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.
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!