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Kids Step Stool (with Yardstick Steps)

Make your own kids step stool

I do projects around here when there is a need. Or a want, wants are project-worthy too. In this particular case I needed Elijah (who’s in full potty training mode) to be able to turn on the bathroom light by himself. Enter – the need for a step stool. Or the want, cause I don’t want to stop what I’m doing every twenty minutes to turn the lights on for him. So perhaps the motives behind the step stool were actually selfish. Whatever, I’m okay with that.

I told Adam my selfish desire for a toddler stool and he asked me for some plans. I certainly wasn’t going to draw plans just so he could remind me how terrible I am at drawing them, so I went online and of course ended up on ana-white.com. If you haven’t heard of Ana White before, she is a pretty girl from Alaska who just so happens to build awesome stuff and then posts the plans online for free. FOR FREE people. They are seriously great and way better than I could do, so to get the plans for building your own step stool go HERE. This is the childrens stool that Ana built..

Anna White Stepstool

 It’s perfect and exactly what I had in mind…except for the pink girlyness, of course.

So Adam got to work and followed her plans exactly. Well, except that he took off the little scrolly dohickys at the bottom, cause were just not scrolly dohicky kinda people. Plus, this was easier.

Building childrens stepstools following Anna White's plans

Then I painted the bottoms and stained the tops, which I would suggest you do before you assemble them. I wish my foresight was as keen as my hindsight.

Anna White Stepstools

Next came the fun part…adding yardsticks. I had mentioned back in my yardstick framed kid art that I had a pile of yard sale yardsticks I was saving for a project. (How many times can I say “yard” in one sentence?? ) This is that project. That’s right, I have meant to do this little project for over six months. It happens.

We cut the yardsticks down and attached them with some wood glue. I weighted them down (dishes and scuba weights, anyone?) and left them alone for the better part of a day.

yardstick application

I hadn’t planned to do anything else to them, but the yardsticks were bothering me…they were just laying there, looking weird. They looked like an afterthought.

yardsticks look like an afterthought

So I whipped out my two favorite furniture related products, stain and polycrylic.

Favorite Minwax products

By the way, I have found my favorite stain color, it’s called “provincial” and it’s by Minwax, of course. I have always used either Dark Walnut (which is a little too black/dark) or English Chestnut (slightly too red), but this one takes the cake. Just FYI, in case you’ve been staying awake at night wondering what my favorite color of stain is.

Anyway, I stained the yardsticks and then dirty cowboyed the whole thing. (Wondering what the heck that means? GO HERE)

Here they are all finished!  The dark blue one is for me and the lighter one is for a friend.

Also, I love them.

toddler stools with yardstick steps

Kids step stool with yardstick steps

The yard sale I bought all the yardsticks at had hundreds of them…I only bought about ten. Only ten! I’m kicking myself now, I wish I would have bought them all so I could cover a dresser or something. Or a wall. Oh man, a wall would be awesome.

The Dirty Cowboy treatment on a step stool

DIY kids stool w/ yardstick steps

I’m not quite finished though, first I have to tell y’all a funny story.

When Adam was nearly finished building these I instagrammed this picture of him a caption that said something like “I wonder if these will make life easier or harder?

Building a kids stepstool

Well, I got my answer not five minutes later. So Adam finished assembling them and I took one inside, put it in the bathroom, and showed Elijah how he could turn on the light all by himself now. Then I headed back out to the porch to help Adam clean up. I was outside for maybe three minutes, and when I went back inside this is what I found: Elijah had moved the step stool and used it to climb on top of the bathroom vanity. Then he had opened a full bottle of hand soap, dumped it all out, stripped himself completely naked, and was in the process of slathering soap all over his body when I came back in.

As soon as I saw him I had to go into another room and laugh for a while, cause you know it’s hilarious but you don’t want your kid to know you think so. Then we had a little chat I threw him in the tub. I have to admit, he smelled fantastic.

So in answer to my question….harder. Step stools make life harder (at least for a little while).

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  1. This has to be one of my favorites Ashley. Those yardsticks make it so unique…move over IKEA!
    Wonder where the sale guy got all those yardsticks from…probably years of collecting. They really scarce around here now. I know at one time they gave them out as advertising.

  2. LMAO! I can totally see my Logan doing the same thing with the naked and the soap. Hilarious!!!

    As for the step stools, they are awesome, and the stain/dirty cowboy really makes them.

  3. These look amazing! I agree that a wall of yardsticks would be amazing :) It would be perfect in a craft room! Now I am going to keep my eye out for yard sticks wherever I go.

  4. These are adorable. ADORABLE! But what this post has convinced me of is that I really need an Adam to help me with projects. My husband would likely end up losing all of his fingers if he tried to do this.

  5. Just wait until he figures out he can move the dining chairs and reach the kitchen sink. All 3 of my boys have tried to “help” me do dishes…I now have only two patterned plates left! LOL

    Think I might need to make one of these for the boys’ bathroom. Might help with the spitty toothpaste on the edge of the sink & counter…

  6. your step stools are sooo cute. we made some for our kids a few years ago, and painted their names on the top. one thing my hubs thought about when making ours, though, is that we actually have an extra part of the stool that sticks out the front and fits under the cabinet edge. it keeps the stool from tipping over when the little ones are standing on it. i love the look of the yardsticks on your stools, though! so creative! and of course, everything looks better when it’s been given the ol’ dirty cowboy treatment. :)

  7. First – the step stools are KILLER KUTE!!! Totally agree with the staining and such! they look amazing!! Bravo!!

    Second – bahahahahaha!!! I couldn’t have run out of that bathroom fast enough to get a quiet corner to bust up in! Ah, those little moment make motherhood completely worth the late night vomitfests and milk spills in the back seat! :)

    1. Haha, I wouldn’t say COMPLETELY worth it…
      But seriously, kids are hilarious. It’s almost like he’s been planning that soap thing for weeks, it was so quickly and flawlessly executed!

  8. the stools are adorable, much nicer than the store bought one I have. As for children, just wait he will learn soon enough how much more he can get into with that stool, loved the story as it brought back lots of memories from when mine were little.

  9. yep I KNOW the step stools will be hauled out of the bathroom and you will find in the Kitchen and he will be getting what he wants and you don’t alas I found this out via My Britton and Then he taught his sister Alexandria…grandkids….love them

  10. Ha ha! Beautiful step stool. Ours is one of those small plastic ones. Not only is it ugly, but it is easy for my kids to drag around the house to get into all sorts of things. Hopefully this one and all the trouble stays in the bathroom!

  11. You are quickly becoming my fav. I tell folks about you all the time. very cute, very clever. And great job to both of you!

  12. I just spent the while day reading your blog and I love it! You’re so fun and talented! And your boys are delightful. :)
    I enjoyed seeing how you’re turning your house into a great place.

  13. That is hilarious!! I can totally relate! Love the yardsticks as a finishing touch:)

  14. This is so great! I love this! I’ve been needing something like this! Thanks for sharing! I’m visiting from Craft-O-Maniac!

  15. I love this project. I already have a very similar wood stool that’s a very ugly shade of green with tomato red flowers on it – ugh! I got it at a garage sale for my little students (piano) to put their feet on. Now I have this amazing idea on how to make it awesome! Thanks, Ashley :)

    1. We used a table saw, a jigsaw, an orbital sander, and a screwdriver, but I bet you could get away with less. Use what you have!

  16. nicely done!
    you only bought 10 yardstick?
    i have a stack of them, but it’s taken me years to collect.
    i have a project in mind, but i need about 30 – 40 more.

  17. I’ve been trying to hoard enough yard sticks to make all the projects I want to with them and now you’ve just added one more to the list. Such an adorable idea! Also, love the funny story about the little one. They’re geniuses at creating more work for us, aren’t they?

  18. This looks great! You may regret giving them a stool, I though it was so great, but now they can reach the toothpaste a and soap (we brush and wash up about 1000 times a day) ;) Love the rulers!

  19. This is AWESOME! I was reading how you wish you got more to do more projects, I think a coffee table would be AMAZING too! Planning to try this one. :)

  20. These stools are adorable and I’m going to have to check out the provincial stain. I just picked up some vintage yardsticks over the weekend and am excited to work them into a project :)

  21. Thanks for the idea. My wife and I just finished doing this project and it turned out great. We are making a second stool and using old scrabble wood tiles for the steps.

    1. Love the idea of scrabble tiles! I have thought about doing that on a floor or wall but have no idea where I would get all the pieces.

  22. Thank you for the wonderful idea! My stool looks amazing but I have one problem. The stain on the yardsticks is still tacky days later. Help!

    1. The yardsticks probably had some sort of sealer on them that is keeping the stain from soaking in and drying fully. This happens to me all the time…just use a spray polyurethane/polycrylc right over the tacky stain and it will be fine, promise!

  23. These look amazing! I agree that a wall of yardsticks would be amazing :) It would be perfect in a craft room! Now I am going to keep my eye out for yard sticks wherever I go.

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