HomeMade Modern DIY $5 Bucket Stool





Introduction: HomeMade Modern DIY $5 Bucket Stool

The $5 bucket stool epitomizes exactly what we are trying to do at HMM. The stool is durable, simple to make and aesthetically pleasing. It looks like something that could retail for $50 but you can make it for $5. What’s great about this project is that there is very little waste. The bucket serves a vessel for mixing the concrete and as the form for the stool. When the stool has cured it can be removed without damaging the bucket. A 48" dowel cut into three 16-inch pieces provides legs without waste.

Step 1: Supplies + Tools

Quikrete 5000 Concrete Mix
Purchase at Home Depot
Quikrete 5000 is my go to concrete mix for all sorts of DIY projects. It’s stronger and cures faster than standard mixes and has a nice grey color. Quikrete 5000 is available at Home Depot. The only thing challenging about working with Quikrete is the moving the 80lb bags it comes in.

1 ¼" Diameter Wooden Dowel 48" long
Purchase at Home Depot
A single 48” dowel is all you need to make three sturdy legs. 1” diameter and 1 ½” diameter dowels would also work just fin. If you have some old tool handles you can try that as well.

5 Gallon Bucket
Purchase at Home Depot
I picked up a bucket in the paint aisle at home depot. Look for a bucket with a smooth bottom.

Copper Pipe Caps and Washers
Purchase at Home Depot
Copper Pipe caps and washers can be used to even out the legs if you don’t get them to set evenly in the concrete. Simply put more washers in the caps that go on the shorter legs. Construction adhesive can be used to keep the pipe caps on the dowels.

Clean Tap Water
Always use clean water for mixing with concrete.

Step 2: Cut the Legs

Cut the 48” dowel into three pieces 16” long each.

Step 3: Put 3 Inches of Concrete Mix in the Bucket

Make sure the bucket is clean and dry before opening up the concrete and scooping 3 inches of concrete mix into the bucket. Add some water and start mixing. Be careful not to over water the concrete or it will be weak and crumble. Thoroughly mix the concrete so that every grain of the mix is wet. The mix should be the consistency of cookie dough.

Step 4: Shake Out the Bubbles

Mixed concrete has air bubbles trapped inside. Shake and tap the bucket to bring the bubbles to the surface.

Step 5: Place the Legs

Once the concrete has settled, place the legs in the bucket. Stick the legs about 1 ½” past the surface of the concrete and let them rest against the sides of the bucket.

Step 6: Wait 20 Hours Then Remove

Bend the sides of the bucket outwards a few times in each direction to loosen the concrete; then pull the stool out by the legs.

Step 7: Sand the Edges

The concrete has not yet fully hardened and is pretty easy to work with. 120 grit sand paper can be used to smooth the edges.

Step 8: Dip Dye the Legs

I dip dyed the legs using white semi-gloss low VOC house paint and a cut-off plastic water bottle.

Step 9: Level Out the Legs With Pipe Caps [Optional]

My stool came out even but if your legs don’t quite line up simply put more washers in the caps that go on the shorter legs. Construction adhesive can be used to keep the pipe caps on the dowels.

Step 10: Done!

Good luck making your own $5 bucket stool, and please email or tweet photos to @benuyeda or ben@homemade-modern.com. For more detailed instructions, dimensioned drawings and different variations of the project, check out our soon-to-be-released book.

4 People Made This Project!


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Still one of my top ten diy projects

Here's mine! I used 1 1/4 oak dowels and 4 legs instead of 3.

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Looks so great! I wanted to make this kind of chair too, but I had second thoughts becouse of the weight of the concrete. If the chair get unbalanced and falls, it will have a big chance of ruining the floor. Yours I think it will be around 8kg / 17.6lbs.

thats a very very good point. Ive got mine in my shop, so its no big deal, but if it got knocked over on my hardwoods or tile, ooooohhhhhh booooy lol

I used this instructable as a inspiration for the construction of the broomstick-concrete stand I made for my dressform. It worked pretty well and looks quite professional now; )


This is my favorite stool. I have looked a lot of DIY stools and this is the one to me is so simple and I can do it without having to be a carpenter.

Love this love this !!!

I made this using black metal pipe and metal endcaps. It came out very good and looks great. I tried to inlay an aluminum sprocket off of a bike, but I guess the concrete got underneath it because it is not visible at all. I don't think sturdiness is an issue; I botched my first attempt and had to bust up the concrete to get the legs out, it was quite difficult.

If you pushed it down hard to the bottom then it is just under the surface a bit, not far at all. Get a dust mask and a power sander and sand the top of the stool till you hit it.
There is no way to mix concrete in a bucket and then shove something down far enough for it to be seen, at least not much of it, sometimes you get lucky though. You just can't push a thin layer of sand out from under something that it flat.

Of course you might hit the rounded corners of the legs first. If that happens you can make another stool but use wire or something to keep the legs from going all the way to the bottom of the bucket(1 inch or so is plenty). That would make sure you don't hit them before your inlay.