Crafts, DIY Gifts, Painting, Woodworking

Stool for a Toddler

    My soon-to-be-sister-in-law has the most wonderful little girl. She is extremely well behaved, and eats just about anything. Little Heidi never fails to put a smile on my face. Needless to say, she is very important to my fiancé and I.

    We wanted to do something awesome for her second birthday, but getting something for a two-year-old is a very difficult task. She already had an abundance of books and toys. We had given her a photo book of her first year for her first birthday, so I didn’t want to do something with pictures again. I tried to think of something that we could make that would be useful and personalized.

    The idea for the stool was inspired by a similar stool I was given when I was born. My aunt had made me a stool, and I loved it growing up. We toyed with the idea of actually constructing the stool ourselves from scratch, but after some research I realized it would be a difficult task to make a nice one, seeing as my woodworking tools were quite limited.

    When Heidi opened the stool on her birthday, she excitedly cried out “a little table!”. She loved it, and we are told that she uses it daily, to brush her teeth, help unload the dishwasher, and to just sit on. I am so proud of the fact that she uses it so often, we aced it at present giving that year!

    Check out the steps and pictures below if you are interested in making a stool for a little one in your life.

Step Zero: Gather Supplies

  • Small wooden stool
  • Paint (I used latex paint. You can usually pick some up for free at a paint recycling drop-off point)
  • Primer
  • Finish

    The most important thing is obviously the stool. We looked around for one, and ended up finding a decently priced little stool at Michaels, but check out your local craft stores to see the selection. Or head over to a thrift store to find one to repurpose!

Step One: Prepare the Stool 

    If you are re-purposing an already painted stool, remove the finish and the paint. This can be done with coarse sand paper or an electric sander.

    No matter where your stool came from, sand it smoothly on all edges. This is especially important because little children are going to be using the stool, and you don’t want any rough edges to scratch them.

    When the stool has been sanded and wiped with a tact cloth (tip: if you don’t have one, a microfiber cloth works great!), paint the entire stool with a primer. I recommend two layers of primer (allowing to fully dry in between coats) for optimal protection of the wood.

Step Two: Design the Top

    Sit down while the primer is drying and make sample designs. Make a few and pick your favourite. My fiancé created our design in illustrator, which you can see below in case any of you are interested in altering it for your own stool!

Step Three: Transfer design to Stool

    Paint the top of the stool in your background colour. After the primer as fully dried, use a pencil to lightly draw your design on the stool.

    Use smaller paint brushes to paint your design onto the stool. Use painters tape to protect areas that you don’t want to get paint on. I covered the edges of the stool in painters tape when we were painting near it, so the edges would remain a pale blue.

    My fiance helped me with this part (he did the tree, and was so proud of it! Rightly so, as he did a great job.) Multiple layers are most likely needed. We painted over everything three times.

Step Four: Apply a Finish

When the paint has dried overnight apply a glossy finish to the stool. Leave this to also dry overnight and voila! Your stool is finished!

Wrap it up for that special toddler in your life, they are sure to love it both while they are young and when they are old enough to cherish the handmade gift.

Keep Crafting,

~ Mary

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