Introduction: DIY Mag Stool

About: Born in Berlin in 1985, engineer, contrarian, 'The Big Bang Theory' fan, my other blog: - find me on Twitter @pixelgeb and reddit u/Stishio

My wife and I love printed magazines and we have a whole bunch of them at home. When I saw the "Creative Misuse Contest" I thought about a alternative usage of our magazines. A stool was the first thing which came into my mind. Well as usual I was not the first one who had this idea :D This is my version and I want to share it with you.

I hope you like it and will enjoy the instructions. Have fun :)

Step 1: Concept and Cutting All Parts

At first I start by measuring an average magazine to determine the dimensions the base needs to have. I'll use 30cm by 23,5cm. You can adjust the dimension to your needs. The side parts have the same lengths as the top part, because I'll cut the edges in 45 degree angle to join them later on.

I went to my local plywood dealer and ask him to cut the parts directly in the dimensions I need. I simply use my jigsaw to cut trapezial pieces out of the side parts. This will look nicer as a base than just a straight box.

Step 2: Cutting the Notches for the Straps

I need four notches on the front and back to attach the leather strips later. I use my router table with a straight cutting bit to cut an approximately 4cm wide notch on each side. Therefor I mark the start and end point of each notch on the parts and cut them out with the router. The router fence will keep the notch straight and in parallel.

Step 3: Routing the Miters

I use my router table to cut 45 degree miters on the parts. I use 16mm thick plywood and unfortunately my cutting bit is not long enough to cut the whole length. But this won't be a problem. I'll simply cut the remaining edges later.

I use a clamp to hold the side parts together and to cut them at once. This has the advantage, that I have a long edge which slides on the router fence. A short part is difficult to keep aligned.

Step 4: Test Fitting and Glueing Together the Parts

Well all parts are done and I can do a quick assembly. I use masking tape to join the parts together for the glueing process. I apply wood glue with a brush and fixate everything with clamps and some weight for the top part.

Step 5: Adding Some Support to the Legs

The base should support the weight of the magazine and the person sitting on it. Therefore I will add a squared pice of wood to all inner corners. I cut one edge off using my router table and a 45 degree cutting bit. This will make the glueing process easier.

I cut four pieces to the exact length using my chop saw and glue them into the corners. Four clamps will hold them in place until the glue is dry.

Step 6: Routing Notches for Visible Joints

This time I want to try something new. I'll add visible joints to the edges. I use a 6mm straight cutting bit on my router table to cut notches through the edges. I have to move the base in 45 degree angle to the router table. I made a small jig out off a roof batten I had laying around. This jig helps me to keep the base in 45 degree angle. You can cut as many notches as you want.

Step 7: Cutting and Attaching the Joints

The notches are done and need to be filled. Therefore I cut a 3mm thick strip into small pieces. I use two pieces for one notch. You can use a 6mm thick strip as well or a different thickness according to your notch width.

I use wood glue between the pieces and in the notches to keep everything together.

Step 8: Removing the Overhanging Joints and Sanding Everything

When the glue is dry I use a handsaw to cut off the overhanging joints. I finish all surfaces with a grinder.

Step 9: Cutting the Edges

I cut all edges using my router table with 45 degree cutting bit. The inner edges are cut with a small bevel and the outer edges with a wider bevel.

Step 10: Applying a Finish

This step is totally up to you. You can apply any kind of finish to your piece. I decided to use a clear lacquer to protect the surfaces and to highlight the joints. I would advise against using oil, because it could damage the magazines.

Step 11: Preparing the Leather Strips

The base is finished. The last step is to prepare the leather strips. You can use any kind of strip, belt or lashing strap you like. I want strips which look like old leather straps, so I decided to make my own. I bought some meters of a 20mm width and 2mm thick leather strip. I would rather have a wider strip, but I could found one. But this will be just fine.

I cut to parts of 1450mm length. I use a hole punch pliers to cut a slot for the belt pin. I wrap the strip around the buckle and cut two holes through both layers of leather. I bought metal studs to keep the loop together. I punch some holes on the other end of the strips which will hold the pin later on. I keep 20mm distance between each hole.

Step 12: Done

Well that's it. Now I can stack some magazines on each other and stick the leather straps through the holes in the base. I place a small pillow, which my mom made for our daughter, on top of the magazines and strap the belts around everything.

Congratulations, everything is done and you are hopefully a proud owner of a new stool :D

I hope you will enjoy building this. Please let me know your experiences and improvements. Please put photos in the comments. :)

Creative Misuse Contest

Second Prize in the
Creative Misuse Contest