Introduction: Child's Adjustable-height Cello Stool Using an IKEA Frosta Stool

Picture of Child's Adjustable-height Cello Stool Using an IKEA Frosta Stool

Concept:

  • Turn an adult IKEA stool into a 12-15" adjustable-height child's cello/music stool
  • The end result is extremely stable and comfortable for the child
  • Add a handle to the bottom for easy carrying

Overview:

  • You're going to drill a series of holes along each leg, then cut the legs in half and bolt back together through the holes
  • Use scrap wood to build a simple drilling guide so that each leg ends up being identical
  • Total cost approximately $30 (including stool)
  • Total time approximately one hour

Alternative:

  • Given that the stool only costs $20, you could also just buy a few of them and saw off the legs at different heights. But that wouldn't be as fun or functional.

Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials

Supplies needed:

  • 1x Ikea Frosta stool
  • 8x 1/4" x 2.25" or 2.5" bolts (shorter is better, but not a big deal)
  • 8x 1/4" wingnuts
  • 16x 1/4" washers
  • 1x handle (door pull type)
  • Scrap wood to build a drill guide (8-12"-ish square of plywood, two wood blocks as thick or slightly thicker than the legs, two more small boards)
  • Nails or screws to build the drill guide

Tools needed:

  • Mitre saw
  • Drill press (highly preferred) or hand drill with vertical drilling guide
  • 1/4" wood drill bit
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pencil
  • Ruler / L square
  • Clamps
  • Hammer
  • Sandpaper (for leveling the feet as required)

Step 2: Mark Up the Legs for Drilling and Cutting

Picture of Mark Up the Legs for Drilling and Cutting
  1. Line up the legs so that they are even across the feet (top of the legs curving up)
  2. Number the top and bottom of each leg so that they can stay matched up after cutting
  3. Draw two lines across all four legs:
    1. One at 1.5" from the bottom
    2. One at 7.5"
  4. On leg #1 add a third line at 2.5" from the bottom
  5. Turn leg #1 onto its side (either side) and add a fourth line at 7"

Step 3: Build a Drilling Guide for Consistent Hole Spacing

Picture of Build a Drilling Guide for Consistent Hole Spacing
  • Place leg #1 on the scrap of plywood
  • Screw down a piece of scrap wood on either side of the leg so that it now sits firmly (but not stuck) in a channel
  • Prepare the spanning block: take another scrap piece of wood that can sit perpendicularly across the leg and drill a perfectly straight 1/4" hole 1/2" or less from the block's edge. Put it aside for now
  • Clamp down the drill guide and leg extension so that the drill press is perfectly centered on the 1.5" pencil mark
  • Drill a 1/4" hole centered perfectly on the lower line
  • Without moving the guide, slide the leg up the channel so that the drill is now centered over the 2.5" pencil mark
  • Drop a 1/4" bolt through the spanning block and into the first hole you just cut
  • Screw the spanning block firmly onto the guide blocks
  • You now have a consistent 1" spacer for all future holes

Step 4: Drill the Holes

Picture of Drill the Holes
  • Make sure the spacing bolt is firmly in the first hole you drilled
  • Drill the second hole, which should now be exactly 1" from the first
  • Slide the leg up and drop the spacing bolt into the second hole
  • Repeat until you have five evenly-spaced holes
  • Move the leg up to the 7.5" line and drill an additional five evenly-spaced holes
  • Repeat for all four legs
  • You should now have drilled a total of 40 holes, 10 on each legs in two sets of five

Notes:

  • It is extremely difficult to do this with a hand drill (built the first stool using a hand drill - it was messy and difficult but did get it to work)
  • Note in the photo that the holes aren't perfectly aligned - there was a bit of play on the guide block that I fixed mid-process by really screwing it down. Note that the pieces still fit together, but it's a tighter fit

Step 5: Cut the Legs

Picture of Cut the Legs
  • Set mitre saw to 45 degrees
  • Line up leg #1 with the blade sitting at the 7" line on the side of the leg
  • Make sure the angled cut starts on the outside of the leg at the pencil mark and angles towards the foot so that the inside of the leg ends up longer than the outside
  • Clamp down the leg
  • Clamp a scrap block of wood firmly against the end of the leg
  • Cut all four legs, using the scrap block as a length guide
  • You should now have four identical curved legs and four identical leg extensions

Step 6: Assemble Stool

Picture of Assemble Stool

    Bolt Legs Together:

    • Match up each curved leg with its extension
    • Line them up so that the extension sits inside the curved leg with the long edges of the leg and extension touching, and the holes aligned
    • Insert 1/4" bolts through the top and bottom hole of each leg pair with a washer on either side and secured on the inside with a wingnut
    • You may need a hammer to make the parts fit together

    Assemble the Stool:

    • Use the hex key and supplied hardware to bolt the legs onto the stool
    • Screw the handle onto the bottom of the stool, in between two legs and lined up with the stool's edge

    Adjust the Stool:

    • Sand the bottom of one more legs as needed to make the stool level
    • The stool will sit approx. 12" high when all five holes are aligned
    • Shift the leg extension down and bolt through the top and bottom available holes to adjust in 1" increments up to 15"

    Comments

    rafununu (author)2016-01-19

    This is a very good idea. I think another way of coupling the legs should be chosen, young children can be hurt by screws and nuts. But I keep this clever idea in my mind for a future realease. THX

    YYZstructable (author)rafununu2016-01-19

    Thanks for the note. I've been using this design for almost two years without issue - it's probably important to use round-head bolts on the outside instead of hex. On the inside the bolt ends are protected by the wing nuts. Suppose you could add some kind of end cap but those are pretty far under the seat.

    I don't think it'll be an issue but if you wanted to get shot of the wing nuts, you could use a "Captive Nut" on the leg extensions then the bolt is fully enclosed. Great write up though, not everyone has the same length legs :)

    skepticaljay (author)2016-01-18

    I love it, can't wait to have a kid and do this. thank you.

    DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-01-18

    Great stool design.

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