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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Guest (not verified)

Thu, 01/19/2012 - 20:46

this is a great thing to build with youre dad because you get quality bonding time


Thu, 06/28/2012 - 07:45

I love the finish on this stool - it's very inspiring! If the weather in Chicago cools down in the next few weeks, I might be tempted to make one that looks just like this!

Pauly (not verified)

Mon, 10/01/2012 - 17:37

Ana, I looked at many step stools (this one will be for our dog to get on to the bed) and my wife and I both chose this design. My question to anyone who might have experience with this. In so far as looks and possibly safety is concerned, how would it look if the corners were rounded on this vintage stool?

Mike H (not verified)

Sun, 01/13/2013 - 17:49

Ana, when you are ready to cut out your sides from your 1 x 12 blanks, use some good double sided tape to adhere your two pieces together. When you cut, you'll get two exact sides. Keep them taped together and sand them. Pull apart when done. Cuts your time in half.


Thu, 08/01/2013 - 19:43

It appears that in the final photos the legs are splayed outward but in the plan it appears they are perpendicular. What gives and are there other plans for the stool with the splayed legs?


Thu, 08/01/2013 - 19:43

It appears that in the final photos the legs are splayed outward but in the plan it appears they are perpendicular. What gives and are there other plans for the stool with the splayed legs?


Sun, 06/01/2014 - 06:44

How can I make the stool with the legs at an angle like in the picture? I have cut everything out and it is ready to put together, but I'm stuck on what angle to make it. It makes the top come together too much. Any suggestions would be appreciated!!


Sun, 06/01/2014 - 23:14

there are plans for a stepstool with angled legs in ana's book (project 14) - albeit with a slightly different (inset) front step