips off stools and chairs at our house.

Thanks Ana!

posted by Kim (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 08:37

I love you Ana. I told my

I love you Ana. I told my husband that I have another lover and her name is Ana. ;)
I will be making these for each of my 3 little helpers and my nephew!

posted by megnstuff (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 08:44

Perfect timing!!! I was just

Perfect timing!!! I was just trying to think up plans for something like this over the holiday! My 20 month-old likes to "help" me in the kitchen. I let her sit on her knees on a tall chair but it makes me SO nervous. Can't wait to build this.

posted by Cassandra (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 08:56

This is super cute. AND a

This is super cute. AND a (nother) great idea.

posted by kimber (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 09:00

I'm considering making this

I'm considering making this my first ever building project *yikes!* and wondered if you could provide a tool list for the novices. I'm sure it's probably obvious, but I'd like to make sure I have everything I need before I start.

Thanks! Your blog is lovely and so empowering!

posted by Margaret V (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 09:14

This is AMAZING! I have the

This is AMAZING! I have the Learning Tower and I spent $$$ on it- I wish I would have had this plan before dropping all that money!! I've shared this plan with all my friends who wanted the Tower but couldn't afford it. Thanks Ana for making some little kiddos happy helpers! :)

posted by NichyB (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 09:29

Thanks so much Ana ... I've

Thanks so much Ana ... I've been admiring these in catalogs for years with the plan of always making my own for my granddaughter. We are snowed in, so I'm thinking it is a good project for us to work on. And I may make a few others for gifts. I can't think of a better gift for a small child.

posted by Teri (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 10:13

Brilliant! I love this! If

Brilliant! I love this! If only I had a place in my house I could actually keep it . . . .

posted by laree (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 10:15

Kerrie, that is tight (we've

Kerrie, that is tight (we've got three plus two dogs in 1200 square feet and that's tight) but this Helping Tower is not as big as it looks. It's still big, but they just look giant in photos.

posted by Ana White (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 13:06

It'll be stained or it'll be

It'll be stained or it'll be painted navy and white, likely with a PSU lion head logo on it.

posted by jengd (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 14:14

What kind of paint do you use

What kind of paint do you use on this? I'm looking for something kid safe, since my toddler might chew on it as he's standing there. I'm hoping not, but you never know.

posted by Jacqie (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 15:11
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cowenmama09's picture

safe paint

Have you looked into milk paint? It's a little more expensive but it would be safer than traditional paint (and give it a more antique feel) =)

posted by cowenmama09 | on Tue, 2011-05-24 01:26
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claydowling's picture

Any paint is safe

if it's dried. Only a few, that you're unlikely to find at a home improvement store, are dangerous before they're dried, and they're specialized products with a price tag to match.

Bob Flexner wrote an article about this a few years back, basically that if it would work on wood, once a finish has cured it's safe to store food and eat off of, which is more sensitive than chewing because of the ability to leach chemicals. A transcript of the article is here: http://www.mail-archive.com/blindhandyman@yahoogroups.com/msg17636.html

posted by claydowling | on Tue, 2011-05-24 09:11

Super cute! I've ben tempted

Super cute! I've ben tempted by the retail version (which does coops, btw, for the non-builders who are good organizers) but still put off by the $100+ price and the space it takes up.

For this price, I might justify the space!

posted by Sabrina (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 15:29

I just wanted to thank you

I just wanted to thank you for this WONDERFUL blog!!! I have yet to make anything but when the times comes I know I will be able to do it with all the wonderful help you have given us! My friend has made so much furniture from this site I think her house has had a complete make over this year!!! I hope you have a WONDERFUL new year and that next will be even better for you!

posted by shorty (not verified) | on Fri, 2010-12-31 23:59

brilliant Ana! thank you so,

brilliant Ana! thank you so, so much for this one!

i was just thinking last week that it would be simply awesome if you hacked the learning tower. when i stopped by to finalize my choices of projects for january, to my delight, i saw that you did hack them.

you totally, completely, utterly, MEGA rock!

posted by Homebirth Mama (not verified) | on Sat, 2011-01-01 01:16

there are many brands of

there are many brands of non-toxic paint out there. bio-shield, afm safecoat. milk paint would be a fantastic choice too.

posted by Homebirth Mama (not verified) | on Sat, 2011-01-01 01:17

Have you thought about a

Have you thought about a second life for this project. I was thinking that we'd make this for our girls and when they get too tall, it can be quickly modified to a puppet theater or playhouse.

posted by Heather Fox (not verified) | on Sat, 2011-01-01 16:19

I am SUPER excited about this

I am SUPER excited about this one! I think I have all the lumber in the garage to make it! Do you think the tower would maintain its' stability if I widened it to fit two children? I was thinking 24 inches. Thanks.

posted by Lavina D. (not verified) | on Sat, 2011-01-01 21:09

Ana, great design! We have

Ana, great design! We have twin granddaughters that just turned 3. My first thought was one wider stand but ruled it out. They're very competitive so one each may be safer. They love helping mom in the kitchen.

posted by Al Benton (not verified) | on Sun, 2011-01-02 09:22

We have a family of five in

We have a family of five in just over 1000 sq. ft. as well and I actually have a learning tower that someone gave me (otherwise I'd be building this right now). The LT has actually made more room for me in the kitchen, because both my boys (3 and 1) can stand on it together versus each on a chair. My one year-old loves to hang out on it while I do lots of other stuff, too. In my case it was worth the space it takes up and Anna is right, it's not as big as it looks.

posted by Cheryl (not verified) | on Sun, 2011-01-02 21:17

Kerrie! I have 5kids and me

Kerrie! I have 5kids and me and hubby in 1200 sf. If we can do it anyone can! Its tight to be sure but with creativity you can make it work! Thanks to Ana I have so many ideas just waiting to build! I too thought this would be great for my 2 toddlers as a great climber. They could use it in the kitchen too. LOVE it Ana! Thanks for your site it's pure genius!

posted by farm-marm (not verified) | on Sun, 2011-01-02 23:42

Heather, my daughter is four,

Heather, my daughter is four, so she really is on the upper end of needing this. But she is fascinated with using it as a "tower" and playing Rapunzel and is constantly draping blankets over it and making forts. It is her favorite thing right now! I would like to add a chalkboard/easel as well . . . and I did make a folding mod, so check back for that post.

I would not buy this(retails for $150-$200) with an only child because of the cost/space considerations, but if you can make it for $20, that changes everything. So when your child outgrows it in a few years, there will be little guilt about repurposing or donating or handing it down.

posted by Ana White (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-01-03 11:10

amazing! I wanted one of

amazing! I wanted one of these, but really can't afford one right now! $20!?!?! I'm amazed!

posted by rachel@mypinkflipflops (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-01-03 12:15

Lavina, if you were to just

Lavina, if you were to just add 6" to all the cuts that run parallel to the platform-so all the boards except the legs, ladder rungs and arches and platform supports-that should do the trick. Ana

posted by Ana White (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-01-03 17:46

Thanks!

Thanks!

posted by Lavina D. (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-01-03 22:28

I have so many "ohhhh this is

I have so many "ohhhh this is gonna be my first project! " but now seeing this, I think this just might be it! I'm scared to death to try it but after seeing my small 4 year old son stand, sit, stand, kneel on one of our kitchen chairs to do his "mixings", I knew that he needs to have one of these! Thanks Ana!

posted by Annie (not verified) | on Tue, 2011-01-04 09:02

I don't think I can get any

I don't think I can get any of these locally. Guess I'll broaden my searches online. Thanks.

posted by Jacqie (not verified) | on Tue, 2011-01-04 12:32

oh! most home depots carry

oh! most home depots carry yolo colorhouse paint now. i haven't researched that one as much as the others i suggested, but i do believe it is no-voc, no poly's, and pretty safe. :)

posted by Homebirth Mama (not verified) | on Tue, 2011-01-04 13:50

Well, after consulting with

Well, after consulting with the twins Mom, we're going to widen the Tower by 6" as you suggest, so both can use it together.

posted by Al Benton (not verified) | on Tue, 2011-01-04 14:16

I bought the materials for

I bought the materials for this today at Home Depot and was fortunate to get a guy nice enough to make all my cuts! But I am still sooooo nervous about getting started!

My husband gave me the go ahead about 2 weeks ago to purchase the $150 kitchen helper online but I just wasn't ready to pay that much. The following week these plans were posted here! We really need it because our 4 year old daughter has spina bifida and it's just not safe for her to kneel on a chair since she doesn't have good balance. I used to let her sit on our island to help me until she fell head first onto the ceramic tile floor and had to rush her to the ER. I guess $150 for the kitchen tower would have been cheaper than that, huh?!? Wish me luck!!!

posted by April K (not verified) | on Tue, 2011-01-04 18:42

I have been on vacation from

I have been on vacation from your blog for too many days!!! I have literally been trying to figure out something just like your design. My daughter wants me to hold her constantly when I am in the kitchen or working at a table or whatever. Now she can see what I am doing but not be on my hip while I am doing dishes and painting the play kitchen i just built from YOUR PLANS!!! I don't think I can thank you enough for all of your inspiration

posted by Anna (not verified) | on Wed, 2011-01-05 10:39

Oh, thank you, thank you!

Oh, thank you, thank you! I've had my eye on the Learning Tower and it's $200 price tag for a year now...this is a totally do-able project and will make me, my husband and our son so very happy. $20 in materials, really?! I am so excited. Thanks for sharing your plans with us.

posted by Dawn (not verified) | on Wed, 2011-01-05 14:20

Saa-weeet! I love that you

Saa-weeet! I love that you made it fold flat! Now we can throw it in the laundry room when we're not using it!

My to-do list on your site is so long! The other day I noticed you changed your website and all my plans that I saved were gone. So I went through your catalog again and now I think my list is longer! LOL!

Thanks for the awesome work!

posted by Kerrie (not verified) | on Wed, 2011-01-05 16:04

The 24" wide tower was a snap

The 24" wide tower was a snap to build. Used pocket holes and glue.

Now I'm building a second one with hinges that folds and stores. I plan to offset the top support upward about 1/2" to avoid a possible pinch hazard where it and the arched sides come together. With hinges, it's going to wiggle some. If they are at the same height I see potential of it pinching. Raising the board a little should keep a little arm from getting pinched in there. I'll round off the edges.

posted by Al Benton (not verified) | on Wed, 2011-01-05 17:43

It might be a good idea to

It might be a good idea to put felt on the bottom to make it easier to push and keep floors, especially hardwood, from being scratched.

posted by ramona (not verified) | on Thu, 2011-01-06 11:40

Nice! If only I have a

Nice! If only I have a saw... :D Maybe I'll ask a friend to help me out on it.

One question though: when the platform is on a lower rug, how does the child get inside? From the topmost rug to the bottommost setting, it's almost 12" to jump down into. And I can totally imagine older children *will* jump into it.

posted by Cindy (not verified) | on Thu, 2011-01-06 12:55

Cindy, I tip the scale at

Cindy, I tip the scale at 185. Before I sent the tower home with the twins I stood in it. Although I didn't jump up and down I did exert extra force by flexing my knees a little. It's strong enough for a 35 or 40 pound 4 or 5 year-old to hop into with no fear of breaking it. Mine is glued and pocket screwed so it has very strong joints but if the cross members that support the platform are not skimped on, it should hold up to a bouncing youngster.

posted by Al Benton (not verified) | on Thu, 2011-01-06 14:02

Thank you so much! I've seen

Thank you so much! I've seen these in catalogs for a couple hundred dollars, but I always thought "well, that'd be great until you had noplace to put it away. It's expensive and a space hog..." Your folding mod is brilliant. My hsband is going to have a busy weekend, and a VERY happy group of kids later on.

posted by nIGHTINGALE tAMAR (not verified) | on Thu, 2011-01-06 15:11

I didn't mean tipping; I

I didn't mean tipping; I meant how the heck does the child get in and out of it. I guess it doesn't matter when the child is already climbing over the initial 19" from the outside.

posted by Cindy (not verified) | on Thu, 2011-01-06 15:56

OH MY GOSH You're a

OH MY GOSH You're a genius!!!!!!!!!!
I have wanted one of these for YEARS for my kids, and I just couldn't get around the price tag, and the fact that you made it foldable? Yeah...I had to shout that one (to my hubby) to the other side of the house! He came in to check it out and said "yeah, good design, I could easily make that " (he's the framer/carpenter in the household:)

Thank you. Thank you. Thank yoU!!
PS Saw you on the Living Crafts blog.

Sarah M

posted by Sarah M (not verified) | on Thu, 2011-01-06 16:26

For my birthday I'm asking

For my birthday I'm asking for a $20 Lowe's gift card and a whole Saturday afternoon to myself. Best. Gift. Ever.

Awesome project. Awesome website.

posted by Jessica (not verified) | on Thu, 2011-01-06 17:41

At first glance, I could see

At first glance, I could see how you would think so, Chris. That is what I thought, too.

However, my good friend has had an expensive one (she paid over $140 for hers in Germany) for about 8 years with 4 kids. They are in her kitchen all the time, helping with every meal and project. She claims they have never had an accident of any kind with it.

I wish I had had one for my kids but they are all practically giants now :) :(

posted by Jenny in CG (not verified) | on Thu, 2011-01-06 20:52

This looks like it would be

This looks like it would be great at my house! I know that I can get Home Depot to make my straight cuts, but what type of saw do you use to make the cuts for the curves?

posted by Cathy Helmert (not verified) | on Fri, 2011-01-07 06:47

I'm going to try to

I'm going to try to incorporate your easel / chalkboard onto this plan. I saw something like this as an add-on to a Tower I saw on mystepstool.com.

posted by TexasJuju (not verified) | on Fri, 2011-01-07 12:09

This is the third project I

This is the third project I have tackled from your brilliant ideas. I do have a question on this one though. I was just wondering if the 1x2s on the purchase list are supposed to be 10 foot, or are they suppose to be a quantity of 4? From the cut list I come up about 4 feet short on 1x2s.

posted by CT-Dave (not verified) | on Fri, 2011-01-07 16:54

I'm sure it's me that's

I'm sure it's me that's wrong. I'm so sorry. Will check it out.

posted by Ana White (not verified) | on Fri, 2011-01-07 19:31

It's true, the cut list

It's true, the cut list requires 335" of 2" wide boards and 3) 96" boards is only 288". I purchased 1x8's and ripped everything on the table saw but used more than I expected.

posted by Al Benton (not verified) | on Fri, 2011-01-07 19:42

If you are making a fixed

If you are making a fixed platform, suggest using dowels instead of screws. This will make the joints almost as strong as a mortise and tenon and is a lot less work. The dowels do not loosen up as easily as screws and the finished product can be clear coated or stained instead of painting.

posted by Steve B (not verified) | on Sat, 2011-01-08 12:37

Hello, I will be a complete

Hello, I will be a complete beginner coming in February when we move! I am excited but confused. I see when you do plans there is a shopping list and a cutting list. If I am just getting home Depot to cut for me do I just give them the cutting list? My point I guess is there is wood on both lists! LOL I assume it's because most people buy the wood then cut themselves? Thanks fro any help on this subject, anyone!

posted by Tamra (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-01-10 03:03

Bought wood at Lowe's for two

Bought wood at Lowe's for two towers with the tip resistant feet. Cut, sanded and and assembled the first one. Took longer than I thought but I sanded quite a bit to make the wood very smooth. Counter sunk and filled the screw holes with stainable, paintable putty. Final sanding, primer and paint tomorrow. The platform feels very sturdy and solid. The adjustable platform works very well. My daughter and my grandson will love it.
Thanks Ana, for clear and easy to follow plans. Hint - buy better quality wood to sand less. Great project!

posted by PapaJohn (not verified) | on Thu, 2011-01-13 21:05

Thank you so much, Ana! We

Thank you so much, Ana! We had a Learning Tower and LOVED it, but it was pricey. This is a much better alternative. Plus, you can color-match the tower to your kitchen! :)

posted by Stephanie (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-01-17 13:48

My husband made this!!! And

My husband made this!!! And our 18 month old calls it his, "UP!". Its a great addition to our house. I love that this is foldable, whereas the original isn't.

I painted it a tasteful aqua color since it will be in our kitchen for so much of the time and I needed to enjoy looking at it, too.

My husband altered two of the panels to have an arch, similar to the opposing sides' top arches, and its really sharp.

I mentioned your site specifically in my blog post. So SO SO happy with this project! http://thefabulousmrshaid.blogspot.com/2011/01/helping-tower-for-my-help...

posted by Bethany (not verified) | on Tue, 2011-01-18 21:44

kitchen helper hinges

Please let me know if your hinges are inset into the wood or just on the outer surface. Also how did they hold up after heavy use. Hope to hear soon as I am ready to join panels.

posted by Norm (not verified) | on Tue, 2012-08-28 09:35

The most fabulous shade of

The most fabulous shade of blue! I just love love love this!

posted by Ana White (not verified) | on Wed, 2011-01-19 14:25

Good job Ana. I bought he

Good job Ana. I bought he lumber, cut them on my compound miter saw, started clamping, drilling and screwing all the pieces together. Took about 4 hours. My daughter absolutely loves it. Next week I'll be puttying, sanding, primering and painting. Going with Pottery Barn white and will be painting our daughters name and soon-to-arrive son's name on them.

Now if I can just teach her how to do dishes ;)

posted by Geoffrey McCorkle (not verified) | on Sun, 2011-01-23 20:17

Thank you, thank you, thank

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the plans!!! I had been wishin over the Learning Tower for a while, even tried to win one. And it was just too much out of our budget. So after I ran across your post, I figured it wouldn't hurt to send it to my dad (who happens to be a woods craftsman) to see if he'd do it. Well, when my parents came to visit last weekend, he surprised us all with one! I love how it can fold out of the way when needed and I might just make a puppet show curtain for it, too. He added anti-slip material on the platform and on the bottom of the feet. The girls love it!

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee86/designz_scm/Random/DSC02762-tower.jpg

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee86/designz_scm/Random/DSC02764-tower.jpg

posted by darcy (not verified) | on Thu, 2011-01-27 16:28

Thank you, thank you, thank

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the plans!!! I had been wishin over the Learning Tower for a while, even tried to win one. And it was just too much out of our budget. So after I ran across your post, I figured it wouldn't hurt to send it to my dad (who happens to be a woods craftsman) to see if he'd do it. Well, when my parents came to visit last weekend, he surprised us all with one! I love how it can fold out of the way when needed and I might just make a puppet show curtain for it, too. He added anti-slip material on the platform and on the bottom of the feet. And he lowered one bar (on the front) so they wouldn't have to lean over it. The girls love it!

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee86/designz_scm/Random/DSC02762-tower.jpg

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee86/designz_scm/Random/DSC02764-tower.jpg

posted by darcy (not verified) | on Thu, 2011-01-27 16:30

I love your site Ana. I have

I love your site Ana. I have been checking it out since I found it a couple months ago. When I saw this project marked as "beginner," I called my dad to see if I could use his tools to get started on this one as my VERY FIRST wood working project EVER.

I'm squeezing it in between a toddler and newborn baby and trips to my dad's house to make it....but I have to say, it's much harder than I thought it would be originally. Thank goodness my dad has a lot of experience in the construction industry and is able to help coach me on a lot of things I had no idea about.

I have only gotten the cuts done, but am starting on sanding. Thought I would mention it for other "beginners" they may want to sand the sharp edges on it.

posted by Holly (not verified) | on Thu, 2011-01-27 18:14

Ana, you have no idea how

Ana,
you have no idea how excited I am that I was directed to your site. When I saw this I was IMing a friend, and by what I said and how I said it (all caps) she thought my water had broken. :)
I am completely oblivious when it comes to tools and building things, and I will honestly say I have not read through all of your comments to see if it's already been asked, but can you tell me what tools I will need to make this?

Thank you for your time, knowledge and passion. I'm so thrilled.

posted by jessica (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-01-31 12:23

hi there, this was my first

hi there, this was my first ever building project, as my wife wanted one for our little girl, so i bought all the gear (though in australia our wood sizes are different to what you suggested, plus i struggle with inches, i work much better in metric!) so i had to change the plan a bit, not my forte, as i am terrible at maths, and got started, got all the equipment for about $45, and took it all to work, as night shift is often a time for getting creative.
it is completely built now, just finishing painting it, and although without a vice or a lot of the proper tools, it isn't quite square, but i cut some bits longer to accomodate it. and i am soo happy with it, and so is my wife, i really impressed myself with this one. so thanks very much, please keep up the good work.
now to find another project.....

posted by brad (not verified) | on Sun, 2011-02-20 20:18

In Australia too.

Hi Brad,

Are you able to share what size wood you used? I'm in Australia as well and I'm having trouble figuring out what size wood to use (I'm Canadian and didn't realise there was such a difference with wood sizes down here!).
I'd really appreciate any advice you have!
Thanks!

posted by MeganS (not verified) | on Sun, 2013-01-20 23:58

Finished! Well, almost. I

Finished! Well, almost. I need another coat of paint, but couldn't wait to let the kids use it and take pics. My 2 year old is so in LOVE with it. He climbs all over it, plays with his toys in it, and even wants to watch TV in it. He helped me make pancakes and muffins in it so far. He's also sharing it with his 6 month old sister - amazing that he would share anything!

This project may be for a "beginner" who has a clue about woodworking, but since I did not have a single clue...I am very lucky my dad was able to mentor me through this. It was much harder than I would have been able to tackle on my own. He had all the tools, tricks, and knowledge that is not inherent in the plans.

My total cost was about $6 because my dad had all materials on hand and we used scrap wood from an old trellis. We slightly modified plans since our wood was .5 inch smaller and we doubled up on screws to make it extra secure (I'm so glad we did because my son climbs and swings from it like a monkey)

Seems like the blue green is popular - it's the paint my dad had lying around too!https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/7l1IILkyUZyhiizhP93rLWuAOYGWin4qCo3YdZsH_dU?feat=directlinkhttps://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/f14C-1Osr8r6JHX-Z8FucWuAOYGWin4qCo3YdZsH_dU?feat=directlinkhttps://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ZY2VMikXUMdLNENu3dXOk2uAOYGWin4qCo3YdZsH_dU?feat=directlinkhttps://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/WQ3wmQellQXS3cswpeU3JWuAOYGWin4qCo3YdZsH_dU?feat=directlinkhttps://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/lcl5hxYfDwDC0hrwCCCBlWuAOYGWin4qCo3YdZsH_dU?feat=directlink

posted by Holly (not verified) | on Thu, 2011-03-10 23:09

finished tower yesterday

I built this, but made a few modifications. I made each side its own complete panel, and attached these panels together with hinges. It seemed sturdier this way. Also, I lowered the rail on one side giving it a definite 'front' that matches our counter height. Also eased all the edges with 1/8" round over bit to make it feel nicer for my daughter.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/phillipmoore/5591153056/

posted by Phillip Moore (not verified) | on Tue, 2011-04-05 10:31
clips

Thank you for your modifications - they work great

Thanks, we appreciated and incorporated the modifications you posted.

posted by Mama Sorenson | on Fri, 2012-01-20 06:24
clips
Keri's picture

I really love this plan.  I

I really love this plan.  I made two of them, a stationary one for my 2 yr old and a folding one for my cousin's 3 yr old.  I definitely like the stationary one better.  I was having issues locating the jig saw, so I finally gave up and modified the plan.  For the tip resisters I just cut a 45 degree chunk off  the ends.  I still wanted an arch of sorts so that they had the extra head room while climbing in, so I used 1x2.  For each side, I used three pieces, two angling up and one to bridge them.  That left points from the diagonal cut sticking out, so I just cut those flush with the small bridging piece.  I  liked this, and if I had planned it from the beginning I could have saved myself the cost of some 1x8.  Now I'm planning a step stool or two =0).

I finished my son's with a Minwax wipe on stain/poly in bright green, which I like a lot but took a lot longer to wipe on than I'd expected.  Also, next time I'll let the pocket holes show and skip the fill if I'm not painting it - maybe even if I am.  I used a smooth foam roller to roll on some shell pink oops paint onto my niece's before I attached the hinges.  I used some pretty cabinet hinges for the wide boards, but had to buy utility hinges to fit the other.  The utility hinges came with much better screws and are sturdier, so I'll only use those next time.

Also, next time I will use 1x3 for the frames if I'm going to hinge them.  A little more expensive, but I can be sure that the edges of the hinges don't show.

posted by Keri | on Wed, 2011-04-06 22:52
clips
guamgirl73's picture

Toddler won't get off long enough for me to paint it!!

This is by far the best project I've ever built! I was looking to purchase one of these commercially, but no company would ship to Guam- Thank goodness! I saved a ton of money, and it was a really fun, simple build! Thank you Ana! Its not quite done, my toddler won't get off of it long enough for me to paint it- but its wonderful just the same!

posted by guamgirl73 | on Fri, 2011-04-08 19:28

Wondering if I can convert

Wondering if I can convert this to be a snazzy potty step stool. Our potty is too high off the floor for my two year old to go without help. It would be wonderful to have this minus two sides to give her the assistance to get on the potty and have a rail to hold on to. Hmmmmm *wheels spinning* ! Thoughts?!?!

posted by Guest (not verified) | on Fri, 2011-05-06 13:07

We love our learning tower!!

My husband completed this about a month ago and I can't tell you how much we love it. Thank you for sharing these plans with us. We painted our "Pottery Barn White" because I am so un-imaginative! LOL!

Thanks again!

posted by Karianna Frey (not verified) | on Fri, 2011-06-17 11:26

I bought a learning tower--wish I had seen these plans first!

I have the Learning Tower for my 4 year old. We've had it for about 2 years. My husband initially was very upset I spent so much money on it, but within three days told me it was one of my best purchases! We literally use it constantly--in the kitchen she helps us cook, make playdough, wash dishes, anything at the counter. SO I'm excited to see these plans! I'd say the only drawbacks to the original Learning Tower are the price tag and the fact that you can't fold it up and its not the easiest thing to move from place to place (counter to sink, etc.). You have solved all of these issues with your plans! I am SOOOO making one (or more--gifts for nephews?)! Thank you!

posted by Kat (not verified) | on Thu, 2011-08-18 23:19

Hi, I know this is old but

Hi, I know this is old but what kind of wood would (!) be best to use??

posted by Guest Jess (not verified) | on Tue, 2011-12-06 23:41
clips
loniwolfe's picture

Hi Jess

Any type would be fine. Alot of us use the least expensive boards we can get (white wood or pine). But you could buy nicer boards, like cedar, if you planned on staining, not painting. I always buy the pine boards to save money and everything I've built is super sturdy. I built the chesapeake outdoor coffee table and my 350lb dad uses it as a bench. lol.

posted by loniwolfe | on Wed, 2011-12-07 00:24

OMG... can I buy this from

OMG... can I buy this from someone?! There's no way I can build it, but my 4 year old would LOVE it!

posted by Angela Williams (not verified) | on Wed, 2011-12-28 00:57

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