April 10 - 23 2016: Issue 259

DIY Children’s Step Stool with Storage

 vegepod made into a fail-safe herb garden - photographed at Johnson Brothers Hardware Mitre 10 Mona Vale this week

Do you remember when you were just half a foot too short to reach those biscuits on the top shelf? Some of us still struggle to get flour from the pantry top or jam form the too high shelf in the supermarket.

Then we have the reverse – what happens when you want to sit down close to a garden bed or your patio vegepod but not sit on the hard, and at this time of year, damp ground.

Or what happens when you’re two and a half feet tall and half a foot becomes a full foot difference when you want to stand at the sink and brush your teeth – or when you want to sit down and build that wooden blocks tower so you can reach it a bit higher and then, put all those blocks away in that same seat?

Well, there is a solution, and one young DIYer’s can do with mum or dad these school holidays and finish by adding their own touches – the easy Footstool or the Stepstool with a lid so you and store your stuff!


Step right up – let’s get building:

Tools and Materials

jigsaw; cordless drill with a 1.5cm bit; square or ruler; 5cm wood screws; wood glue; medium-grit sandpaper; 2.5 cmx11388.50cm pine board 30cm wide; 2 standard hinges; Paint or stains of your choice - safety goggles and masks

Prepare your Wood panels

Use a square and pencil to measure and mark the cuts for all the pieces of the step stool as well as the handle holes. Show your child how to measure and cut the wood by demonstrating where the cuts will be with a carpenters pencil. Use a jigsaw to make the straight cuts making sure goggles, ear muffs and dust masks are on first.

2x side pieces at 355mm 

Storage panel pieces (front and back) at 320mm; 

Storage box bottom at 140mm

Toe-kick piece at 133.35mm 

2x step stool tops at 190.5mm

Cut Handles and Arches

For the best results on the handles, drill a hole a bit larger than the jigsaw blade in the center of the area to be cut out. Then insert the jigsaw blade and follow your markings around the circular handle openings. Finish by cutting out the bottom decorative arches. Showing how to mark wood with an arc and then cut it is a good insight for those who like tracing glasses on paper to make patterns - it's the same thing, only the materials are different.


Sand all edges using medium-grit sandpaper - DIY Junior can do this job - wrap the sandpaper around an old block of wood so it's easier to handle and some gloves will keep any pesky splinters away. As this stool will likely be moved from room to room and handled by precious toddler skin, take extra care in making sure all edges are as smooth as possible.

Check the Fit

Line up all of the cut pieces and make sure they fit together nicely. If any adjustments need to be made, do those now.

Attach the Back to the Sides

To assemble the pieces, start by attaching the back of the stool to the sides by gluing the pieces together, then securing them with the screws. Youngsters can help with the gluing; just make sure they're wearing some gloves and a mask.

Add the Bottom

Attach the bottom of the stool to the back and the sides using that same technique

Attach the Front Piece and Step

Secure the front section of the stool storage area, then the front toe-kick panel. Attach the bottom step.

Add Hinges

On the bottom side of the top step, line up the hinges 3" from the outermost end. Attach them to the bottom of the lid. Then attach them to the inner side of the back panel.

Safety first for Small people

For added safety and traction on slippery floors you can add grip tape to the tops of each step. Also, since little hands aren't very adept at doing anything gently, adding a felt strip where the top lid touches the stool to reduce slamming the lid when it is closed may be a good idea. You can even add in safety hinges for a slower close if you're concerned about the lid falling on little fingers.

Paint and Decorate

Now for some more fun: Paint, stencil, engrave and decorate your storage stool to your heart's content - or let the junior artist in the home add their own design, make it 'their's. Spread a large dropsheet around them before they begin just in case they go a bit Pro Hart

Adding a protecting layer of clear varnish will preserve the artwork for years to come and make wiping off all that dropped tomato sauce and jam spilled everywhere a breeze.

These measurements can be doubled and a stronger wood used for those who have grown shorter during the years - a great extra 'tool' for reaching those biscuits you stored on the top shelf of the pantry - might be a nice idea for mum or grandma for Mother's Day!

That one could be painted pink ... with white and yellow daisies - or Chrysanthemums!

Hope you have fun trying out this little DIY Project this school holidays!

Buy Right® Safety Goggles: $4.50

Buy Right® Sandpaper Pack: $2.00 - Ideal for any sanding project. Assorted grits. Pack of 15.

accent® Project Paint Brush: $5.35 - 38mm

DeWalt 18V Li-Ion Jigsaw On Sale: $279.00 - 400W. DCS33IN-XE. (Battery and charger sold separately.)

DeWalt 18V Brushless 2 Piece Drill Combo Kit: $847.00 - Includes DCD 995 XR Li-Ion XRP 3 speed hammer drill/ driver. DCF886 18V XR Li-Ion Impact driver.  2 x 5.0Ah Li-Ion batteries. Multi-voltage charger. Heavy duty tough system kit box.

Products advice is available from the trained friendly staff at Mona Vale and Avalon Johnson Brothers Mitre 10. 

Click on logo to visit Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 website

Johnson Bros Mitre 10 - Avalon            (02) 9918 3315

Johnson Bros Mitre 10 - Mona Vale     (02) 9999 3340

JBH Timber & Building Supplies          (02) 9999 0333

JBH Fencing & Landscape Supplies    (02) 9970 6333


Previous DIY Pages:

Decking Timbers  Caring For Your Deck Decking Finishes  Privacy Screens I Privacy Screens II  Privacy Screening Hardwoods  Autumn Paths and Lawns  Insulation Batts Plasterboard  Ventilation - Edmond's Ecofan Blackboards for Children and Home Spring Lawn Care Shade Sails & Watering  Basic DIY Tools DIY Tools - Power Drills Recycle Your Trampoline into An Air Bed  How to Build Your Own Backyard Cricket Pitch Christmas Lights Displays around House and Garden Summer Mildew - Refresh, Renew How to Fix Things That Drip and Bump in the Night Time To Plant Winter Vegetables in a€“ Raised Garden Beds Layout Organsing Your Tool Shed Make Your Own Weathervane Installing A Garden Watering System  Decking Oils  How To Make Garden Compost  How To Winter proof Your Lawn How to create Shabby Chic effect on Timber Furniture How to Build Your Own Raised Garden Bed  Growing Your Own Winter Vegetables  Winter Heating Guide Prepare Your Yard For Winter Eradicating Noxious Weeds From Your Yard How to Fix Furniture Finishes Part I How to Repair Scratches, Dings, and Dents of Furniture Surfaces - Part II Winter Draughts Fix  Classic Wooden Tool Carrier Spring Garden Checklist Part I  Install Your Own Skylight  Retaining Walls for Saving Soil and New Spring Garden Beds  DIY Summer Salad Garden Native Plant Garden for A Fairy Arbour Renewing Short Flight of Exterior Stairs Deck Maintenance DIY Summer Tasks You Can Do In Time to Get to the Beach  Garden Ponds for Attracting Birdlife, Dragonflies and for the Soothing Sounds of Water  The Salt Air Factor: Maintenance and Protection Creating an Outdoor Dining Arbour, Gazebo or Patio - Part I Creating an Outdor Dining Arbour, Gazebo or Patio Part II  Autumn Garden Tasks  Autumn DIY Jobs: Waterproof Your Home Checklist  Dealing With Dampness Inside the Home  Fixing Your Fence Repairing and Replacing Damaged Decking boards  DIY Toy Box and Snow Globes: School Holidays Fun - Winter 2015  DIY Wooden Toy Cars and Perfect Painted Flowerpots: School Holiday Fun - Winter 2015  Shoring Up an Under House Earth Bank – Installing a Basic Retaining Wall  DIY One Shelf Sideboard  Early Spring 2015 Garden Care Salad Garden For Children  Keeping Your Garden and Home Cool in Hot Weather  Classic Beach Garden and Camping Chairs 3 Portable Versions Anyone Can Make DIY Outdoor Furniture Mark I: Park Benches for Your Garden Make Your Own Scooter or Skateboard: Summer 2016 Fun  How to Install a Solid Core Door and Door Furniture  Summer Garden Jobs: Pruning A Hedge  How to Make A Swing Chair - With A Frame for Garden Setting  Garden Jobs for March to Make A Beautiful and Healthy Spring  Keeping Outdoor Nooks Warm During Cooler Months  


John and Bob Johnson - The Johnson Brothers Profile  John William Alfred Johnson - The Eulogies for those who could not attend Mass

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