Vintage Step Stool

Submitted by Ana White on Thu, 02/03/2011 - 19:56
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A vintage look step stool featuring two steps and a decorative footer.

Before Christmas, I drew up this plan and meant to get to it by the Holidays.  But reality happens, and I just don't get as much done as I could hope.  So a printout of this plan got burried on my steel magnet wall for a month or two . . . until yesterday.

I'm working on a photo shoot for Fresh Home magazine (so excited that they have asked me to do another project for their fabulous magazine!  You can go here to get signed up to get your free issue.) and the shot just needed . . . something.  Something a tad vintage, a little not perfect, and a lot useful.

I wanted this stool to look well-used and far from perfect, thus the heavy distressing and uneven jigsaw cuts and exposed screws.  To get this finish, I simply painted one coat of flat honeysuckle pink paint (Premium Paint by Behr in Flat) with a brush and let dry overnight.  This is very important.  If you begin distressing too soon, the paint will come off in gooey chunks, as opposed to a-little-wear-over-alot-of-years looking.  Then just started sanding with a power sander and medium grit sandpaper, concentrating on the areas that would get natural wear.  If you wanted to stain the exposed wood, you would need to apply a clear coat before sanding.  The clear coat protects the non distressed areas from accepting the stain, with the exposed wood area accepting the stain.  You can go the other route - stain before paint, but you would need to add primer because it's difficult to put paint over stain.

Dimensions are shown above. I find this stool perfect to give Grace that extra boost to brush her own teeth, climb up on our Farmhouse Bed, or get in and out of the bath. You will be surprised at just how big this step stool ends up being.


Shopping List

1 – 1×12 @ 32″ (Sides)
1 – 1×2 @ 50″
1 – 1×8 @ 32″ (Treads)
2″ screws or 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws
wood glue, wood filler and finishing supplies

Cut List

2 – 1×12 @ 15 1/2″ (Sides – cut out in step 1)
4 – 1×2 @ 12 1/2″ (Supports)
2 – 1×8 @ 15″ (Treads)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set


Step 1


Use the measurements above to cut from the 1x12s sides as shown above. Use a jigsaw. Once you have on side cut out, use it as a pattern for the other side. Take note of which side of the line you should cut on and take your time cutting. Sand edges so the two pieces are the same.

Step 2

Bottom Supports

Attach the bottom supports with screws and glue. I used pocket hole screws, but you can also use 2″ wood screws and a good old countersink bit.

Step 3

Top Supports

Now attach the top supports in the same way as the bottom supports.

Step 4

Step 5

Finishing Instructions
Finish Used
Now for the fun part. I love painting and finishing smaller pieces. I encourage you to try a unlikely finish on your step stool. You can always add another coat of paint! Have a great weekend!
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aubri (not verified)

Fri, 02/04/2011 - 16:01

I am excited to make this, might need two or three for all my boys :) unfortunately not pink :I

Barbara (not verified)

Sat, 02/05/2011 - 08:43

This is adorable but it looks like the one you built has angled legs. Do you have the angles? I love the look.

guest (not verified)

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 18:24

Hi Barbara, I was thinking the same thing and thought they looked angled. Did you angle any of your cuts? If so do you mind sharing what angle you used?

Lorna (not verified)

Sun, 02/06/2011 - 11:57

Just finished this step stool and it turned out great! It feels very sturdy and is super cute. I wanted an easy project to test out my new Kreg jig (which, by the way, I LOVE). It took me about 2 hours and less than $20. Now I just need to decide on a color. This will be a great gift and cheap if you use scraps!

Amy (not verified)

Wed, 02/09/2011 - 17:45

Well I know next to nothing about finishing, so it's probably all wrong. But I stained it dark then painted it yellow. Oops paint FTW! Then sanded it. Everyone thinks it's really old, not a few days old!


Mon, 03/14/2011 - 04:32

I decided to tackle this step-stool as a first build as an OMG moment. When my husband’s almost 4 yr/old granddaughter was taken just a little too much time in the bathroom washing her hands, cuz' she is "big enuf' to do it by herself", she was standing on the toilet washing her hands. All I could picture was her slipping and busting her chin or head on the countertop or toilet. So, after a quick trip to town, I had all my wood. Out to the barn and started cutting, it took me all of 15 minutes to cut everything out and sanding, well that took a few days. I had to clean out the storage building in the hunt for my sander. Which amazingly sprouted wings and flew away. After another trip to town to purchase a new sander, I finally had it sanded. I asked my husband to use his new (Valentines present, purchased with motive) Kreg gig, to drill the holes for me. Now it was together, what to do for the finish?? After having it sit on my kitchen table for about a week (nope don't use table much) I decided to stain the little step stool. I had oak stain and black stain (both from previous projects), oak stain first ... ugh, hated it; try the black stain, not a good look. Paint? Why not?! First some white then a touch of red and lastly turquoise. OMG again, that looks like one Hot Mess!! Sand like crazy, O' O' that is starting to look like something. But what? Old barn wood. Turned out great!! Woo Hoo! Husband thinks I did it purpose, little does he know. I have tried to post a picture but unable, not because of site, but because my lack of know-how. Love the new site!! Love all that you do!!