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Build a Step Stool

A tutorial on how to build a small step stool for your bathroom or kitchen.

One thing you will know if you have kids is that they are tiny and cannot reach a lot of things. Sometimes that is a very good thing but when you want them to wash their hands in a sink, not so much. So I decided to build a small step stool for the kids to use in the bathroom and I am sharing the whole process with you.

wooden step stool in a bathroom

Do you want to build one?

This project cost me nothing because I used scrap pieces of wood I had on hand. But that does not mean I cannot show you how to make your own.

SIDE NOTE: I used a scrap 8″ board I had on hand but I wish it was a little bigger (to make it have a larger base making it sturdier), so this tutorial will be using a 10″ board. But you could use an 8″.

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DIY Step Stool



You can print the material list and instructions below.


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Step Stool – FREE Plans

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step 1: Cut the wood

Take the boards and cut them according to the this cut list.

(2) – 1″x10″x10.75″ (SIDES)
(2) – 1″x10″x12″ (BOTTOM & TOP STEPS)
(4) – 1″x2″x9.75″ (STEP TRIM)
(2) – 1″x2″x7.25″ (BOTTOM STEP TRIM)

The plans listed above have diagrams to make things easier when cutting. The image below shows how each board will look after cutting.

diagram of wood pieces for stool

After cutting the boards to length, the side pieces (actual size 9.25″x10.75″) need to but cut into an “L” shape. To do this, mark the side pieces 5.25 inches from the top to bottom and 5.25 inches from one side. Then connect the marks with lines to form a square on one corner. Make these markings for both side pieces.

Then cut out the marked square in each board using a jigsaw.

SIDE NOTE: I did use my miter saw, only cutting to the end of each line. Then turning the board over to cut again. I then broke the rectangle away and sanded down the broken part. If you don’t have a jigsaw.

Next cut the step bottom, this will look like a “T” when finished cutting. Taking the 12″x9.25″ board, mark a rectangle into one corner. The rectangle will be 1.25″x5.25″.

Then mark another rectangle in the corner on the same 12-inch side (1.25″x5.25″). After marking, cut the rectangles using a jigsaw.

SIDE NOTE: I again used the same cutting method to create the side pieces on this bottom step.

Now you need to cut the top step to size. Mark a line 5.75″ into the 9.25″ side. Then cut along that line to make the board 5.75″ instead of 9.25″.

SIDE NOTE: I again used my miter saw but my saw is not long enough to cut straight through, so I just turn the wood around to finish to cut (turned so uncut side will be against the blade).

cutting a piece of wood with a miter saw for stool

At this point, all the wood pieces are cut to the plans.

STEP 2: Add pocket holes to boards

Now, create pocket holes to secure the wood together using the list provided below or the plans.

(2)- on the top of each side piece
(4)- on each of the 9.75″ trim pieces (one on each 2″ side and two for the length)
(2)- on each of the 7.25″ trim pieces (along the length)
Remember the pockets will all be on the inside of the stool frame.

STEP 3: Sand the boards

Next sand all the wood with #220 grit sandpaper. An orbital sander makes this easier.

After wipe all the wood with a cloth to clean the surface. 

STEP 4: Assemble the step stool

Before starting with the assembly of the stool, I want to let you know that there are not very many pictures, sorry! But the plan has diagrams to help.

To start putting the stool together, attach two for the 9.75″ trim pieces to the top side pieces, using the side pockets in the trim pieces (the 2″ side will be facing out). This is the frame for your top step.

TIP: Make sure your pockets on the side board are facing the right way to attach the top step (inward).

I did place these trim pieces 1/4″ inset from the front edge of the side piece.

After attach the top step board to this frame.

To do this, I placed the top step board on a flat surface then placed the frame on top of the board. Then attach the board to the frame with the screws (there will be eight).

Now for the bottom step. Take one of the 9.75″ trim pieces and attached it to the middle of the side pieces (using the side pockets on the trim pieces).

Then the trim piece will be attached flush with the square cut out to make the “L”.

Once these pieces are attached, place the bottom step onto the frame. Making sure the step is flush with the side boards. Then marked where the bottom of the step hit the side board. Do this for both sides.

This line is where you will place the other trim pieces. Removed the step and attached the last 9.75″ trim piece. To attach the pieces, place the trim piece 1/4″ away from the edge of the side board but right along the marked line.

Then attached the 7.25″ trim pieces between the last two trim pieces. To attach them, place them along the marked line but only screwed them into the side board without using a pocket (used two screws per side). The pockets will be used to attach the bottom step so make sure they are facing the right way.

After all the frame pieces are attached, then attach the bottom step using the pockets (there will be eight).

TIP: I placed the one side of the step onto a table to help attach the board.

Now apply a coat of stain to the wood or your favorite finish. I used Provincial by Minwax then once the coat of stain had dried, I applied two coats of polycrylic to protect the wood from getting water damage.

After the finish has dried the stool is complete!

small wooden step stool for bathroom

What do you think? My kids are loving that they can now reach the sink and so do I!

build a step stool