How to Make a Wooden Step Stool: A DIY Guide

  • Ella Jubaedah
  • Jul 16, 2023
How to Make a Wooden Step Stool: A DIY Guide

Tools and materials needed for DIY wooden step stool

Building a DIY wooden step stool can be an enjoyable and worthwhile project. It is an excellent way to learn new skills, save money, and customize your furniture according to your preference. However, before you delve into making it, you need to prepare your tools and materials. Here are the essential tools and materials that you will need for this project:


  • Circular saw or handsaw
  • Jigsaw or bandsaw
  • Drill with different bits
  • Screwdriver or impact driver
  • Hammer
  • Sandpaper or sanding block
  • Measuring tape
  • Square
  • Pencil or marker
  • Clamps

Using a circular saw or handsaw is up to the user’s preference, but a jigsaw or bandsaw is essential for curved cuts. The drill with different bits is necessary in putting screws in place. Either a screwdriver or an impact driver can be used, but an impact driver is preferred for its efficiency. A hammer is useful in driving the nail in place, while sandpaper or sanding block is essential in smoothening the surface. The measuring tape will help ensure the accuracy of the stool’s dimensions, and the square will ensure that the corners are square. The pencil or marker is used for marking the measurements on the wood while the clamps are used in holding the material in place to ensure precise cuts.


  • Wood (1” x 12” x 8’ for the sides and steps, 1” x 4” x 8’ for braces)
  • Wood screws (1-1/4”, 2-1/2”)
  • Nails (1-1/4”)
  • Wood glue (optional)

You will need the right type of wood to build a sturdy step stool. One inch thickness of 12 inches width and 8 feet long wood boards are necessary for the sides and steps, while 1” x 4” x 8’ boards are appropriate for braces. The wood must be sturdy, knot-free, and straight. Wood screws of 1-1/4” and 2-1/2” work well for this project, along with nails of 1-1/4”. The wood glue is optional but can reinforce a strong stool.

It is vital that you prepare all the tools and materials before starting. Check if all the equipment is in good condition and complete with bits and blades. Also, ensure that the wood is straight and free from warp and knots. It is best to buy extra wood in case you make measurements or cuts mistakes. By preparing beforehand, it will make the project more enjoyable and ensure a better result.

Measuring and Cutting the Wooden Parts

If you are someone who loves to do DIY projects, then making a wooden step stool can be an exciting project for you. Before beginning with the project, it is important to measure and cut the wooden parts properly to ensure the final product is safe and sturdy. In this subtopic, we will discuss how to measure and cut wooden parts for making a step stool.

Before starting with the project, you need to keep a few things in mind. Firstly, you need to decide on the height, width, and depth of the step stool. Secondly, decide what type of wood you will use for the step stool. Hardwoods such as maple, oak, and walnut are durable and long-lasting, while softwoods such as pine and cedar are cheaper and easier to work with.

Measuring the Wooden Parts:

Once you have decided on the height, width, and depth of the step stool, you can move on to measuring the wooden parts required for making the stool. For a simple step stool, you will need two side pieces, a top piece, and one or two rungs for support.

To measure the side pieces, you need to decide on the overall height of the step stool. Take a measuring tape and measure the length of the side pieces from the base of the stool to the top, ensuring both sides are of equal length.

The width of the side pieces will depend on the width of the step stool. If you want a wide step stool, then make sure the side pieces are wider, and if you want a narrow stool, then make the side pieces narrower. Use a pencil to mark the measurements on the wood.

Next, measure the top piece. It should be a rectangle of width and depth equal to the width and depth of the stool, respectively. Mark the measurements on the wood with a pencil.

The rungs for the support of the stool can be of any length, depending on the height of the stool and the space between the side pieces. Mark the measurements on the wood using a pencil.

Cutting the Wooden Parts:

After measuring the wooden parts, you can move on to cutting the wood. Use a saw to cut the wood into the desired lengths. Ensure that the cuts are straight and smooth. It is recommended to use a square or a measuring tape to ensure accuracy while cutting the wood.

If you do not have a saw, you can rent one from a hardware store or use a hand saw. A hand saw is not as accurate as a circular saw, but it can get the job done if you are comfortable using it.

After cutting the wooden parts, make sure to sand them to remove any rough edges. Sanding will also give the wooden parts a smooth finish. Use sandpaper with different grits to achieve the desired smoothness. Start with a low-grit sandpaper and move on to higher-grit sandpaper for a smoother finish.

In conclusion, measuring and cutting the wooden parts is a crucial step in making a wooden step stool. Accuracy in measurement and cutting is important to ensure the final product is safe and sturdy. Follow these steps carefully to achieve a perfectly measured and cut wooden step stool.

Assembling and sanding the step stool

So you’ve gathered the wood, sawed and measured it, and you’re now finally ready to start assembling your very own step stool! With some basic tools and a little bit of patience, you can create a functional and aesthetically pleasing stool that you’ll be proud to have in your home. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to assemble and sand your wooden step stool:

1. Gather your materials

Before you begin, make sure you have all the necessary materials and tools at hand. You’ll need the pieces of wood you’ve cut, wood glue, clamps, screws, a drill, a circular saw or hand saw, a sander, and sandpaper.

2. Assemble the stool

The first step is to attach the two long side pieces to the shorter top and bottom pieces. Apply a generous amount of wood glue to each joint, and then clamp the pieces together tightly. Make sure that the edges are flush and square. Use a drill to make pilot holes in the wood, then screw the pieces together. Repeat the process to attach the second shorter board to the opposite end of the long side pieces.

Next, add the two horizontal braces to reinforce the structure of the step stool. Again, apply wood glue to the joints and clamp the pieces together tightly. Use a drill to make pilot holes and then attach them with screws. Finally, attach the treads to the top of the step stool frame. Apply wood glue to each joint, clamp the pieces together and screw them in.

3. Sand the stool

Now that the step stool is assembled, it’s time to sand it down. Use a sander or sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges, splinters, and bumps. Start with a coarse grit sandpaper, then progressively work your way up to a finer grit sandpaper. Sand the entire stool, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies of the wood, until it feels smooth to the touch.

Once you’ve finished sanding, wipe down the stool with a soft cloth to remove any dust or debris. You may wish to apply a finish to the stool using paint or wood stain, or you can leave it with a natural, unfinished look.

And there you have it! Assembling and sanding your wooden step stool is a rewarding DIY project that requires some patience and effort, but the end result is a practical and beautiful addition to your home.

Finishing Options for Your Step Stool

Once you have completed making your step stool, the next step is to choose a finish to present the perfect look of your project. A finish is essential to keep your step stool away from scratches, stains, and other external damage while enhancing the beauty of your work. The finish can create a classic wooden look, a modern or rustic look, or simply add a protective layer for durability. There are various finishing options to consider:

1. Paint

If you’re searching for a more vibrant and colorful appearance for your step stool, then paint can elevate it to new heights. Paint is perfect for younger kids to turn their ordinary stool into a colorful and fun experience instead of a mundane brown color. Paint can be used for personalizing the stool with elaborate designs if you are an artist or designer. Since paint conceals the wood grain completely, it is very difficult to change the color or return to natural wood.

2. Stain

If you would like to enhance the natural wood texture and grain while adding a layer of protection and color, then a stain is an ideal finish. Staining is an excellent way to protect the wood from moisture, rotting, or warping. It gives the stool a sophisticated and natural rustic appearance, making it perfect for individuals who hope to create a classic and warm look. There are various stain colors such as cherry, walnut, mahogany, and many more. It is easier to apply but harder to remove if you change your mind about the color.

3. Varnish

For extra durability and protection, a varnish is the best bet for your wooden step stool. The varnish creates a transparent layer for the wood grain, providing an elegant and shining surface that shows off the natural wood texture. It is resistant to scratches, spills, and general wear and tear, making it ideal for regular and heavy use. Varnishing your wooden step stool will give it an impressive and polished look. The varnish is good to consider for a wooden step stool in a bathroom or kitchen, where there is constant exposure to moisture and other environmental factors.

4. Wax

If you prefer a more organic and natural approach to the finishing of your wooden step stool, wax is the way to go. Waxing brings out the natural texture and beauty of the wood grain, providing a smooth surface that looks great. It is straightforward to apply, but will need constant maintenance to keep it shining and looking presentable. Wax is good to consider if you enjoy the original texture of the wood. However, if you are looking for long-lasting protection, then a wax finish may not be the right fit for you.

Before you decide on the finishing option for your wooden step stool, ensure you take your environment and needs into consideration. For instance, if you plan to use your step stool in the bathroom or kitchen, you might need a varnish that is resistant to moisture.

You should carefully consider your personal style, preferences, and tastes so that the wooden step stool finish can complement your space’s aesthetic. Regardless of your choice, any of the above finishes can take your wooden step stool project from good to great.

Decorative ideas to customize your DIY wooden step stool

If you want to personalize your DIY wooden step stool with unique and creative decoration ideas, you have come to the right place. With these five tips, you can transform your wooden step stool into a beautiful furniture piece that adds character to your home.

1- Paint it vibrant colors:

Using paint is the most common way of giving your wooden step stool a colorful touch. You can paint it with your favorite colors or match it with your home decor. You can also use different painting techniques such as brush strokes, sponge painting, or ombre effect to make your step stool pop. You can also use stencils to add a design or pattern to your step stool to give it a unique look.

2- Decoupage it:

Another way of customizing your wooden step stool is by decoupaging it with printed paper or napkins. Choose a design or pattern that resonates with your personality, and glue it to your stool with decoupage glue. You can also add a layer of clear varnish to give it a glossy finish and protect your design. Decoupage is a fun and easy way of adding a personal touch to your stool without breaking the bank.

3- Add fabric seat:

If you want to make your step stool more comfortable and cozy, adding a fabric seat is a perfect idea. You can upholster the seat with any fabric you like, such as velvet, cotton, or linen, to match your home decor or personal style. To make it more interesting, you can add buttons or decorative trim to give it a vintage vibe. A fabric seat will not only add comfort but will also make your step stool look more charming.

4- Create a mosaic design:

A mosaic design is a beautiful way to customize your wooden step stool and turn it into a piece of art. You can use colored glass, ceramic tiles, or even broken china to create a vibrant and unique design. Draw the design on your step stool, and fill it with small mosaic pieces using cement or tile adhesive. You can also add grout to seal the gaps between the tiles and give it a finished look.

5- Stencil it with quotes:

If you are a fan of quotes, you can stencil inspirational or funny sayings on your wooden step stool to motivate and uplift you. You can use stencils and paint to add the quote, or even use a sharpie or a wood burning pen to write it by hand. You can also decorate it with small graphics or illustrations to make it more eye-catching. A quote step stool is not only functional but also a fantastic conversation starter.

With these five decorative ideas, you can turn your DIY wooden step stool into anything you want; a colorful and vibrant piece, a cozy seat, a piece of art, or a source of inspiration. The possibilities are endless, so let your creativity flow and have fun customizing your step stool!

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