Easy Vintage Step Stool

Submitted by Ana White on Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:31
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Easy vintage step stool plans from Ana-White.com

Grandma is expecting a lot of company up at the Momplex this Christmas, and quite a few of those guests aren't quite tall enough to reach the sink.

These are also the same guests that tend to have sticky fingers from making gingerbread houses and sneaking sugar cookies, and need easy access to the sink.

So I thought I'd put together a little step stool - one that is super simple to build - as I'm in the "any day now" stage of this pregnancy, and I literally wake up, say "hey, I'm not in labor today, so what can I do - and finish - by the end of today."  

This stool might look a little complicated, but I promise you - if you can squeeze a jigsaw trigger, you can make it.  It's just sides cut from a 1x12, a 1x12 bottom step, a 1x6 top step, and some 1x2s in there for extra support.  Once you get it cut out, it's like 10 minutes to make.

It's got a full, wide bottom step, so I have found myself even using it.  

The kids really like the top step for getting to the sink.  If you need a quick but nice Christmas gift for a little one this year, this might be a plan for you!  It looks expensive and complicated, but it really isn't!

For the finish, I was contacted by Glidden (I write for MyColortopia - Glidden's color inspiration site) to test out their new paint, called Glidden Trim and Door.  This new paint is an oil based paint that claims to be self leveling, one coat, and a thick, shiny enamel finish - that doesn't DRIP or leave brush marks.  

A project like this step stool, with lots of tight spots to paint (pretty much screaming brush marks and dripping), and guaranteed to get lots of wear and tear, needs an exceptional painted finish, so I thought I'd give it a try! 

See what all the hype is about!

Because Glidden Trim and Paint is an oil based paint, and I'm currently preggers, I enlisted the help of one of my friends, Jen, to paint the step stool for me.

Excuse the sawdust on the belly ....

Jen got right to work sanding my jigsaw cuts with a coarse sanding pad.

Our power sander won't sand a curvd cut, so these sanding pads work pretty good.

Another note - I was able to get a pretty good jigsaw cut on the two sides by using a fresh wood blade and clamping the two sides together and cutting as one.  This really helps minimize the need for sanding.

Then just to even everything out and prepare for primer, Jen sanded the entire project with medium grit sandpaper, and then went over the entire project lightly with fine sandpaper.  

I know, she's a good friend!

After vacuuming the step stool ... we are ready for primer!

The Glidden Trim and Door paint does function as a primer, but here's my reasoning: Primer is cheaper than paint.  And it's cheap insurance.  Most primers will work with an oil based paint - but read the can just to make sure.

Now for the paint!!!

I'll admit, I was a little nervous when I peeked in the paint room and took a look in the can - the paint seperates out so you must mix it.  Nothing a little gentle stirring can't fix.

Jen described the paint as "thick" and was nervous about applying it because usually you plan on several thin coats - not one goopy thick coat - right?

Well, this little step stool got one goopy thick coat ... 

That never dripped or dribbled,

Or showed a brush mark.  

And when it dried, we were all super impressed with how thick and shiny the paint was, and how professional looking the one goopy coat ended up looking.  Even in our dark Alaska days, the finish reflects it's so shiny!

So that's what all the hype is about!

I definitely say give it a try for a project that is going to get lots of wear and tear, and you need a shiny, hard finish - benches, tabletops, doors, trim - I'm already counting down the days until spring to paint my exterior wood trim with it.

Of course, plans for this step stool follow!  Enjoy! 

XO Ana

Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with our friends at Glidden, but all opinions and comments are my own.

Dimensions shown above


Shopping List

4 feet of 1x12 boards
18" of 1x6 boards
6 feet of 1x2 boards
I used 1-1/4" pocket hole screws and 2" finish nails and glue

Cut List

2 - 1x12 @ 12-1/4" - long point measurement, one end is cut at 5 degrees off square (sides)
1 - 1x6 @ 17" (top step)
4 - 1x2 @ 15" (supports)
1 - 1x12 @ 15" (bottom step)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Miter Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Take the two side pieces and clamp them together. Use the measurments in the diagram to find the points and draw the curves. I used a jar lid to help me get the curves right. Then I carefully cut the sides out with a jigsaw, using a wood blade, and going slow, making sure my blade didn't bevel as I cut.

Step 2

NOTE: The order of assembly in these instructions is more friendly to pocket hole users. If you use a different type of assembly for joints, you may wish to alter the order of assembly.

The first thing I did was drill 2 pocket holes (3/4" setting) on each inside top of the sides (REMEMBER THEY ARE IN MIRROR!!!) and attached the top step. Make sure you leave 15" between the two sides, as all the other boards are cut 15" in width.

Step 3

Working down from the top, I then added the two top supports.

Step 4

And then I added the bottom step - it's just a 1x12.

Step 5

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.



Thu, 12/12/2013 - 00:17

A-ha! Where was this paint when I built my office desk last summer?! Since the finish is wearing, I might just have to try this paint for the second time around. I need a nice finish that can take a beating! Love this little stool, I think I need two.


Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:57

I love this plan Ana, and the finish is awesome, I will have to try it!! Thanks so much!!


Fri, 12/13/2013 - 11:40

What a great-sounding paint! I wonder if it would be tooooo different a white from what I've already got on the first kitchen cabinet...cause it would be perfect on the uppers!

Great plans, too! What a lovely shape on that stool, and great stability.


Tue, 12/17/2013 - 21:33

Hi Ana! We are hoping to expand our family by one in the next year and your post got me thinking about pregnant building - what are the no-no's? I can guess the obvious (no heavy lifting or strong fumes, etc.), but I'm sure there are many things I'm not thinking of...
Love the step stool!


Fri, 12/15/2017 - 14:21

We are making this stool for our family Christmas DIY gift exchange, and I was wondering about the size of the 1" x 12" in your plans .  Here in Texas, our 1" x 12" lumber is 11 3/4" wide, not 12 1/4"as indicated on the plans here.  Is that a typo or is there a diference in the wood there compared to here?


Sun, 10/17/2021 - 11:48

Hi, do you have a way for me to print this project without all the ads in between? Very cute stool.

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