|E checking out his new stool: How sturdy is this dowel? Can I sit on it??|
In the past few weeks, E has decided that he wants to be front and center whenever I'm doing something in the kitchen. In fact, he wants to be in the middle of it when I'm not doing anything at all. He'll walk over to the pantry, pull my apron off the hook, wait for me to put it on and then push the dining room chair to the counter so he can climb up and get into position (for what, I don't know). Then he looks at me expectantly like I've got a zillion fun things up my sleeve. Seriously, talk about pressure to perform. Side note: that's how he ended up with oatmeal cookies at 10 a.m. this week. In my defense, it was his half birthday (if I say it often enough, I think I can make it a thing).
Right so, the chair situation isn't exactly what I would call safe. I'm able to push the chair next to a corner of the counter, which means only one side is exposed, but sometimes he bumps the back of the chair and I swear he's going to take the whole thing down. A friend of mine (hey, Jody!) recently built her daughter a step stool with rails and I decided this would be perfect for E. Even better, it's easy to build and affordable to boot. Here's the original post from Mint in the Middle. My friend's stool looks just like that one, but she painted it different colors. Our stool ended up slightly different because we had some measurement issues.
Here's K enjoying her new stool.
We started with a $15 step stool from Ikea. We built the entire thing (1 1/2 times because I totally put something on backwards and had to start over), but left the top of the stool off.
Nate drilled holes on all four corners of the stool top.
Then drilled holes in the four main posts.
And attached them to the top of the stool.
Next, he added a plank across the top of the structure. This is the front of the tower that will face the counter.
He also added holes for our dowel.
Then added side planks.
And one more plank in front. At this point, we were going to add the side posts (same width as the four original posts), but our measurements were off. Instead, we added two more planks on the sides. Then Nate attached the top of the stool back to the Ikea stool structure.
Here's what the tower looks like all put together. I sanded everything and this photo shows the structure with the first coat of white paint.
Obviously, this was going to require more than one coat of paint. Because I have loads of spare time, right? So in total, I added two coats of white paint overall and a third layer on the steps. Next, I added painter's tape to make stripes on the steps. If it was exposed, I painted it blue. And then I painted it blue again. And this is where I ended up.
Here's the final product.
I'm so glad my friend posted this project on her Facebook page because E loves it. And it really gives me peace of mind every time I look away to grab the flour or crack the eggs. And trust me, if I can make one, so can you.
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**Safety Note** Please know that the toddler step stool has not been officially tested for safety standards. Please build and use at your own risk. You can also purchase them ready-made (and safety tested) online.