The Little Helper Tower
Bring your child to counter height with this Little Helper Tower. Features adjustable height platform, removable tip resistant kit, and optional fold flat modification.
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.
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
paint and finishing supplies
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)
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
Attach Tip Resistant Footer
Simply screw the tip resistant footer to the legs as shown above.
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.
What color are you painting yours?