DIY Toddler Step Stool With Guard Rail

7 Materials
4 Hours

Is your toddler beginning to master the art of using the toilet or trying to wash hands in a sink? A step stool becomes an essential tool for promoting independence. Kids love to learn new things and do everything by themselves. I created plans and built this DIY Toddler Step Stool with Guard Rail for my niece.

For more picture and detail, check out my website TheDIYPlan.

Step 1 – First Cut 36” Long Legs

First, start with cutting the longest pieces which are the legs. Take 1×4 and cut four legs to 36″ in length.

Step 2 – Drill Holes for Upper Step Adjustment

From the bottom of the leg, measure 10 5/8″ and mark the center of the middle hole. Then measure 3″ up and 3″ down for an additional two holes (see picture). These holes are for adjusting the height of the upper step. Clamp two of the legs together and drill the holes with  1 3/8″ Hole Saw Bit. Do this for both sets of legs.

Step 3 – Cut Boards for the Steps

Next, take 1×12 and cut three pieces to 14″ in length. Using a Table Saw the lower step will need to be ripped to 7 1/4″ in width and the front board to 5 1/2″ in width. The upper step will be left unripped at 11 1/4″ in width.

Step 4 – Cut Frame Boards for Lower Step

Now take 1×4 and cut two pieces to 17 3/4″ in length and one piece to 12 1/2″ in length. Then using a Table Saw rip those three pieces in half. So the width of the boards will come out to be around 1 3/4″. These boards are for supporting the lower step.

Step 5 – Sand all Boards for the Toddler Step Stool

Before assembling the step stool, use a random orbital sander to sand the boards. Then take a pair of 17 3/4 pieces and attach one 12 1/2″ piece, as shown on the picture, using Wood Glue and Nail Gun with 1 1/4″ Brad Nails.

Step 6 – Nail the Lower Step to the Frame

Next place the lower step (7 1/4″ wide board) on top of the 17 3/4″ pieces. Make sure that this lower step board overhangs by 3/4 of an inch. Apply Wood Glue and nail it from the top.

Step 7 – Attach the Front Board of the Toddler Step Stool

Repeat step 5. Take the second set of 17 3/4″ pieces and attach a 12 1/2″ piece. Then take the front board (5 1/2″ wide) and attach it to this frame with Wood Glue and Brad Nails. 

Step 8 – Assemble the Lower Step Frame

Now attach these two sections together with Wood Glue and Brad Nails.

Step 9 – Glue and Nail the Back Legs

Then attach the back legs to the step frame with Wood Glue and Brad Nails. Make sure the legs are flush with the frame in the back. 

Step 10 – Nail the Front Legs

Take the front legs and attach them with wood glue and brad nails. Place the front legs right after the lower step. Make sure that the distance between the legs is the same at the bottom and at the top. This will ensure that the legs are straight.  

Step 11 – Attach Pieces at the Top of the Legs

Similar to step 4, take 1×4 and cut one piece to 15 1/2″ in length and another piece to 12 3/4″. Then rip them in half to 1 3/4″ wide. Attach these pieces at the top of the legs. The back and side pieces will be attached with Wood Glue and nails. But the front piece will be attached only with screws. This way you could remove the front piece later if you need to. 

Step 12 – Use Wooden Dowel Rods for Upper Step Support

For the upper adjustable step supports, use a 1 1/4″ wooden dowel rods. Typically this dowel rod is used for hanging close in the closet. Cut two dowel rods to 15 1/2″ in length. 

Step 13 – Clamp Dowel Rods to the Step Board

Check to make sure the adjustable upper step board fits between the legs. You might want to trim off 1/8 of an inch so that you could easily slide it in and out. Place the step over the dowel rods and mark it where it needs to be attached. Then secure the dowel rods to the step board with a ridged pipe strap clamps and 3/4″ wood screws. To adjust the step, loosen the screws and slide the rods out and adjust to a different height. You’re done with this DIY Toddler Step Stool with Guard Rail.

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Javina Simpson
    on Apr 12, 2020

    Is the measurements for the height universal for toddlers & is it an option to add an additional folding step?

Join the conversation

2 of 13 comments
  • Crystal Carrescia Rizzo
    on Mar 30, 2020

    I want to try this.

  • Flipturn
    on Mar 31, 2020

    Neatly constructed, and very sturdy; should give many years of service.

    'Not like so many flimsy plastic items sold nowadays that crack and break easily.

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