Introduction: HomeMade Modern DIY $5 Bucket Stool

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of Cut the Legs

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

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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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]

Picture of 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!

Picture of Done!

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


gthomas18 (author)2015-05-26

Still one of my top ten diy projects

asergeeva made it! (author)2015-02-25

I made one to be a stand for my projector! Awesome weekend project & thanks for the 'ible :)

lakesidegoose (author)2014-12-31

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

mizantropic (author)2014-06-22

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

Audio Solutions made it! (author)2014-11-28

not too shabby : )

keineAhnung made it! (author)2014-06-20

Im a little bit proud of myself :)

But next time the sitting area needs to be some cm smaller. Its 9cm high right now and weights ~8-9kg

spunk (author)2014-06-03

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; )

Eye Poker made it! (author)2014-05-09

I highly recommend putting in a steel mesh in the middle of your pour or in 6 months you'll end up with this:

PurplestarJoseph (author)2014-03-27

Absolutely in love with this

gthomas18 (author)2014-01-07

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.

gthomas18 (author)2014-01-01

Love this love this !!!

HighlyUnstable (author)2013-06-25

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.

Eye Poker (author)2013-07-21

Mine worked out well, but if I did it again I would go with 4 instead of 3 legs.

chipper35 (author)2013-06-24

Extremely nice!!

imajem (author)2013-06-19

I can't believe anybody would open a bag of concrete like this!!! Need I say more??

jlms (author)2013-06-16

How much does it weight?

naim (author)jlms2013-06-16

my first thought. For reference, concrete density is 2400 to 2300 kg/m3

I wonder if there's a lighter material that can be used similarly.

Awesome 'ible, thanks

AJMansfield (author)naim2013-06-18

Lighter weight concrete is usually more expensive, though.

meritsetgo (author)2013-06-17

neat but three legs leaves too much risk of tipping over and cracking a foot and dowels would most likely crack if someone sat too quickly on it, that puts tremendous force in the order of tons of pounds that will surely splinter most dowels since they are made of pine and softwoods.

steel pipe embeded with a flat flange would make more sense. i would do round concrete feet at the botton of the pipe capped with yet another flange for the concrete to grab.

concrete is very durable but wood dowels, specially if they splint as you sit down can easily impale a leg as the stool falls in the direction of the break.

erring in the side of abundant caution. steel and concrete works best for a reason....

AJMansfield (author)meritsetgo2013-06-18

You could do the exact same thing, just use some short pieces of rebar for the legs instead.

Honeylam (author)2013-06-17

Good idea!

rskye (author)2013-06-17

Def going to try this idea, but as a pre caution! Always wear a mask and googles, cement particles can cause serious Lung problems, better to be safe than sorry! Building this today!

steampsycho (author)2013-06-17

I had this precise idea a while ago with the exception of using upcycled PVC pipe in place of the wooden dowels.

wdsims63 (author)2013-06-17

This is a really neat idea, but I have to wonder about the longevity of this project. First, while concrete is very strong stuff, it is only strong in compression, not tension. So, as you sit on it, you put a lot of tension on the middle of the seat at the top, and since there is less concrete where the legs are inserted, it will be prone to failure at that point.
Engineers use steel reinforcement inside the concrete to strengthen it so that it doesn't break. A small piece of wire mesh (e.g. mesh fence material) would be sufficient for most people who would use this stool. It would need to be placed about a 1/2" - 3/4" from the bottom of the bucket (i.e. the top of the stool), before you insert the legs.

Second, when you put wood and concrete together, there is a chance of mineralization of the wood. However, this is only a problem is humid environments over a fairly long time span (years). Just note that the concrete and the wood are prone to absorb moisture and that this moisture could cause problems later on.

All that being said, you only spent $5 (or $20 ;) on it so maybe it isn't a big deal if it falls apart in a year or two. :)

grapenut (author)2013-06-16

loved it; awsome ible!

Ssmo72 (author)2013-06-16

I just made a pair of these this weekend, totally simple project. The stools came out as advertised! Although the second one wasn't as glossy looking as I didn't clean the bucket as thoroughly as I should have. Still functional though!

danzo321 (author)2013-06-16

Or, cut the dowels at about a 10º angle before setting, Or, use a good rasp to level/flatten the dowel bottoms. If using caps.. Plastic caps would slide best; rubber caps would grip best.

danzo321 (author)2013-06-16

Mixing in the bucket scours the plastic's surface so if you want the glossiest possible concrete, mix it in some crummy bucket, and wax the good bucket..

danzo321 (author)2013-06-16

I love this! But be sure your bucket has a rounded inner corner, most don't.

temper (author)2013-06-12

That's an ingenious design - well done - but $5? I don't think so - the copper caps alone would cost that.

maka (author)temper2013-06-16

Yeah, I'm not sure which Home Depot Mr. HomeMade Modern went to, because when I searched Home Depot:

Bag of Quickcrete 5000: $4.98
I didn't find a 48" dowel in 1.25" (only a 36") so I priced the 1": $3.96
5-gallon bucket: $3.98
Copper pipe caps (I priced 1" since that's the size dowel I found): $2.62 each x3 = $7.86
(I didn't price washers because I have about a million of those and besides I couldn't seem to find them online except in packages of 100...)


The good news is, the second, third, fourth, etc. stool would be cheaper since you'd already have plenty of concrete and the bucket. Perhaps if you bought all these supplies in bulk and were making projects all day every day you'd be looking at a $5 investment in the stool? Otherwise, I think the title is just misleading to get people to come check out the 'ible.

cdltpx (author)2013-06-14

You could build a bar stool base and stick this in there? You could also line the bottom of the bucket with tile with designs and have custom bar stools for very little money with an incredible look? Tile can be had all sorts of places and the beauty of it all is you can have custom furniture for nearly free. Imagine a fleur de lis set of outdoor patio stools. Number your stools you could put a name in tile on the stool for each student in an arts and crafts project.

tlema21 (author)2013-06-12

It looks awesome! looks very like a scandinavian design stool!

3366carlos (author)2013-06-12

very nice. how about using galvanized pipes instead? will last forever and can leave outside. hmmm, maybe i should trade mark that idea.

knife141 (author)2013-06-12

Very nice job!

Patrik (author)2013-06-12

Looks great! I would be tempted to put a few screws in the end of the legs embedded in the concrete, so they won't just come loose and pull out over time.

How much abuse have your stools stood up to by now?

Kiteman (author)2013-06-12

Dang, I saw this ages ago on Notcot, never quite got round to recreating it.

Serves me right for having such a long to do list, I guess.

About This Instructable




Bio: HomeMade Modern is an online design source that publishes easy-to-follow, DIY recipes for creating modern home furnishings. We provide creative ideas for making affordable alternatives ... More »
More by homemademodern:HomeMade Modern DIY Outdoor SofaHomeMade Modern DIY Conference TableHomeMade Modern DIY Copper Tiki Torches
Add instructable to: