Toddler Step Stool

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About: I am a novice woodworker looking to improve his skills using social media manipulation

This step stool makes a great little step for toddlers with two levels attained simply by flipping it over. It also makes a handy little seat providing little ones somewhere to sit while learning things like tying shoelaces or just general resting. It's a very simple build having only four parts to it but it does require a router.

Required Tools:

  • Saw for ripping material to size
  • Router
  • Round-over Bit
  • Rabbet Bit
  • 20mm Forstner drill bit or 20mm Hole-saw

Optional Tools:

  • Bandsaw or Scroll Saw for cutting out handles (can be done with router)

Step 1: Dimensions

Thickness:

For this project I will be using 18mm plywood so everything is this thick.

Sides:

Length: 350mm

Width: 350mm

Back:

Length: 350mm

Width: 332mm

Step:

Length: 341mm

Width: 332mm

Step 2: Lefthand Side

Mark 30mm from the top and 40mm from the side.

Repeat for the other side.

Draw a line joining the two marks.

Mark 10mm either side of this line and repeat for the other side.

Draw a line joining the marks making three lines across the width of the board.

Repeat this process once again for the bottom of the board.

Drill the holes at the 30mm x 40mm mark using the Forstner or Hole-saw drill bits.

If using the router route out the material between the holes or if using a bandsaw or scroll saw place the blade into one of the holes then cut down the lines to remove this material.

From the bottom mark 250mm towards the top on the left then repeat on the right.

Draw a line connecting the two marks.

Place the bottom of the step on this line then draw a line marking the top of the step, this way you'll have the correct marks to route out of the side for the step. Ensure that you have the 341mm edge as this will recess into the back a little so you'll see an overlap with the next step.

Align the Back flush with the right edge and draw along the edge. This will ensure that you route out the correct amount for the back.

Now that you have everything marked out run the board through the router using the round-over bit including the handle holes. This will soften the edges for little hands. Set the round-over bit to 5mm cut below the ball bearing at the top of the bit.

Do this step BEFORE routing out the rabbets because the router will cut into the rabbets leaving weird cuts.

Now you can route out the rabbets starting with the right hand side then route out the step. Ensure that the depth of the rabbet is set to 9mm.

Step 3: Righthand Side

Repeat everything performed on the lefthand side only instead of having the rabbet on the right you need to cut it on the left.

Step 4: Back

The back only has a rabbet cut across the board for the step to go into otherwise the process is the same as for the two other sides.

However, when using the round over bit take note to not round over every side, only the top and bottom and even then don't round over the entire width of these edges on the inside. First fit everything together then draw a line where the sides meet and only route between these lines. The reason for this is that if you route the entire width you'll get really weird rounding over in the rabbet so you want the rabbet sides to be completely square. This isn't needed on the sides because it'll get cut off when you route out the rabbets anyway.

Step 5: Step

This is the simplest piece of all. It's basically the bit that joins everything up. It's up to you if you want to round over the front edge but take into consideration the rabbets like in the previous step, this way it looks a lot tidier, trust me. Don't round over any other side than the front edge because there's no need as they'll be hidden in the rabbet and they might not hold well as there'll be too much gap.

Step 6: Check Fit

This part is important. Always do a dry fit to ensure you've routed enough material to hold things tight but not too much that things fit too loosely. If you've cut too much off and it's not fitting tightly then you'll have to create some shims to take up the slack.

Step 7: Put It All Together.

Once you're happy with the dry fit then put it all together for the final fit. Put glue into the rabbets and the edges of the board and clamp everything together until dry.

You may want to nail it together as well or use screws but remember that in either case you'll be end screwing or nailing and doing so into plywood, so you may get splitting so just pay attention to that.

You could hold it together with pocket holes but note that this is designed to flip over so you're going to see those if you haven't plugged them.

Now it's simply a matter of painting or varnishing in order to protect the wood longer. It's entirely up to you.

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    9 Discussions

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    markgrogan

    6 weeks ago on Introduction

    Be very careful where you place such stools especially if you are living in a high-rise building. I have seen several scary videos of young children getting stuck at window ledges because they managed to climb out of windows upon stepping on stools placed near ungated windows.

    I reckon that it would make also a great booster seat - great for the kiddies who are growing up. And the toy companies that do these in acrylic or plastic charge an arm and a leg for them too! I think it's great that you're sharing the design for this so that more parents are able to get their hands on such a handy tool for their homes to help their kids with reaching higher places and things!

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    lowededwoodiejessyratfink

    Reply 3 months ago

    Stool is now completed and I've added a photo of Little Noob using it.

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    jessyratfinklowededwoodie

    Reply 3 months ago

    Awww, perfect! It turned out great. Also: bonus points that Little Noob is already wielding a hammer :D

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    lowededwoodiejessyratfink

    Reply 3 months ago

    I've just added the dry fit pictures which will show you what it looks like.

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    lowededwoodiejessyratfink

    Reply 3 months ago

    Not yet, funnily enough it's still being worked on.

    There's actually a couple of mistakes you'll see in this post. For example the router got away from me on the back which is why the round-over went the entire way along.

    Also on the side you'll notice that on the righthand side there is a weird extension to the hole on the handle. That was caused by a moment of inattention when using a little jig I had made to align the edge for cutting out on the drill press.

    The last issue is that in these photos the one I'm building has slightly longer handles which run into the rabbet at the back. This also was a moment of inattention when marking out.

    I'm hoping to have a glue up today so I'll post when that's all done. I'll probably paint it as well just to give it so more durability.

    Thank you. It's design came about after the previous one that I built for Little Noob caused a few issues as he got bigger. It was more rectangle in shape and we noticed that he would stand at the front of the step nearest to the bench which had the unfortunate result of tipping over the step and he fell.

    The square nature of this design should alleviate if not eliminate that issue. Also by making handles top and bottom he can carry it however he wants, he's not forced into one way that might be uncomfortable for him.