In this build, I'll show you how to make a kid's step stool was a bit of a customized twist! I made this step stool for my niece and added some of her artwork to the top step using epoxy resin. Enjoy!
Also, don't miss the build video above for more details!
Step 1: Gather Materials & Tools
I used the tools I had at my disposal, but you could build this whole project with a jigsaw and a drill.
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Materials Used On Kid's Step Stool Project:
- 2 ' x 4' sheet of ¾" Maple plywood
- 1 ¼" pocket hole screws
- ⅜" dowel
- ArtResin epoxy
- Finish of your choice (I used Waterlox)
- Rubber feet
Tools Used On Kid's Step Stool Project:
Step 2: Break Down Materials
The first step, as with any other project, is to break down your pieces. I built this project from scrap ¾" Maple plywood, but all of the pieces can be cut from a 2' x 4' piece of plywood from your local home center. The project consists of 8 pieces, all made of ¾" plywood:
- 2 side panels, 15" x 12"
- Bottom step, 13 ¼" x 7 ¾"
- Top step. 13 ¼" x 8 ½"
- 4 cross support pieces, 10 ¼" x 2"
Step 3: Cut Recess for Step, Leg Cutouts, and Tapers
For exact measurement of the cutouts, I have those dimensions listed in the build article on my website. Before making the cuts on the side panels, I taped them together using double sided tape so they would match after I was done.
You need to make four cuts on the side panels:
- Cutout for bottom step
- Taper on back of the sides
- Taper on front of the sides
- Cutout for the legs
For the legs, I used a 2" Forstner bit for the corners and then connected the holes using a bandsaw. If you don't have a bandsaw, these cuts could all be made with a jigsaw.
Step 4: Round Corners & Edges of Step Stool
Next, I rounded over all of the edges of the stool using a sander and sanded the inside of the curves using a dowel wrapped in sandpaper. Since this is for kids, I wanted to remove all sharp corners.
Step 5: Drill Pocket Holes & Assemble Step Stool
The side panels are attached to the steps using pocket screws, and the support pieces are attached to the bottom of the steps using pocket screws as well. I drilled the holes using a pocket hole jig then assembled the stool.
Step 6: Drill Dowel Holes & Added Dowels
To attach the support pieces to the sides, I used dowels. Dowel joinery is extremely strong, and these dowels added an incredible amount of strength to the step stool. I am a 190lb adult and can easily stand on the stool.
To add the dowels, you need to drill a hole that matches the size of your dowel. I used ⅜" dowels, so I drilled ⅜" holes. Make sure to keep your holes perpendicular, otherwise you can drill through the sides of the pieces.
Once the holes are drilled, add some wood glue to the holes and to the dowel and pound them in with a mallet. Trim the dowels flush with a flush cut saw.
Step 7: Add Artwork to Top Step
For a special touch, I decided to add a few of my niece's drawings to the top step of the stool. First, I attached the art using spray adhesive. Make sure to use plenty so the drawings don't float up in the epoxy (don't ask me how I know this :) ).
Once the drawings are attached, pour a layer of epoxy over the entire top step. I used ArtResin epoxy, which is designed for this kind of thing. It's self leveling, super clear, and easy to work with.
Use a propane torch to pop the bubbles in the epoxy once you pour it, then allow the epoxy to cure.
Step 8: Sand & Apply Finish
I sanded all of the surfaces of the stool up to 220 grit, since the last thing I want is my niece getting splinters from this project. I wiped down the surfaces with mineral spirits to remove any dust, and then applied my finish, Waterlox. I really like the amber color that the Waterlox brought out in the plywood, and it matches the top step nicely.
Step 9: Add Rubber Feet & Sign Your Work
The last step was to add a few rubber feet to keep the step stool from slipping around. Finally, I signed the piece and added my maker's stamp.