The Littlest Helper Tower

Submitted by Ana White on Wed, 06/12/2019 - 14:34
Difficulty
Intermediate
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Build your own toddler step stool and bring your child to counter height. Features adjustable height platform, removable tip resistant kit, and optional fold flat modification.

blue little helper tower in white kitchen

Reader submitted photo by Ginger and the Huth

Dimensions
dimensions diagram for little helper tower
Dimensions are shown above. Heights of rungs are adjustable platform heights. Platform measures 15″ x 18″. You can add additional guards to fit the special needs of your individual child. For an older child you could remove the tip resistant kit for a more compact profile.

Preparation

Shopping List

1 – 1×8, 8 feet long

4 – 1×2, 8 feet long

1 – 1×3, 8 feet long

Cut List

4 – 1×2 @ 38″ (Legs)

8 – 1×2 @ 15″ (Ladder rungs)

1 – 1×8 @ 15″ (Arches) OR 2 - 1x3 @ 15" (Substitute for arches)

2 – 1×8 @ 16 1/2″ (Front and Back Sides)

2 – 1×8 @ 18″ (Platform)

2 – 1×2 @ 15″ (Platform Supports)

2 – 1×2 @ 16 1/2″ (Bottom Supports)

2 – 1×3 @ 16 1/2″ (Top Supports)

2 – 1×3 @ 24″ (Tip Resistors)

4 – 1×3 @ 3″ (Tip Resistors)

Tools
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Pencil
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Drill
Circular Saw
Jigsaw
Power Sander
Level
Drill Bit Set

Instructions

Step 1

Cut Arches From the 1×8 that is 15″ long, cut arches as shown in diagram with a jigsaw.  Adjust so you can get both arches on the 1x8.

NOTE: Some people just opt for straight boards across as done in this reader submitted photo. 

simple little helper tower modification

You can substitute for 1x3 instead.  This will simplify the building process.

Step 2

Ladder Rungs
 

Measure and mark legs for ladder rung positions. Drill 3/4" pocket holes and apply glue to ends of ladder rungs. Attach with 1-1/4" pocket hole screws.

Build two identical.

Step 3

Assembly

Mark the location of the end pieces and predrill holes. Apply glue and screw in place with pocket hole screws. Adjust for square. You can add additional rails to the front and back as you see fit, but keep the sides open so your youngster can crawl in and out of the helping tower.

Step 4

Platform

Next, build your platform by marking the 1x8s that are 18″ long 1″ from the outsides. Attach with glue and 1 1/4″ screws the platform supports. These platform supports not only join the 1x8s, but they also keep the platform in place inside the helping tower.

Step 5

Step 6

Tip Resistant Foot

Round the corners on the tip resistors as shown above. Screw together. You can optionally exclude the smaller tip resistors, as side to side tipping is less likely than backward tipping. You know your child better than anyone. Build to suit your child’s needs

Step 7

Attach Tip Resistant Footer

Simply screw the tip resistant footer to the legs as shown above.

Step 8

Folding Mod

By placing hinges instead of screwing the front and back pieces to the side pieces, you can make the Little Helper Tower fold easily. Just make sure you use plenty of strong hinges, make the platform fit very tight (adjust the inset on the ends to 3/4″ instead of 1″ in step 4, and regularly check to make sure your hinges are not loose. I personally prefer simplicity, and any time you add hinges, it increases the complexity. But for those of you who require storage for the Little Helper Tower (would slide under a bed easily) this mod if done with care can be the solution.

Step 9

Help Improve This Plan

We apologize if there was an error in this plan. Please help us out and report any errors here.

Comments

Norm (not verified)

Tue, 08/28/2012 - 07:35

Please let me know if your hinges are inset into the wood or just on the outer surface. Also how did they hold up after heavy use. Hope to hear soon as I am ready to join panels.

Geoffrey McCorkle (not verified)

Sun, 01/23/2011 - 17:17

Good job Ana. I bought he lumber, cut them on my compound miter saw, started clamping, drilling and screwing all the pieces together. Took about 4 hours. My daughter absolutely loves it. Next week I'll be puttying, sanding, primering and painting. Going with Pottery Barn white and will be painting our daughters name and soon-to-arrive son's name on them.

Now if I can just teach her how to do dishes ;)

darcy (not verified)

Thu, 01/27/2011 - 13:28

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the plans!!! I had been wishin over the Learning Tower for a while, even tried to win one. And it was just too much out of our budget. So after I ran across your post, I figured it wouldn't hurt to send it to my dad (who happens to be a woods craftsman) to see if he'd do it. Well, when my parents came to visit last weekend, he surprised us all with one! I love how it can fold out of the way when needed and I might just make a puppet show curtain for it, too. He added anti-slip material on the platform and on the bottom of the feet. The girls love it!

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee86/designz_scm/Random/DSC02762-tow…

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee86/designz_scm/Random/DSC02764-tow…

darcy (not verified)

Thu, 01/27/2011 - 13:30

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the plans!!! I had been wishin over the Learning Tower for a while, even tried to win one. And it was just too much out of our budget. So after I ran across your post, I figured it wouldn't hurt to send it to my dad (who happens to be a woods craftsman) to see if he'd do it. Well, when my parents came to visit last weekend, he surprised us all with one! I love how it can fold out of the way when needed and I might just make a puppet show curtain for it, too. He added anti-slip material on the platform and on the bottom of the feet. And he lowered one bar (on the front) so they wouldn't have to lean over it. The girls love it!

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee86/designz_scm/Random/DSC02762-tow…

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee86/designz_scm/Random/DSC02764-tow…

Holly (not verified)

Thu, 01/27/2011 - 15:14

I love your site Ana. I have been checking it out since I found it a couple months ago. When I saw this project marked as "beginner," I called my dad to see if I could use his tools to get started on this one as my VERY FIRST wood working project EVER.

I'm squeezing it in between a toddler and newborn baby and trips to my dad's house to make it....but I have to say, it's much harder than I thought it would be originally. Thank goodness my dad has a lot of experience in the construction industry and is able to help coach me on a lot of things I had no idea about.

I have only gotten the cuts done, but am starting on sanding. Thought I would mention it for other "beginners" they may want to sand the sharp edges on it.

jessica (not verified)

Mon, 01/31/2011 - 09:23

Ana,
you have no idea how excited I am that I was directed to your site. When I saw this I was IMing a friend, and by what I said and how I said it (all caps) she thought my water had broken. :)
I am completely oblivious when it comes to tools and building things, and I will honestly say I have not read through all of your comments to see if it's already been asked, but can you tell me what tools I will need to make this?

Thank you for your time, knowledge and passion. I'm so thrilled.

brad (not verified)

Sun, 02/20/2011 - 17:18

hi there, this was my first ever building project, as my wife wanted one for our little girl, so i bought all the gear (though in australia our wood sizes are different to what you suggested, plus i struggle with inches, i work much better in metric!) so i had to change the plan a bit, not my forte, as i am terrible at maths, and got started, got all the equipment for about $45, and took it all to work, as night shift is often a time for getting creative.
it is completely built now, just finishing painting it, and although without a vice or a lot of the proper tools, it isn't quite square, but i cut some bits longer to accomodate it. and i am soo happy with it, and so is my wife, i really impressed myself with this one. so thanks very much, please keep up the good work.
now to find another project.....

MeganS (not verified)

Sun, 01/20/2013 - 20:58

Hi Brad,

Are you able to share what size wood you used? I'm in Australia as well and I'm having trouble figuring out what size wood to use (I'm Canadian and didn't realise there was such a difference with wood sizes down here!).
I'd really appreciate any advice you have!
Thanks!

Holly (not verified)

Thu, 03/10/2011 - 20:09

Finished! Well, almost. I need another coat of paint, but couldn't wait to let the kids use it and take pics. My 2 year old is so in LOVE with it. He climbs all over it, plays with his toys in it, and even wants to watch TV in it. He helped me make pancakes and muffins in it so far. He's also sharing it with his 6 month old sister - amazing that he would share anything!

This project may be for a "beginner" who has a clue about woodworking, but since I did not have a single clue...I am very lucky my dad was able to mentor me through this. It was much harder than I would have been able to tackle on my own. He had all the tools, tricks, and knowledge that is not inherent in the plans.

My total cost was about $6 because my dad had all materials on hand and we used scrap wood from an old trellis. We slightly modified plans since our wood was .5 inch smaller and we doubled up on screws to make it extra secure (I'm so glad we did because my son climbs and swings from it like a monkey)

Seems like the blue green is popular - it's the paint my dad had lying around too!https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/7l1IILkyUZyhiizhP93rLWuAOYGWin4qC…https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/f14C-1Osr8r6JHX-Z8FucWuAOYGWin4qC…https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ZY2VMikXUMdLNENu3dXOk2uAOYGWin4qC…https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/WQ3wmQellQXS3cswpeU3JWuAOYGWin4qC…https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/lcl5hxYfDwDC0hrwCCCBlWuAOYGWin4qC…