Vintage Step Stool

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Dimensions: 
Dimensions are shown above. I find this stool perfect to give Grace that extra boost to brush her own teeth, climb up on our Farmhouse Bed, or get in and out of the bath. You will be surprised at just how big this step stool ends up being.
Dimensions: 

1 – 1×12 @ 32″ (Sides)
1 – 1×2 @ 50″
1 – 1×8 @ 32″ (Treads)
2″ screws or 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws
wood glue, wood filler and finishing supplies

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

2 – 1×12 @ 15 1/2″ (Sides – cut out in step 1)
4 – 1×2 @ 12 1/2″ (Supports)
2 – 1×8 @ 15″ (Treads)

Project Type: 
Skill Level: 
Estimated Cost: 

Step 1

Sides

Use the measurements above to cut from the 1x12s sides as shown above. Use a jigsaw. Once you have on side cut out, use it as a pattern for the other side. Take note of which side of the line you should cut on and take your time cutting. Sand edges so the two pieces are the same.

Step 2

Bottom Supports

Attach the bottom supports with screws and glue. I used pocket hole screws, but you can also use 2″ wood screws and a good old countersink bit.

Summary: 

A vintage look step stool featuring two steps and a decorative footer.

Step 4

Top Supports

Now attach the top supports in the same way as the bottom supports.

Step 5

Tops

Now add the tops. I simply screwed through the tops, but you could screw from the supports (with glue of course) to hide your screw holes.

Step 6

Finishing Instructions

Finish Used: 
Now for the fun part. I love painting and finishing smaller pieces. I encourage you to try a unlikely finish on your step stool. You can always add another coat of paint! Have a great weekend!

Before Christmas, I drew up this plan and meant to get to it by the Holidays.  But reality happens, and I just don't get as much done as I could hope.  So a printout of this plan got burried on my steel magnet wall for a month or two . . . until yesterday.

I'm working on a photo shoot for Fresh Home magazine (so excited that they have asked me to do another project for their fabulous magazine!  You can go here to get signed up to get your free issue.) and the shot just needed . . . something.  Something a tad vintage, a little not perfect, and a lot useful.



I wanted this stool to look well-used and far from perfect, thus the heavy distressing and uneven jigsaw cuts and exposed screws.  To get this finish, I simply painted one coat of flat honeysuckle pink paint (Premium Paint by Behr in Flat) with a brush and let dry overnight.  This is very important.  If you begin distressing too soon, the paint will come off in gooey chunks, as opposed to a-little-wear-over-alot-of-years looking.  Then just started sanding with a power sander and medium grit sandpaper, concentrating on the areas that would get natural wear.  If you wanted to stain the exposed wood, you would need to apply a clear coat before sanding.  The clear coat protects the non distressed areas from accepting the stain, with the exposed wood area accepting the stain.  You can go the other route - stain before paint, but you would need to add primer because it's difficult to put paint over stain.

Comments

I'm going to be making something like this, but hoping to add another step and some guardrails (side walls?) on the sides so that our just turned 1 yr. old can find his way down off of our tall bed. This gives me some more ideas! Oh, and I know I'm going to build it b/c I've heard my hubby tell my girls, "Mommy is going to make him something so that he can down safely"--he believes in me!

I have been wanting something like this ever since we've been considering potty training our toddler. And now... I want to paint it pink, even though we have a boy. Ana you are amazing.

Oh... how... cute... I dont have any small children (or grandchildren yet) anymore, but I still want to make this, and paint it pink! I have all kinds of places where a stool like that will be useful in my house! I like how your stool is flaired at the base too. I love the exposed screw heads too. Makes it look, like you said, well used and far from perfect. Love it. Thanks again Ana!

I've been waiting for something exactly like this. My niece is pregnant and this is something I planned on making for the new baby!! Thanks for the plan, Ana!

I LOVE this finish!! That is SO cute!! I have boys, so mine would have to be blue but I'm SO taking sand paper to that baby!! (The stool, not my actual baby.)

I love this and I need this for me !!!!!! The finish info is very helpful. Thank you Ana. i need to start collecting scrap and recycle wood for these little projects.

Hi Barbara, I was thinking the same thing and thought they looked angled. Did you angle any of your cuts? If so do you mind sharing what angle you used?

Just finished this step stool and it turned out great! It feels very sturdy and is super cute. I wanted an easy project to test out my new Kreg jig (which, by the way, I LOVE). It took me about 2 hours and less than $20. Now I just need to decide on a color. This will be a great gift and cheap if you use scraps!

Well I know next to nothing about finishing, so it's probably all wrong. But I stained it dark then painted it yellow. Oops paint FTW! Then sanded it. Everyone thinks it's really old, not a few days old!

I decided to tackle this step-stool as a first build as an OMG moment. When my husband’s almost 4 yr/old granddaughter was taken just a little too much time in the bathroom washing her hands, cuz' she is "big enuf' to do it by herself", she was standing on the toilet washing her hands. All I could picture was her slipping and busting her chin or head on the countertop or toilet. So, after a quick trip to town, I had all my wood. Out to the barn and started cutting, it took me all of 15 minutes to cut everything out and sanding, well that took a few days. I had to clean out the storage building in the hunt for my sander. Which amazingly sprouted wings and flew away. After another trip to town to purchase a new sander, I finally had it sanded. I asked my husband to use his new (Valentines present, purchased with motive) Kreg gig, to drill the holes for me. Now it was together, what to do for the finish?? After having it sit on my kitchen table for about a week (nope don't use table much) I decided to stain the little step stool. I had oak stain and black stain (both from previous projects), oak stain first ... ugh, hated it; try the black stain, not a good look. Paint? Why not?! First some white then a touch of red and lastly turquoise. OMG again, that looks like one Hot Mess!! Sand like crazy, O' O' that is starting to look like something. But what? Old barn wood. Turned out great!! Woo Hoo! Husband thinks I did it purpose, little does he know. I have tried to post a picture but unable, not because of site, but because my lack of know-how. Love the new site!! Love all that you do!!

Rhoni T

I just bought the wood and started cutting for the foot stool. I only have a circular saw, not a jigsaw. Do you think I should buy a jigsaw - will it make the cuts easier for this? Also, should I buy a cheap one ($30-$50)or is it worth it to invest in a more expensive one ($100 -$150). Any advice would be appreciated!

Erin

Hi Erin, definitely having a jigsaw is well worth the investment. You'll need it for all sorts of cuts, like finishing circular saw cuts or cutting curves. I'd definitely invest in one. I had an inexpensive one for years and it did just fine.

Another thought - and would love other reader's input here - is using a router or rotozip or dremel for cuts like this. Then you could use the dremel tool to finish edges as well.

Just some thoughts good luck! Just admiring my step stool today, still LOVE it and it's really the jigsaw work and the distressing that makes me love it so much!

There's really no replacement for the jig saw, unless you decide to drop the big bucks on a bow saw or band saw.

Dremel tools are great if you're making models or doing fine detail work, but I hardly every use mine. Routers are better for duplicating an existing curve.

The only other option you might consider is a coping saw. It will take slightly longer, but it's quite inexpensive and perfectly capable of making these cuts.

Thank you so much for the advice. I do have a coping saw, which I was thinking about using for the curves. I think I will invest in a less expensive jigsaw anyway. I'll try to post pictures when I'm done. Thanks again to Anna and Clay.
Erin

Shouldn't the length of the side pieces be 16 1/2"? 8 + 7 1/2 + 1= 16 1/2. Right? Or am I missing something, which is ENTIRELY possible. ;)

That 1" you're trying to add isn't and additional width. It's the inset from the edge for the back of the top step. It's irrelevant to determining the length of the side piece.

I would agree but the problem comes with looking at the picture. Because the back cut is at an angle, terminating at the full length of the cut board I think it does matter. In the picture, across the top it has 3 measurements which add up to 16 1/2 inches.

The 1" measurement is inside of the 7 1/2" measurement. That's common notation in plans.

If you want to make it 16 1/2" long in total that's your choice, but you'll have to adjust other measurements if you do. It's not really a problem, in practice you don't actually fit everything exactly to plan dimensions anyway. In fact unless I'm building machinery I very rarely use a detailed measured plan, but instead measure from the piece to fit my needs.

Ahhh, okay that makes sense. Thank you so much Clay! I'm not a skilled or experienced woodworker by any means so I appreciate the assist!

In the dark ages before there was an Internet, shop class was a mandatory part of the educational curriculum, and drafting was about half of the introductory class. Unfortunately schools are defunding vocational training like shop class and home economics.

this is a great thing to build with youre dad because you get quality bonding time

I love the finish on this stool - it's very inspiring! If the weather in Chicago cools down in the next few weeks, I might be tempted to make one that looks just like this!

Ana, I looked at many step stools (this one will be for our dog to get on to the bed) and my wife and I both chose this design. My question to anyone who might have experience with this. In so far as looks and possibly safety is concerned, how would it look if the corners were rounded on this vintage stool?

Ana, when you are ready to cut out your sides from your 1 x 12 blanks, use some good double sided tape to adhere your two pieces together. When you cut, you'll get two exact sides. Keep them taped together and sand them. Pull apart when done. Cuts your time in half.

It appears that in the final photos the legs are splayed outward but in the plan it appears they are perpendicular. What gives and are there other plans for the stool with the splayed legs?

Jake

It appears that in the final photos the legs are splayed outward but in the plan it appears they are perpendicular. What gives and are there other plans for the stool with the splayed legs?

Jake

How can I make the stool with the legs at an angle like in the picture? I have cut everything out and it is ready to put together, but I'm stuck on what angle to make it. It makes the top come together too much. Any suggestions would be appreciated!!

there are plans for a stepstool with angled legs in ana's book (project 14) - albeit with a slightly different (inset) front step

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