Gym Ball and Tablet Stand From an Old Stool

6 Materials
2 Days

This stand solves two of my biggest problems whilst exercising at home using live-streaming: how to coral a huge gym ball and how to get a tablet to stand at the correct angle so that the camera can see me on the floor.

April 2020 has seen some interesting new ways of doing things, one of them is home exercise. Since the gym is closed I am doing a couple of live streamed classes. The problem is that the trainer often has to watch me do things both on the floor and standing up. Normal tablet stands are designed to face upward so before a set of sit-ups there is always a mad scramble to adjust the tablet downwards. I also recently became the proud owner of the biggest exercise ball in the shop – because it was the only one left. It takes up a huge amount of space and is always mysteriously going on walkabout by itself.

The solution to my training issues came in the form of a very rickety stool with a broken a leg. I don’t know the first thing about woodwork but thought that even I could salvage this one and repurpose it.

Fix the crack

The break was in a very awkward place. I pulled the broken sections apart as far as I could, stuffed in some wood glue, pressed them back together and left it to dry overnight.

Get rid of unevenness and paint

Once dry, I used wood filler and scraped it over the uneven surface. It doesn’t really matter if you apply it too thickly because you can sand it down with sandpaper once dry and then wipe any dust down with a moist cloth.

After this my stool was back in one piece and was ready for a coat or two of Krylon Chalky Finish in Misty Grey. It also needed a coat of varnish, I used Krylon Colour Master Acrylic Crystal Clear in Satin but only after I had finished decorating it.

Add surface protection

Since this contraption was designed to stand on a table I thought I would add some non-scratch, non-slip protection. I cut a strip of plastic non-slip mat and stuck it to the seat (which would now be the base) of the stool with a glue gun.

Create stoppers with velcro strips

I needed a super flexible tablet stand that could face almost any direction so decided to split the two general angles at which it would stand. In turn, each of these had to be super adjustable without toppling over.

To do this I stuck a piece of velcro on the base of the stool and the other between the legs at a practical angle. The one between the legs is for the downward facing angle and serves as a stopper behind the tablet with the right hand leg supporting the front of the tablet and the left leg supporting the left hand back side of the tablet. So the tablet is braced between the two legs with an additional back stopper. Sounds very complicated but have a look at the final pics, it is quite logical.

The strip at the base is for the more commonly used upward facing angle and creates a stopper in front of the tablet. Both strips are male velcro parts and face upwards. Obviously I first tested to see exactly where these strips would be needed. The position may also be influenced by whether the tablet has a cover or not.

Make the fold-away for the base strip

I didn't like the way the base strip flapped around when not used, so I added some velcro on the reverse so that the strip could be folded back and tucked beneath the stand. I simply added small male and female pieces on the reverse of the velcro after checking that they would fit over each other when the strip was folded back.

Create a stopper

I sprayed to Jenga blocks with Krylon Chalky Finish in Anvil Grey (to balance out the black velcro) and then stuck the two parts in an L-shape as pictured above.

I added a strip of female velcro in the length of the L.

The stopper is stuck to the velcro behind the tablet for an obtuse angle. Okay, in the picture above it is still leaning back a little but the leg is at the perfect angle to have the tablet lean forward.

When stuck to the velcro on the base it creates a standard tablet stand angle.

Decorate and seal (optional)

I added some embellishments with sharpies and washi-tape because I felt that the black had to be balanced out and that the stand was a little boring. I sprayed it with Krylon Cover Max to seal. Sealing is not optional because you will quickly get fingerprints on the chalk paint. Ideally one should do all this before adding the velcro though.

It's ready to use

Look at how well it works! The part where the home button is, is behind the right-hand leg but the camera on the left is unobscured. And I don't have to crawl on the floor to get my Zoom meeting going!

When using the normal stand position, the stopper can also be moved to adjust the angle. Once again, this means I am viewed from a slightly more flattering angle than from the floor upwards.

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4 of 10 comments
  • Leslie Leslie on May 15, 2020

    GREAT idea for workout tools!!! I think I would add another shelf and cut out half circles in the squares corners so that it will fit into the legs. You can then drill holes into the legs and then the corners and add wood screws to secure. Countersink the screws and add wooden "buttons to cover the heads of the screws. If you want to hide the screw heads just go over with some wood filler.

    • Thea Thea on May 15, 2020

      Great idea but a bit above my current woodworking skills🤗. The space in the middle would definitely work as added storage for more dumb bells.

  • Lori Lori on Jul 08, 2020

    VERY clever and so useful!

    • Thea Thea on Jul 08, 2020

      Thanks, yes it is. It's been a couple of weeks since I posted this and I use it about 6 times a week.