How to build a Plywood or MDF Stepstool

A step stool always comes in handy. Sometimes you realize you need something to climb on to reach up a bit further, and you find that you do not have a small step stool at hand. Climbing up on a chair or something unstable is certainly not a good idea. Getting a ladder every time is very inconvenient, not only because it is bulky, but also because it may not be opened up properly if you need to use it in a restricted area.

So, why don’t you build a step stool yourself so as to find it at your disposal in such cases? Building a step stool is really quite easy, and you can do it using MDF or plywood. The construction is fairly simple, and the result will be a lightweight but robust step stool that will be useful in many cases. Let us discuss how to go about building it.

Various Thicknesses of MDF Sheets. Image credit: Woodland Manufacturing

Materials Required

You will need to get a plywood board or sheets of MDF. About a quarter of a full sized sheet should suffice for a step stool. Try to find a board that is relatively thick, as the thicker it is the sturdier it will be. Plywood is often found in a 12mm thickness, but in some stores you should also be able to find 18mm thick sheets or even 25mm. The latter is ideal as your stool will be stronger and it will not run the risk of warping or bending over time.

You will also need a box of self-tapping wood screws. A screwdriver is a must of course. A regular one will do the job, but an electric screwdriver is more convenient. You will also need a jigsaw or a circular saw.

Building the stool

Start off by cutting two L-shaped pieces from the MDF or plywood sheet. The length and the depth of these pieces should be of approximately 15 inches. The most important thing is that you stick to the same dimensions on both sides. To create an L-shape, remove exactly one square quarter of the side.

Afterwards, cut four batons. These should be of an equal length as they will need to connect both of the L-shaped pieces together. This will result in the frame of your stool. Each baton should be about 15 inches long and 2 inches deep.

Once you have cut the batons, position them in their respective places and start to attach them. A combination of wood glue and wood screws is recommended to attach them well. The screws should be inserted at either end, and go through the sides of the l-shaped pieces. This is the easiest way to go about it. However, for those who are more skilled at woodworking, there is also the option of making jig holes, also known as pocket holes in the batons as in this way they will hide the screw heads and you will achieve a neater result.

Now that the basic frame of the stool is assembled, you will need to tackle the top. Cut your stool’s top with the jigsaw or circular saw. It is highly recommended that you do not cut it precisely to fit the frame’s opening. Some overhang is important as apart from providing you with more room where to stand, it will also make the stool more robust. So, aim for a size that is about 18 inches long and 9 inches deep. Attach the top to the frame of the stool using screws that run right through the surface of the batons.

If you would like to include a carrying handle for your stool, by cutting it out on the top step of the stool. This will make your stool look even more professional and also allow you to move it around and store it away more easily.

Last but not least, you will need to cut the bottom sheet of the step stool. A piece measuring 16 inches by 18 inches should do the trick. Then trim the edges so as to allow this piece to slide easily and manage to fit it in snugly in the stool’s frame. It should overhang a bit at the front when you attach it. The thinner edge of this piece should slide into the back area of the stool’s lower step, and in this way you will be able to attach it with screws and some wood glue.

Finished MDF Step Stool. Image credit: Idano

And that is basically all you need to do to have a finished step stool. As you can see it is quite easy and it will not require neither skill nor expensive materials. This is probably one of the simplest DIY woodworking projects you can do, and yet there is no doubt that having a step stool at home or in your garage is really convenient, and quite often, indispensable!