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How To Build A Step Stool? – Detailed Steps to Follow

A step stool is an essential tool that helps you access hard to reach areas like high cabinets or shelves. It’s also a great way to help your kids put away their toys, pick a favorite book, or wash their hands in a higher sink.

The good news is that you can create one on your own. It involves some straightforward procedures that require readily available materials. Even better, you can come up with an elegant and unique design that will add some style to your house. Here are various steps on how to build a step stool by yourself.

How to Build A Step Stool By Yourself? – Detailed Steps to Follow:

how to build step stools

Take The Dimensions

It’s a basic construction that involves joining a wood panel to the legs. You may want to use hardwood due to the amount of pressure expected on the stool from time. However, screwing together hardwood may be a little bit difficult since it involves drilling some holes. The job, therefore, requires a parent, but children above seven years old can also help.

First, use a measuring tape and a combination square, mark out around 12″ width to make a square top. Measure another piece of similar width and about 15″ length on your oak or wooden surface. Further, use the same measurements to create the second leg. Also, measure and draw a one-inch wide rectangle that proceeds to halfway each leg.

Cut Out The Pieces

Pace the wood on a flat surface and put on safety glasses to protect your eyes. Using a jigsaw, cut out the square top. Further, rip off the sections with the two legs to separate them. Beware that hardwood may seem somewhat difficult to cut, and you need to keep your eyes on the cutline and work slowly.

Make The Leg Slots

Clench one piece of the leg on the table and, using a drill, make two holes at the inside corner of the slot marks made earlier. It will enable you to turn the jigsaw blade quickly. With your cutter inside the line, cut the slot and do the same for the other leg. Remember to stop the saw before turning the cutting-edge.

Smoothen The Wood Surfaces

Use sanders or sandpapers to rub the wood fibers and render the entire piece uniformly rough. Run over all corners and edges to evenly shape the surfaces. Next, work on the wood top, the legs, all the flat surfaces to smoother them without leaving any marks. If you are using a sander, keep the dust bag at the back.

Put Together The Step Stool

Place the top part of your step stool on a flat surface. Using a ruler and a faint pencil make crossing lines from one corner to the other, for both sides to form an X sign. Further, mark around 7½” from the center along every line to fit the legs under the top.

Drill pocket holes on both sides along the lines, but not beyond the seven inches mark. Cross the legs together to form an X pattern. You can hammer it at this point to make it tight. Place the top surface above the legs and center it.

Using your pencil, mark out the pilot holes’ position onto the top edges of the legs. Remove the upper surface and drill about one and quarter-inch deep holes into the legs.

Add a little wood glue, place the top part of the stool on the legs, and align the holes. Screw the upper piece onto the legs and sink the fasteners below the surface. Apply wood putty to fill imperfections, let it dry, then use sandpaper to give it final smoothening.

Paint Your Step Stool

At this point, you can choose your preferred color, paint the stool, and let it dry. You can also add nail-on furniture glides to protect your chair from scratching the floor.

Other DIY Plans

building step stools

Besides the single step stool, you can also come up with a stylish 2-step alternative. It provides varying heights, especially if you have different aged kids. The smaller one can stand on the upper staircase while the bigger one can use the lower one to reach things comfortably. It’s also a pretty sturdy alternative for adults.

You only need a wooden board, wood glue, sandpaper, and pocket screws. Cut 15 ½ inches pieces from the wood board, then rip off one 15 ½” to 6″ wide. Cut the remaining one into four strips, two of about 1 7/8″ and the other two 1 ½”.

Measure another 11 ¼ inches and five ¼ from the edge where you will drill the pocket holes. Using wood glue and fasteners, assemble the top stairs support, leave out some pocket holes where you will attach the stair tread. Make holes on the 11 ¼” pieces, using screws and glue, make the lower staircase support. Leave some pocket holes to attach the staircase.

Cut out a six ¾” piece to make the lower staircase and 17 ¼” for the upper one. Set out a 19″ diagonal section piece and secure it firmly with screws to the outside corner of the top staircase support.

Put the stool on a flat surface, then mark out on the 19″ piece a 6 ¾” mark. Adjust the lower staircase support, line it up with the marked spot, and fix it into place using fasteners. If need be, you can add some extra screws to the top support.

You can also choose to leave a part of the lower staircase unfilled or completely sealed. Leaving it partially open creates a ladder-like experience to help younger kids climb up. Secure the stair treads firmly into the support spaces using screws or nails. You can then use sandpaper to touch up the rough edges. Finally, add a top coat and let it dry.

If feeling tired building your own step stools, here are some types of step stools for choosing:


Even the tallest people will need a step stool at one point in their life, so it’s good to have one. They have endless applications, and you can modify them to suit your specific needs. The above guide on how to build a step stool outlines some simple steps with some kids’ friendly procedures.


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