Zirgo Corp

Free Plans for a
Kid's Bench / Step-Stool

  What child doesn't need a bench? This kid's bench is also a stepping stool for all ages. This web page has the dimensions, plans, and Do-It-Yourself instructions for you to cut the wood and build this step stool / kid's bench from scratch. Great as a bench for toddlers in nursery, kids in preschool, and children in kindergarten, and grade school. As the child grows they can continue to use it as a stepping stool their whole life.
You can use dowel joints for this project, they are easy and fun to make, and give you a sturdy, old-fashioned result.

Gather these Tools and materials together.
measuring tape
extension cord
skill saw, or table saw, or whatever
3/8" drill bit
coping saw
(1)   3/8" dowel (4' long)
(1)   1 by 10 (20" long)
(1)   2 by 4 (7' long)
    wood glue
You may want an extra
piece of each, just in case.

Cut out the pieces. Use 1 by 10 lumber for the seat, and 2 by 4's for the rest.
Cut List: Here are the sizes of wood to cut for the Kid's Bench / Step Stool.
Quantity Total Length Edge Length Width Thickness Part
(4) 13" 12½" 3½" 1½" Parallelogram Legs (10° angles)
(1) 20" 9¼" ¾" Seat
(1) 15" 3½" 1½" Cleat
    Top Width Bottom Width    
(2) 53/8" 11/8" 3" 1½" Trapezoid Spacers (10° angles)
Note: The angle measurement of 10° along with the length of the leg is important so that a portion of the foot remains directly below the top of the leg. This allows the force to go straight down from the seat to the floor. Too wide an angle would not support as much weight, and too narrow an angle would make it tippy. So use these measurements and it will be just right.

With a pencil mark lightly in the top of the seat where dowels will go. (one x in the middle, and evenly spaced from the middle along the center line mark an x every 41/8" That places the two x's near each end at a distance of 1¾" from each end. Now mark an x near each of the four corners at 1¾" from both edges of the corner.  

Just glue the cleat on edge in the middle of the bottom of the seat for now.
It should be perfectly centered 37/8" from each side, and 2½" from each end.
Continue on to step 5 while the glue dries.

Attach the Legs to the Spacers. You can make a dowel joint here. Apply glue to the entire side of the spacer and clamp it firmly to one leg. Then you can drill a 3/8" hole through the joint as shown, and glue and hammer a dowel through. Go ahead and do the same thing for the other end with one spacer, one leg, and one dowel. Now wait for the glue on those two joints to cure. When making the bench, you must make sure that all joints are solid. Trim off the end of the dowels with a coping saw. Repeat this step for the other two legs.

Turn the seat right side up, and drill one of the 3 x's over the cleat first. Drill through the seat down into the cleat, at least half way through the cleat. Check the depth with a thin dowel or stick, and cut a 3/8" dowel ½" shorter than that. Now when you glue and hammer the dowel into the hole, it will go flush with the surface of the seat, with no need to trim off the excess. (That only works when the hole is not at an angle.) That first dowel will hold the joint while you repeat the process with the other two x's

Tip the seat on end, and place some scrap wood under the cleat. Hold the end assembly (spacer and legs) in place at the end.
About 2½" from the top of the trapezoid spacer, drill a hole for a dowel through the spacer into the cleat. And glue and hammer a dowel there. Flip the Bench over and repeat at the other end.

Set the bench on its feet, and make sure the legs are lined up properly. Drill, glue, and hammer dowels at the 6 remaining x marks in the seat to hold the legs on.

Sand all the corners and edges to round them off.
And sand the flat surfaces smooth.

STEP 10. (optional)
Paint it.

STEP 11. (optional)
To turn it into a comfy foot rest: Upholster it with a piece of foam rubber on top and a piece of material over that folded down and tacked up under the edges.

This bench could be used for a lifetime, and passed down through generations. This wooden kid's bench / step stool will help children get into more things that they have trouble reaching. It helps develop muscle strength, coordination and balance.   It makes a thoughtful and useful birthday present, or Christmas gift. Before hand, ask the child their favorite color, then you can paint the bench / stepping stool the child's favorite color. You can pass along some of your woodworking skills by allowing a youngster to help you assemble it.


Links to other web sites with free Do-it-yourself children's step stool woodworking plans.
There are nice detailed plans for a Step Stool/Chair also known as a Flip Stool/Chair from Purdue University. It is the style for small children, the seat does not hinge, only the back folds forward and down to make a low step. On the Indiana 4-H Wood Science Project Details Level2 - Woodworking Plans page; On it, scroll down to page 8.
The article in the Popular Mechanics web site is for a Step Ladder/Chair. It is the style for older children or grown-ups, the seat hinges, the rear feet of the chair flip up to become the top of the step ladder. By clicking on this Free Step Stool Plans link.

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