This post shares how I made a DIY step stool for toddlers. I based my design off of the popular Crate and Barrel kids Gage Grey and White Step Stool. But I spent a lot less!c
DIY Step Stool for Toddlers
Hello hello, I’m excited to share today’s cute little project with you guys. Especially because it’s part of a bigger 2×4 challenge we’re doing in a DIY & woodworking group I help moderate!
The group is a Facebook group called DIY & Woodworking Community: Women Inspiring Women, and it’s a group for women to share ideas or seek advice about DIY and woodworking projects. It’s a positive, judgment-free zone, and we’d love to have you join! It’s a group for everyone, not just bloggers. Though some really awesome bloggers do serve as admins and moderators.
2×4 Project Challenge Details
The admins and moderators of the group put on a 2×4 building challenge where you can build any project, big or small. A 2×4 Challenge is when you build something using only construction lumber such as 2×2, 2×4, 2×6, etc etc. It’s a great way for beginners to start building, and it’s very budget friendly, too.
By Brittany Goldwyn | DIY Step Stool for Toddlers
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I’ve wanted to build Ramona a little bathroom sink step stool for a while, and this was the perfect project for the challenge!
Crate and Barrel Gage Step Stool Knock Off
I’m doing my first Crate and Barrel knock-off project, too. I’m knocking off the Crate and Kids Gage Grey and White Step Stool, which retails for $45. It’s the cutest little step stool ever. Mine is a bit chunkier than the Crate and Barrel stool because I used 2×2 lumber for the base. However, I think it turned out great!
This project is also part of a blog hop with the other admins and moderators of the group, so make sure to check out all of their projects as well. They are linked at the end of this post! Alright, so let’s talk about the step stool build.
- Download the build plan for the whole cut list using the signup form above!
- 2×2 lumber and poplar or any similar wood cut to size for the top
- 2 ½ inch pocket hole screws
- Wood glue
- Wood filler
- Bar clamps
- Fine-grit sandpaper
- Measuring tape
- Primer, paint, and finish
- Safety equipment
And here’s how I made my DIY step stool for toddlers!
Step 1: Measure and cut pieces, drill pocket holes
So at first my plan was to do two storage levels: one for a little containers that we’re beginning to collect stickers in, and one for a fabric storage cube to match the desk. Once I got this together with clamps to eyeball it, I decided to run with it. So I drilled pocket holes (placement in a bit) and assembled everything.
However, once I got it assembled and brought it upstairs, I realized that it would be too high for Ramona’s current height. I measured, but I kind of suck at visualizing things and understanding how everything is going to go together. Alas, I wasn’t about to lose this project, so I decided to run with just one storage spot. Let’s pick up there.
Step 1: Grab plans and prep pieces
First download the printable plans, which include a detailed cut list and instructions for pocket hole placement. Then cut everything to size, drill pocket holes, and sand pieces for an ultra-smooth finish.
If your lumber is very rough, use a medium-grit sandpaper with your orbital sander first. Then switch to a fine-grit sandpaper. If your lumber is in pretty good shape, you can skip the medium-grit sandpaper step.
Step 2: Build the step stool sides
There are two sides. Each side consists of two vertical legs and two horizontal pieces to form a trapezoid. Am I taking you back to high school math yet? Man, I haven’t said that word in a while! Thank God for my daughter’s TV shows to teach me basic math concepts again…
(Reminder: a trapezoid is a four-sided figure with only one set of parallel sides.)
I used 2 ½ inch pocket hole screws to connect the four pieces to build each side. Normally I would use two pocket holes on the ends of each piece, but I did only one for these due to the angles. Clamps or an extra set of hands are helpful for this step.
Step 3: Finish the step stool base
Step 4: Round the corners
I rounded the corners on the outside of each of the four legs and also rounded all four corners on the top. I simply used my orbital sander and a little elbow grease to do this. Then I polished the spots by hand with fine-grit sandpaper afterward.
Step 5: Attach the top of the step stool to the base
To attach the top, I ran a line of wood glue all the way around the top of the base. Then I pressed the top down onto the base and used a nail gun to secure it in place. I ran three nails down through the middle because I didn’t want to have a ton of holes to patch.
Step 6: Finish the piece as desired
I actually started patching pocket holes and painting some of the pieces before I attached the top to the base. However, I’m including all of the finishing details here in step 5 for simplicity’s sake.
I used wood filler to patch all pocket and nail holes. I did two rounds of wood filler for the pocket holes, sanding in between. Usually I wouldn’t do this, but I wanted a super-smooth look. Sometimes an extra step pays!
I primed the entire piece using Zinsser primer and then painted the step stool to match the Create and Barrel inspo piece: white on most of the base, deep gray on the top and the bottom support piece.
Since this piece would be highly trafficked by little feet, I also gave the entire stool two coats of my favorite finish—Varathane water-based polyurethane in matte.
And here’s the finished DIY step stool for toddlers, inspired by the Crate and Barrel Gage step stool! What do you think? Ramona loves climbing up and down, up and down on it. 🙂
Note: I also highly recommended adding non-slip strips on the bottom of the stool to keep it in place!
WANT THE FULL DETAILED PLANS?
Share my DIY step stool for toddlers on Pinterest!
- First download the printable plans, which include a detailed cut list and instructions for pocket hole placement. Then cut everything to size, drill pocket holes, and sand pieces for an ultra-smooth finish.
- Use 2 ½ inch pocket hole screws to connect the four pieces to build each side.
- Finish off the base by adding the two support pieces.
- Round the corners on the outside of each of the four legs and also round all four corners on the top using the orbital sander. Then finish with fine-grit sand paper.
- Attach the top by running a line of wood glue all the way around the top of the base. Then press the top down onto the base and use a nail gun to secure it in place.
- Use wood filler to patch all pocket and nail holes. I did two rounds of wood filler for the pocket holes, sanding in between for a super smooth look.
- Prime the entire piece using Zinsser primer. Paint the top and support piece deep gray and the rest of bottom white, if you want it to look like mine. Allow to dry completely.
- Cover with 2 coats of Varathane water-based polyurethane in matte to help with high traffic use and wear and tear on the painted finish.
- That's it!