D.I.Y. wooden step stool

Errol, Team member
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D.I.Y. wooden step stool

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Project Overview

A step stool can be really handy for those hard-to-reach places around the home. We’ll show you how to make your own stool, that’s easy to move from room to room. Continue to step-by-step instructions
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How to fix a loose screw

If you’ve got a screw that has come loose in wood and it won’t grip, then wrap it in steel wool before you screw it back in. The steel wool will help the screw grip and also fill the extra space in the hole.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Cut the timber
2 Measure and mark the steps
3 Cut the top and lower step
4 Mark the edges on the steps
5 Measure and mark for the handle
6 Measure and mark for the checkouts
7 Jigsaw the corners
8 Cut out checkouts
9 Cut the supports for the step stool
10 Measure and cut the legs
11 Measure and cut the lower step supports
12 Sand the timber
13 Assemble the hinged or folding back leg
14 Measure and mark for the hinges
15 Attach the hinges
16 Glue and nail the small supports
17 Attach the front legs into the lower step
18 Final assembly
19 Putty the step stool
20 Paint the step stool
21 The final step
  • Step 1. Cut the timber

    You can make this project easy and get your local Bunnings to cut the 90mm x 19mm dowel in the following sizes for you:

    • 330mm x 4 (for the legs)
    • 330mm x 2 (for the support legs)
    • 160mm x 2 (lower step supports)
  • Step 2. Measure and mark the steps

    Measure and mark your piece of the 30mm ply for the two steps. We’ve made our top step 360mm x 450mm and the lower step 250mm x 450mm.

  • Step 3. Cut the top and lower step

    Clamp the piece of ply securely to your workbench. Then use the circular saw and straight edge to cut the top and step to size. 

  • Step 4. Mark the edges on the steps

    You can give the step stool a stylish look by rounding the corners on both steps. Mark this out on the step corners by tracing around a cylinder shape, such as an aerosol can or a coffee mug.

  • Step 5. Measure and mark for the handle

    To make the handle, measure and mark a rectangular-shaped cut on the top of the step stool. We centred our handle 20mm from the edge, and made it 30mm wide and 120mm long. To match our steps, we want rounded ends, so we used a cylinder to mark this shape.

  • Step 6. Measure and mark for the checkouts

    On the smaller bottom step, use the set square to measure and mark the checkouts for the legs to slide in. We placed ours 40mm in from either end. Each checkout measured 20mm x 150mm deep to accommodate the thickness of the leg timber. 

  • Step 7. Jigsaw the corners

    Now clamp the ply to your workbench. Use the jigsaw to cut the rounded corners on the top and lower step.

  • Step 8. Cut out checkouts

    Now clamp the timber to your workbench and use the jigsaw to cut the checkouts. For any areas that are difficult to cut with the jigsaw, use the 10mm bit to drill holes to accommodate the jigsaw and continue cutting. You can also use the jigsaw to cut out the handle. Pre-drill holes to make cutting the handle out easier.

  • Step 9. Cut the supports for the step stool

    We used Tasmanian oak hardwood for our supports. Measure and mark for two of them at 330mm. Use the drop saw to make the cuts straight. 

  • Step 10. Measure and cut the legs

    Our four legs are made from Tasmanian oak hardwood. Cut the four legs on an angle so that when the stool is open it sits flat on the floor. Dock the end of your timber, then measure and mark for the 330mm length. Set the mitre or drop saw to 22 degrees to make the angled cuts, making sure both ends are parallel. Repeat for the three other legs.

  • Step 11. Measure and cut the lower step supports

    Measure and mark for the two lower step supports. Ours were 160mm from the longest angle to the shortest angle. Set the mitre or drop saw to 22 degrees and cut both edges to have parallel angles.

  • Step 12. Sand the timber

    Now that all of the timber is cut to size, give it a sand to make it smooth. Use the orbital sander with a 120 grit pad and hand sand any hard-to-reach areas such as the handles. Then graduate to 240 grit sandpaper.

  • Step 13. Assemble the hinged or folding back leg

    Take the 330mm straight cut support and attach a leg piece, with the parallel angle cut, to both sides. This makes the hinged or folding back legs of the stool. Clamp the timber into place and glue the 90mm side edges. Make sure they are flush to both sides, before fixing into place with the 30mm brads. Repeat the process for the second straight-cut support. Attach it to the longest point of the 330mm on the opposite end. The 90mm piece of timber should be attached horizontally to the sides.

  • Step 14. Measure and mark for the hinges

    The two hinges are attached to the underside of the stool top. On the underside of the top, measure and mark a centre line and 70mm from each edge for the hinges. Their location is important – it needs to match the cut outs on the lower step. Be sure the hinge itself faces back toward the handle.

  • Step 15. Attach the hinges

    Once you are satisfied the hinges are in the right location, mark them. Pre-drill with the 2mm bit and then screw them in. The hinges will be concealed when the stool is complete.

  • Step 16. Glue and nail the small supports

    Lay the piece of 160mm timber on top of the 330mm piece. Make sure the angled edges are flush. Then glue and secure them using the fixing gun and 25mm brads. These supports reinforce the lower step.

  • Step 17. Attach the front legs into the lower step

    Place the small step onto the workbench with the underside facing up. Slot the legs into the checkouts. Remember the reinforced part of the leg will ultimately be facing towards the ground. The un-reinforced part of the leg will be closest to the top of the stool. Glue and nail the front legs into the lower step.  

  • Step 18. Final assembly

    Once the components are complete, attach the front legs and step to the top of the stool. Slide the hinge leg into the checkouts and flip it over for final assembly. Apply glue to the top edge of the leg. Secure using the nail gun and 30mm brads through the top of the stool.

  • Step 19. Putty the step stool

    Fill any holes with putty and wait for it to dry. Sand the rough edges and wipe away any dust before painting.

  • Step 20. Paint the step stool

    You can leave the stool raw or paint your stool to match your décor. Use masking tape to cover any areas you don’t want painted. Apply as many coats as needed for good coverage and leave to dry between coats.

  • Step 21. The final step

    Now your step stool is complete and it looks great. Great for any room in the house, you can use the handy hole in the top step to move it from room to room.

Tools and Materials

Tools

  • Circular saw
  • Chisel
  • Compound mitre saw
  • Drop sheet
  • Earmuffs
  • Fixing gun with 50mm and 25mm brads
  • Hammer
  • Nail punch
  • Orbital sander with 240 and 120 grit pads
  • Paint brush
  • Quick clamps
  • Safety glasses
  • Screwdriver
  • Stirrer
  • Straight-edge clamp
  • Tin opener
  • Utility knife
  • Work gloves

Materials

  • 2250mm x 600mm x 30mm plywood
  • 90mm x 19mm x 2.4m Tasmanian oak dowel
  • 60–70mm stainless steel hinges x 2
  • 10mm screws for the hinges
  • Clear polyurethane
  • Disposable gloves
  • Masking tape
  • Paint
  • PVA or wood glue
  • 240 grit sandpaper
  • Setting filler
  • Wood filler
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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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