Toddler Kitchen Helper

Introduction: Toddler Kitchen Helper

I built this Toddler Kitchen Helper so my little girl could help us in the kitchen. The design was inspired by designs I found on Etsy. It features an adjustable platform with 3 heights and a final setting where the platform sits level with the bottom step. I didn't know anything about what size wood they used or actual dimensions. The width of the platform and step are based on a step stool. My instructions are lacking pictures because I didn't realize how awesome it would turn out. Bare with me and I'll try to answer questions in the comments (this is my first post so that might be a big commitment).


Purchase List

  • 1 - 1x8x48", pine
  • 1 - 1x10x48", pine
  • 4 - 1x4x48", pine
  • 2 - 1x2x48", pine
  • 1 - 3/4x48" dowel rod, oak
  • 1 1/4" wood screws
  • 2 - #8-32 2 in Flat Phillips head machine screws and nuts
  • Finishing nails
  • Wood glue
  • 60x1/2" felt strip adhesive gray (brand: Magic Sliders)

Tool List

  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Right angle
  • Miter saw or circular saw
  • Drill press (preferred) or drill
  • 3/4" drill bit
  • Pocket screw hole kit (preferred)
  • 36" clamp
  • 2 - 18" clamps
  • Hammer
  • Center punch (preferred for centering set screw hole on dowel rods)

Step 1: The Build, Part 1

  1. Measure your counter height and cut the 1x4 pieces (#4, 5, 9, 10) about 2-4” shorter than measured height. My counter height is 35” and I cut my pieces to 32”
  2. Lay all 4 legs on top of each other and match one end together. Use a clamp or two to hold them in place. Mark this end with a pencil to note as your bottom of the legs.
  3. Mark a centerline down the length of the board. From the bottom of the legs measure and mark a spot for 8 ½”, 11 ½”, and 15 ½”. I recommend drilling a pilot hole with a smaller bit. Either with a drill press or drill use the ¾” drill bit to drill through all 4 legs.
  4. Cut the 2x 1x8 (#11, 15) and 1x10 (#12) pieces to 15”. You can cut the 1x10 ~1/8” shorter ease of moving in and out of the legs. I shortened the 1x10 piece after putting the entire frame together (after step 14).
  5. Cut 4x 1x2 (#1, 3, 6, 8) pieces to 15”. On one end of each piece, create 2 pocket hole screw holes.
  6. Apply wood glue to the end of #1, 3, 6, and 8. Clamp one of those pieces to #15. Screw in pocket hole screws. Repeat this for all for pieces cut in Step 5.
  7. Measure the distance between #1 and 3 on #15. Cut 2x 1x2 (#2 and 7).
  8. On both ends of pieces #2 and #7, create 2 pocket screw holes on each piece.
  9. Apply wood glue to both ends of #2 and #7. Clamp #2 and #7 in between #1/3 and #6/8 respectively. Screw in pocket screws.
  10. For legs #4, 5, 9, and 10, use 2x wood screws to attach to each lateral piece (#1, 3, 6, 8). MAKE SURE THE BOTTOM’S OF THE LEGS ARE ON THE BOTTOM TO ALIGN THE HOLES. I recommend attaching the legs to #1 and #3 first. Then place a level on of #15, 6 and 8 to square the design.
  11. Since your legs will likely not be perfectly straight to due board imperfections, I recommend using clamps on the outside of 4-5 and 9-10 (side view) to push the legs towards each other to square them. Use your uncut dowel rod to fit check the holes along the way to make sure squaring the design doesn’t cause interference.
  12. Once your legs are straight and the dowel rod slides nicely, measure the distance for pieces #16 and 17. Cut 2x 1x2s. Attach #16 and 17 to the legs with wood glue and 2x wood screws for each leg.
  13. Use your clamps as necessary to square the final pieces of the top rail (#13 and 14). If you’re as dedicated as I was to hiding screws, then drill two pocket screw holes on the side of the legs (#4, 5, 9, 10) as shown in the figure below.
  14. (Optional) If you want to fill these top pocket holes, you’ll need a Japanese flat saw to cut the excess flush with the wood.
  15. Measure and cut 2x 1x2 for #13 and 14. Attach #13 and 14 to the legs with pockets screws or wood screws.

Step 2: The Build, Part 2

  1. Place #11 flush with the front edge of #15. Use wood glue and finishing nails to secure #11 to the structure.
  2. Fit check the platform (#12) between the legs. It should slide easily up and down or from front to back. Cut down the edge as required.
  3. Now size your dowel for cutting. Place the dowel rods through the holes at the first level. Mark the dowel rod so it can be cut flush with the legs. Place the dowel rods through the holes at each other level to ensure it will be flush. Make new marks as required so the dowel rod is flush for each level. Cut the dowel rods at the shortest mark.
  4. To align the set screws for the platform (#12), place the dowel rods in a desired level. Place the platform (#12) on top of the dowels. Center and clamp the platform to the dowels. Rotate the entire structure upside down.
  5. Use the center punch to indent the bottom of the dowel where you want the hole, center looks more professional. Starting with a smaller drill bit, drill through the dowel and platform. Increase the drill bit size so that the machine screw has some clearance to slide freely. This free movement will help you just in case you something goes wrong with alignment at a different platform level. Repeat this step for the other dowel rod.
  6. Before removing the clamps, I recommend marking the bottom of the platform and dowels to note orientation and pairs (see the picture above).
  7. After removing the clamps, place the platform on a flat surface. Place the center punch in the hole on the top face of the platform. Use your hammer to sink the hole enough that your machine screw head is flush with the platform.
  8. If you chose to paint or stain the toddler kitchen helper, I recommend taping the inside of the dowel holes because paint can cause clearance issues for the rods to slide freely (learned this first hand).
  9. If you did the pocket hole screws in step 13 (of The Build, Part 1), it’s a nice touch to fill the holes with the wood plugs. This requires wood glue and a Japanese flat saw to cut the plug flush.
  10. Oh and the finishing touch… use the felt to make feet on the bottom corners of the platform so it slides quietly and doesn’t damage your floors.

Step 3: Additional Pictures

1 Person Made This Project!


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Question 2 years ago

Are the pieces labels #11 and #15 supposed to be 1x6's or 1x8's?

The purchase list says 1x8.
Step 4 says 1x6.
If I'm reading this correctly, this will determine the height of the front step for the little guy.


Reply 2 years ago

They are 1x8's. Good catch; it is now corrected