How to Build a Wooden Storage Step Stool

Free Woodworking Plans from Lee's Wood Projects

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This storage step stool is the perfect solution for your toddles to use the sink in the bathroom, or in the kitchen to help with important kitchen duties, such as helping mom prepare cookies. It features two piano hinged steps that also serve as lids for access to the storage compartments. It is sturdy, but still light enough to easily carry from room-to-room. Its hardwood construction give it strength and durability, plus is can be stained, painted, or decorated to give it the pizzazz required to suit the needs of any child.

Click On Image to See Larger Scalable Drawing

Technical Information for Making a Wooden Storage Step Stool

A. Materials List:

1 A Lower Front 3/4" x 7 1/2" X 15"  Birch
1 B Upper Front 3/4" x 7 1/2" X 15"  Birch
1 C Back 3/4" x 14 1/4" x 15" Birch
2 D Sides 3/4" x 15" x 15 " Birch
2 E Steps 3/4" x 8" x 16" Birch
1 F Bottom 1/2" x 14 1/4" x 14 1/4"  Birch Plywood
2 G Piano Hinges 1/2" w 15" Steel
6 H Dowel Pins 3/8" Dia. x 2" Birch 



B. Patterns:

  1. Scale lower front (A) and sides (D) to the drawing dimension sizes. This can be accomplished by measuring the print out and dividing that size into the dimension sizes. This will give a multi-factor that can be used to figure the enlargement size for the patterns. This can be easily done at home if you have a copier capable of making enlargements. If not, most companies that do duplicating can make the enlargements required for the patterns.
  2. Trace the pattern enlargements onto poster board or Mylar and use a pair of scissors to cut out the patterns.

C. Cutting Procedures:

  1. This project can be made from one 3/4" x 5" x 36" board.
  2. This project can be made from two 3/4" x 8" x 72" Birch boards and one sheet of 1/2" x 15" x 15" birch plywood.
  3. Joint one edge of each Birch board.
  4. Use a radial arm saw to cut the lower and upper fronts (A) & (B) 15" long. Cut the steps (E) 16" long.
  5. Use a table saw to rip fronts (A) & (B) and the steps (E) 7 1/2" and 8" wide respectively.
  6. Joint the boards to remove the saw marks.
  7. For the sides (D), cut two boards 7 1/2" wide x 15 1/2" long. Also cut two boards 7 1/2" wide x 8" long. For one side, align one edge of a longer board with one edge of a shorter board and draw two three inch lines across the adjacent edges. One line should be 2" from the end and the other line 6" from the end. Repeat the previous procedure for the other side. Note: The ends of the long and short boards should be flush with one another before making the marks.
  8. Use a horizontal boring machine with a 3/8" bit to drill holes 1 1/16" deep into the adjacent edges of each board where it is marked.
  9. Place wood glue in the holes of the longer boards. Use a wooden mallet to tap dowel pins (H) into the holes. Place wood glue on the exposed dowel pins and the edges of the long and short boards to be joined. Tap the boards together and use bar clamps to secure them. Allow the glue to dry over night.
  10. Repeat steps #6-8 to join two boards 7 1/8" wide x 15 1/2" long for the back (C). The placement of the two dowel pins for the back should be 3" from each end.
  11. Use a radial arm saw to cut the lengths of the sides (D) and the back (C) to 15".
  12. Use a planer to make a trim cut on each side of the sides (D) and the back (C) to remove the excess glue and smooth the surfaces.
  13. Cut the bottom (F) 14 1/4" x 14 1/4". Note: The bottom should be cut from 1/2" thick Birch plywood.
  14. Use a radial arm saw and a 1/2" wide dado blade to cut dado joints 3/8" deep on the bottom/inside surfaces of the lower front (A), back (C), and sides (D). The dado joints should be cut 1 3/4" from the bottom of each board. These dado joints are for placement of the bottom (F).
  15. To make the arch in the lower front (A), back (C), and sides (D), place a mark 3" in from the bottom left and right edges of each board. Place another mark 7 1/2" in and 1 1/4" up on each board to define the top/center of the arch. Set a compass to 8 3/4" radius and scribe the arc in each board.
  16. Use a band saw to cut out the arches and a spindle sander to finish them to the desired smoothness.

D. Sanding Procedures:

  1. Rough sand all parts using an orbital hand sander with 80 grit sand paper.
  2. Intermediate sand using an orbital hand sander with 120 grit sand paper.
  3. Finish sand using an orbital hand sander with 220 grit sand paper.
  4. Hand sand all edges to desired finish.

E: Assembly Procedures:

  1. Place wood glue on the side edges of the back (C) and attach the sides (D) to the back using a nail gun and 1 1/2" nails. Also glue and nail the sides onto the upper front (B).
  2. Slip the bottom (F) into the dado joints, then glue and nail the lower front (A) in place.
  3. Use a damp cloth to remove any excess glue.
  4. Use #8 x 1/2" flat head wood screws to attach the piano hinges (G) to the steps (E) and the upper edges of the lower and upper fronts (A) and (B).

F: Finish Procedures:

  1. Use plastic wood dough to fill all nail holes, cracks and imperfections.
  2. Use an orbital hand sander and 220 grit sandpaper to finish sand the entire project.
  3. Hand sand all edges with 220 grit sandpaper.
  4. If stain is desired, apply with a brush and allow to penetrate for 5-10 minutes, and then remove with a clean rag.
  5. Allow stain to dry 6 hours and then repeat with a second coat.
  6. Apply a clear finish coat such as Varathane, Polyurethane, lacquer, varnish etc. using a pure-bristle brush. Allow to dry 12 hours.
  7. Lightly had sand finish with 220 grit sandpaper.
  8. Apply second coat of clear finish. 9. If additional finish coats are desired, repeat steps #6 &7. 10. Allow project to dry 24-48 hours after final finish coat depending on temperature and humidity.
Notes: 1. Be sure to match the color of the wood dough to the stain color.
2. Use a tack rag after each sanding procedure to remove the dust.

*Congratulations, your wooden storage step stool is finished and ready to use!

Related Projects:

  • Wooden Step Stool
  • Wood Storage Chest