How To Make An Easy DIY Wood Stool (Or A Base For An Upholstered Ottoman)

Today I’m going to show you an incredibly easy and fast project — how to make a wood stool. This stool that I made is actually going to be a base for a fully upholstered and skirted ottoman, so in my finished project, none of this wood base will show. But if you want to make a pretty wood stool, it would only take a few minor modifications.

Here’s how my assembled stool looks…

If you’re using the plywood as a finished top, you might want to skip the nails and just attach the top with wood glue and clamps until the glue is dry. Or you could plan ahead and put additional pocket holes in the top stretchers than can be used in this last step to screw the top stretchers to the bottom of the plywood.

The simplest way to turn that rough ottoman frame into a finished wood stool would be to add 1″ x 2″ lumber around the edges of the top plywood to cover the edges and give it a finished look, just as I did around the top and the lower shelf on my new console table.

But there are a number of other adaptations that could be made. Instead of square legs, you could use use turned legs with blocks where the stretcher pieces attach. You could make the legs taller and use these as bar stools. You could change the height, width and depth and turn it into a side table. The lower stretchers can be used to support pieces of lumber or another piece of plywood to create a lower shelf.

Really, the options are numerous. And once you learn the basic process of assembling this simple wood stool, you can make modifications to turn it into exactly what you need.

To create my little stool, these are the pieces I cut:

For the legs, I used four 1.5″ x 1.5″ pieces cut to 14.75″ in length. For the top stretchers, I used 1″ x 4″ lumber. The long sides are cut to 19 inches in length, and the short sides are cut to 14 inches in length. For the smaller lower stretchers, I used 1″ x 2″ lumber, cut to the same lengths as the top stretchers.

Next, I used my Kreg pocket hole jig (this is the one I have) to drill two pocket holes in the ends of each stretcher.

Then I placed wood glue on the end of one of the long stretcher pieces and placed it against the leg, making sure the pieces were flush on top and the back side (i.e., the side that is placed on the work surface). Using the Kreg right angle clamp to hold it together tightly, I screwed the pieces together. (The Kreg right angle clamp is an absolute must for projects like this. You can find it here.)

After attaching that long top stretcher to legs on either end, I repeated that process with the lower stretcher.

Here’s what that section looks like on the side that will be facing the outside of the stool (i.e., the finished side).

Next, I stood that long section up on end and attached the short stretchers in the same way.

After assembling the second long side, I attached it to the other side of the short end stretchers.

And finally, I turned that assembled three sides over and attached the short stretcher to the fourth side.

The Kreg pocket hole jig and Kreg right angle clamp make such quick work of this project. This project to this point took about an hour.

And finally, I cut a piece of 3/4″ plywood to fit the top, and attached it with wood glue and 1.5-inch 16-gauge nails.

Now my little stool is ready for foam, batting and fabric. But can you imagine the top plywood trimmed with 1″ x  2″ lumber, mitered on the corners, and then the whole thing stained or painted? It could be so nice!


The stool is now an upholstered ottoman! Here’s a peek at how it turned out…

how to make a striped skirted upholstered ottoman - 41

See the details of this upholstery project here…



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  1. That cement workspace is sooo tempting to you, isn’t it? LOL! I love that you’re backing to building furniture. Whatever happened with the chair you built to upholster?

  2. Since seeing your new furniture I have been trying to find some more clamps for my pocket hole set up. I don’t have that type of clamp. I made a plywood jig to keep the pieces at a 90 degree angle.
    What is that clamp called?
    Also how is it you don’t run into the screws you did first because it looks as if the screws would be hitting each other on the legs. Or maybe the screws are short?

  3. I love these “basic” tutorials! Now my mind is full of possibilities and I’m thinking about the spare turned legs I’ve got stored in the shed … And I LOVE reading about your furniture building – I want you to build ALL THE THINGS! xx

  4. You’re going to be sitting on it, right?

    For some reason I thought it would be a nice step stool! 🙂 :)I guess it’s all perspective when I’m 5’10 and you’re petite 🙂 🙂 😉

      1. 🙂 You’re probably correct 🙂

        I’ve been looking for new BAR stools so I guess that’s why I immediately thought step stool. She is so darn good, isn’t she?

  5. Wow Kristi, that was FAST! Did you use a pattern for the ottoman frame and console that you made or did you make it up in your head? I am so happy for you that you got the wood frame done so quickly you must feel very accomplished now. I did have to look up one word that you used however. “stretcher” i did not know what that was and looked it up on Wikipedia. “A stretcher is a horizontal support element of a table, chair or other item of furniture; this structure is normally made of exposed wood and ties vertical elements of the piece together. … This term is sometimes referred to as a stretcher beam.”
    Anyhoo, It looks like you are really making a lot of progress on projects lately which is really fun to follow online.

  6. thank you for a good tutorial on making a stool. I have a kreg jig and was wondering which clamp to buy. I am a true novice with construction!

  7. Oh I love this type of project! This definitely feels doable too. I’ve been wanting to replace my footstool and possibly make a few others for various places around the house. Mainly because these little stools are so handy.

    Thanks for sharing!