Introduction: Folding Stool

Hey there! Looking for a simple, cheap way to build a stool that will stay out of the way? Then this instructable is for you. My Folding Stool folds up against the wall and can be folded back down when needed. It takes up almost no space and looks great. And guess what, it's made from trash! No worries, it is completely safe and looks new. So lets get started.

Step 1: Gather Materials

  • Metal Rung from old filing drawer (or from somewhere else as long as it is not flimsy)
  • Long Wooden Piece (1” by 1” by however long you desire the seat width to be)
  • 30 small screws that are shorter than the thickness of the wooden pallet
  • Portable Circular Saw (or Table Saw or Hand Saw)
  • Masonite or other thin, firm board
  • Old, unneeded wooden pallet
  • Metal Filer (from pocket knife)
  • 4 door hinges (old or new)
  • 9 long screws about 2.5”
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Measuring tape
  • Hook and Eye
  • Plywood
  • Wood glue
  • Screwdriver
  • Square tool
  • Level tool
  • Pencil
  • Marker
  • Foam Brushes
  • Wire Cutter
  • Pliers
  • Wood Varnish
  • Wood Stain

Step 2: Make the Seat

  1. Find used wood, such as the pallet in the picture
  2. Cut out six pieces 17 inches or longer using a portable circular saw
  3. Take three of them and cut them all 15 inches long for the stool seat
  4. Lay them next to each other to see if they are the same size and evenly align
  5. Find a thin piece of plywood about a quarter inch thick and cut it to be as wide as your seat and 75% of the length
  6. Flip your boards from step 4 and use wood glue to attach the plywood from step 5 to the boards, all the while keeping the boards evenly aligned
  7. Find 6 screws that are a little shorter than the thickness of the boards and plywood together
  8. In order to secure the plywood to the boards, drill 6 holes (3 on each side, equaling two screws per board, one on each end of the board). Drill to the depth of the screws into the plywood and boards. Those holes go into each end of the board (just make sure to not drill next to a crack)
  9. Using a screwdriver, screw 6 screws into those holes
  10. Congratulations! This final step for Step 2 is a celebration. Get a drink of water for a job well done

Step 3: Add the Leg

  1. Take the remaining three boards from Step 2
  2. Use a square tool (shown in one of the images above) and set the edge of the square tool flush to the length of the board (as shown in the image)
  3. Trace a straight line perpendicular to the flush end of the square tool using the perpendicular edge as pictured above and do this to both ends of the board (this makes the leg boards flat so that they will rest evenly on the ground)
  4. Measure the distance between the lines you drew to make sure the distance between them equals 17" (if you decide to make the seat higher, keep in mind that you want the legs to be longer than the seat made in Step 2, and 17” is the normal seat height)
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 on the other two boards
  6. Use a table saw (or portable circular saw) to cut along the lines made using the square tool
  7. Find another thin board similar to Masonite that is thinner than a quarter inch (I used an old bottom of a drawer, so any material would do as long as it is thin and not flimsy)
  8. Cut the Masonite to fit under the boards to hold them together (so 15" by 14", or 15" by however wide your seat is)
  9. Flip the boards over and keep the edges aligned
  10. Use wood glue to attach the Masonite to the leg boards (this is exactly what you did in Step 2 with the seat)
  11. Again find 6 screws that are shorter than the width of the combined boards and Masonite
  12. In order to secure the Masonite to the boards, drill 6 holes (3 on each side, equaling two screws per board, one on each end of the board). Drill to the depth of the screws into the Masonite and boards. Those holes go into each end of the board (just make sure to not drill next to a crack)
  13. Using a screwdriver, screw the 6 screws into the holes
  14. Place the seat from Step 2 flush against the leg piece you just completed (both of them upside down with the plywood and Masonite facing up), width sides together
  15. Find two old door hinges and place the hinge plates down (one side of the hinge plate on the Masonite, the other on the boards next to the plywood on the seat side), with the knuckles and pin facing up and resting on the edge of the leg side (reference the image above)
  16. Using a marker, mark the center of the holes in the hinge plates on the wood underneath and then move the hinges out of the way
  17. Once again, find 6 screws (not hinge screws because they are too long) that are shorter than the width of the boards and that fit into the hinge holes
  18. On the leg side, drill 6 holes to the depth of the screws in the marked areas
  19. Make sure the hinge plates lay flat on the leg board and then drill in the 6 screws
  20. On the seat side, if your hinge plate doesn't lay flat and a gap appears between the hinge plate and the seat, then you need to even them out by eliminating the gap by placing a thin piece of wood under the hinge plate. Find a small piece of wood such as the stir stick shown in the image above
  21. Cut the stir stick or another thin piece of wood into two small pieces that will fit snugly beneath the hinge plates on the seat side
  22. Use wood glue to attach the wooden pieces (in my case, the stir stick) to the seat
  23. Let the glue dry
  24. Using a marker, mark the center of the holes in the hinge plates on the wood underneath and then move the hinges out of the way
  25. Again find 6 short screws that are shorter than the width of the boards and that fit into the hinge holes snugly
  26. Drill 6 holes on the seat side in the marked areas to the depth of the screws
  27. Make sure the hinge plates are flat against the seat board and then screw in the screws using a screwdriver
  28. Now you are done with Step 3. Go get a snack and marvel at how the seat and leg swing back and forth

Step 4: Add Finishing Touches

  1. Using an electronic sander, sand down the edges where the seat and leg meet to create a gentle turn from seat to leg. There will be a large gap between the seat and the leg, as shown in the image above, but as long as the edges aren’t sharp, you will prevent slivers stabbing your guests
  2. Sand down the seat and leg surfaces until their true wooden identity emerges
  3. Find an old filing drawer that has a metal rung like the one pictured above
  4. For safety’s sake, you will be using the metal rung as a stabilizer that will either hold the seat in the sitting position or in the closed position so that the seat doesn’t suddenly collapse under your guest’s weight as they sit on the chair. Detach one of the metal rungs from the filing cabinet, and cut it to a shorter size using wire cutters (read ahead to see how the metal will be used before actually cutting it so that you can cut it accurately for your own purposes)
  5. Hold the metal in your hand and take a pair of pliers to bend both sides to make them look like this: [ (this metal will be the latch that keeps the legs from sliding in and causing the seat to collapse and should be short on both ends and straight and longer in the middle)
  6. One of the hooked ends of your metal will go into a hole in your seat and swing out from there to go into one of two holes in the leg side. Drill the hole into the side of the seat about 2 inches from the edge where the seat meets the leg. Drill into the side of the seat in order to create a hole for the hook to be inserted and held securely
  7. Insert one end of the metal into the hole so that the metal is anchored in the seat and freely swings
  8. Now set the seat in the upright position (meaning, how you would naturally sit on a chair) and swing the metal rod to see where it meets the leg’s edge when the leg is extended out as far as it goes (this will be the open position)
  9. Drill a hole in the side of the leg where the metal hits in the open position and check to make sure the metal hook on both ends can be pushed into their drilled holes, thus securing the seat in the open position
  10. Take out that end of the rod in the seat and slide the seat and leg together so that they are flat
  11. Measure where the rod now touches the leg and drill another hole (this will be the closed position)
  12. Find a metal filer (pocket knives tend to have them) and file the edge of the metal that goes into the two holes on the leg (this will allow it to more easily slip into the holes and in turn be pulled out)
  13. Now it is time for staining!
  14. Find a stain color that you like and stir it with a disposable wooden dowel or anything else you don't mind getting stained
  15. Find a foam brush
  16. Dip the edge of the foam brush into the stain and then stain all sides of the seat, including the bottom parts where the hinges attach (reference image above)
  17. Time to wait for the stain to dry…
  18. OK. Now find protective varnish and stir it with another wooden dowel or anything else you don't mind getting stained
  19. Find another foam brush
  20. Dip the foam brush in the varnish and coat the leg and seat with at least 5 layers of varnish (note: you have to wait for the first layer to dry before starting the next)
  21. Yay! You have just finished the longest and hardest stage of all. Give yourself a pat on the back!

Step 5: Make Support

  1. Find a piece of wood that is thin and long. I used a very long board, about 1” deep and 1” wide
  2. Using a saw, cut off a section that is as wide as the seat (14" or however wide your seat is)
  3. Take that piece and sand the sides (WARNING: don’t sand the edges/corners)
  4. Stain that piece the same color as the seat using a foam brush
  5. Put one layer of varnish on it for protection using a foam brush
  6. Now take a break and find the place where you intend to put this seat. Make sure the wall can be drilled into with a long screw in order to secure the seat to the wall
  7. Rest the seat up against the wall where it will be located so that the legs face you and the back of the seat rests against the wall (this is how it will be in the end, so make sure you like what it looks like at the chosen spot)
  8. Draw a line on the wall right under the seat parallel to it, marking where the board you just cut will be placed (it is the supporting board, so the seat is supposed to rest on it since there are no legs on that side, just a wall)
  9. Find three long screws (about 2.5” long) that will go deep enough into the wall so that the screws are secure and stable
  10. Now move the seat to the side and take the supporting board
  11. Line it up with the line on the wall so that the line is hardly visible above the board
  12. Make sure you have it level by asking someone else to place a level tool on it
  13. Once you have it in the desired position, drill three holes into the supporting board and through the wall (as deep as the length of your screws), one in the center of the board and the other two at the edges
  14. Screw the three long screws into the holes in order to secure the board to the wall
  15. Tada! You now have a silly piece of wood all alone on the wall, hooray!

Step 6: Put Everything Together

  1. Find two more old door hinges
  2. Set the seat up against the wall with the edge of the seat resting on the supporting board (the legs should be facing you, parallel to the wall)
  3. Make sure the seat is stable by securing the metal fastener into the open position from Step 4
  4. Place the two door hinges on top of the seat with one hinge plate against the wall and the other against the seat with the pin and knuckles facing up and flush against the wall (not on the seat, since the hinge plates need to be flat on the boards) (NOTE: the seat will not be flush against the wall; there will be a small gap where the hinge knuckles will rest) (reference image above)
  5. Mark where the holes are, and then remove the hinges
  6. Drill the holes on the seat first
  7. Lay each hinge plate in an open position on the seat and position them so they match the holes with the hinge knuckles and pin facing up
  8. Screw in the short screws, securing the hinge to the seat
  9. Measure where the holes are located against the wall
  10. Drill where marked
  11. Screw in six 2.5” long screws, securing the seat to the wall
  12. In order to hold the seat to the wall in the closed position, find a hook (with threads on the end) and eye pin or anything else in your toolshed that would work the same way
  13. Put the seat up against the wall in the closed position to visualize where to put the hook (a bit to the side of the seat, just enough so the hook can reach the side of the leg. Do this on the opposite side of the metal fastener)
  14. Mark the spot and drill a hole into the wall
  15. By hand, screw in the hook
  16. Again put up the seat and see where the hook reaches to know where to put the eye
  17. Once again mark that spot
  18. Drill another hole, this time into the side of the leg (reference picture above)
  19. Screw in the eye
  20. Just like that, the seat is complete! Now admire how the hook and eye hold it up flat against the wall and how you can then unhook it and fold it down into a stool, with the metal fastener to keep it in position

Yippy!!! You now have a stool that you can fold up and out of the way, and the materials were all found around your home!

Step 7: Admire

Trash to Treasure

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Trash to Treasure