Sunday, April 26, 2015

DIY Workshop Step Stool

Ana White is currently hosting the #GetBuilding2015 challenge. This month's theme is #BuildCave which involves building something for your workshop. Originally, I had planned on building something to corral and organize my scrap wood. It had been shoved in piles and I had to dig through it whenever I wanted to build something.

While I was in the basement trying to think up a plan to build, I realized that I had an old metal filing cabinet that I hadn't used in years. I took out the drawers, turned it on its side, and it was the perfect solution! The only problem was the shorter pieces were getting lost in the bottom. I simply put some empty cat litter buckets in the holes where the drawers used to be. I put the longer pieces around the bucket and the shorter pieces inside the bucket. It worked out perfectly. But, I no longer had an idea about what to make for the challenge.

While I was putting some stuff away on the top shelf of one of the shelving units, I realized that I could use a step stool. I had been standing on top of a Rubbermaid tote whenever I needed to get to the top shelf. I searched the internet for some ideas for a simple step stool and I found this plan on This would perfectly fit my needs. Not only does it give me a step stool, but also a small table top or stool to sit on.

This step stool does not take much to make. I actually had all the needed supplies in my scrap pile. If you need to buy the supplies, you can buy everything for under $10. You can view the complete plan here. I did not follow the plans exactly, but here are the steps I took to make it.

Needed materials:
2 - 1" x 3" x 8'
1 - 1" x 4" x  2'
1 - 1" x 6" x 3'
1 - 1" x 8" x 2'
Countersink drill bit
Kreg Jig (optional)
1 1/4" wood screws
2" wood screws
1 1/4" pocket hole screws (optional)
Wood glue
Sander or sandpaper

Step 1: Cut your boards. I started out using my miter saw for this, but it broke and I finished it with my circular saw.

Needed Cuts:
4 - 1" x 3" at 25" (legs)
6 - 1" x 3" at 14" (rungs)
1 - 1" x 4" at 16" (back brace)
2 - 1" x 6" at 16" (steps)
2 - 1" x 8" at 19" (top)

Step 2: Using wood glue and countersunk 1 1/4" screws, attach the top rung to the legs. This rung should be flush with the top of the legs.

Step 3: Using wood glue and countersunk 1 1/4" screws, attach the middle and bottom rungs to the legs. The top of the middle rung should be 8 3/4" from the top of the top rung. The top of the bottom rung should be 17 1/4" from the top of the top rung. Make two sets of these.

Step 4: Using a Kreg jig set at the 3/4" setting, drill pocket holes in each end of the back brace. You can skip this step if you are not using pocket holes.

Step 5: Using the pocket hole screws, attach the back brace to the legs. You could also use 2" countersunk screws to attach the brace.

Step 6: Using wood glue and countersunk 2" screws, attach the two steps. The bottom step should be flush with the front. The second step should be 3 1/2" in from the front.

Step 7: Attach hinges to the two top pieces. The plans suggest using non-mortise hinges. I just grabbed regular hinges that I had at home. It left a slightly larger gap between the two boards on the top, but that's not a big deal.

Step 8: Using wood glue and countersunk 2" screws, attach the back top piece to the top rung.

Step 9: I normally would fill any holes with putty, at this stage. But since I am only going to be using this when I am working in the basement, I did not bother with this. If I ever decide to use it somewhere else, I can do it at that time.

Step 10: Sand all surfaces. I gave this a quick once over with my Random Orbital Sander. I actually won this sander as a give-away over at Home Repair Tutor. If you haven't checked out that site before, it is definitely worth it. He has a ton of great ideas!

Step 11: I normally would paint or stain at this point, but I don't need it to look pretty in my workshop. I may decide to paint it at a later time.

Step 12: Enjoy your new step stool/table!

This was really easy to make and I know I will use quite a bit.

If I was to do this again, I would have used pocket holes screwed into the rungs to attach the steps and the top. I didn't think about doing this until after I had the ladders built, so I only used pocket holes for the back brace.

Be sure to check out all the other #BuildCave projects on