Vintage Step Stool

Submitted by Ana White on Thu, 02/03/2011 - 19:56
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A vintage look step stool featuring two steps and a decorative footer.

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.

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.


Shopping List

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

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)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set


Step 1


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.

Step 3

Top Supports

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

Step 4

Step 5

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!


mamma_joy (not verified)

Thu, 02/03/2011 - 20:21

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!

Bonnie from Lo… (not verified)

Fri, 02/04/2011 - 04:59

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!

Lori (not verified)

Fri, 02/04/2011 - 06:32

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!

Lynn in Canada (not verified)

Fri, 02/04/2011 - 07:28

So so perfectly vintage! Love it and the colour choice. This is such a great piece, thanks Ana!

Robin (not verified)

Fri, 02/04/2011 - 13:10

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.)

Theresa (not verified)

Fri, 02/04/2011 - 13:24

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.

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