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Blue wooden step stool in front of bathroom vanity unit.

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.

Steps

1Cut 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)
Various tools and materials needed to build DIY wooden step stool.

2Measure 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.

Person using measuring tape and pencil to mark up piece of ply wood.

3Cut 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. 

Person using circular saw to cut piece of ply wood.

4Mark 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.

Person using pencil to draw an outline around a small tub sitting on piece of ply wood.

5Measure 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.

6Measure 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. 

7Jigsaw the corners

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

Person using jigsaw to cut a curved edge on a rectangular piece of ply wood.

8Cut 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.

Person using jigsaw to cut out small rectangular shape on piece of ply wood.

9Cut 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. 

Person using measuring tape and pencil to mark up piece of ply wood.

10Measure 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.

Person using circular saw to cut piece of ply wood to size.

11Measure 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.

Person using measuring tape and pencil to mark up piece of ply wood.

12Sand 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.

Person using orbital sander on wooden step piece.

13Assemble 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.

Person using nail gun to secure two pieces of timber together to form the folding back leg of DIY wooden step stool.

14Measure 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.

Person using piece of metal and pencil to draw a line through the middle of a wooden step they've made.

15Attach 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.

Person screwing hinge into upside down DIY wooden step stool.

16Glue 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.

Person using nail gun to secure DIY wooden step stool support piece.

17Attach 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.  

Person placing legs for DIY wooden step stool into step.

18Final 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.

Person using nail gain to firmly secure top step of DIY wooden step stool.

19Putty 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.

Person sanding piece of ply wood that has putty on it, that was used to fill some holes.

20Paint 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.

Person using paint brush to paint DIY wooden step stool light blue.

21The 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.
Blue wooden step stool in front of bathroom vanity unit.

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Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. 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.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.