Simple Step Stool
- One 8-ft. 1×8 clear hardwood board (actual width is 7-1/4 in. and actual thickness is 3/4 in.). Oak is a good choice because it’s readily available at home centers.
- One 4-ft. 1×3 hardwood board (actual width is 2-1/2 in. and actual thickness is 3/4 in.).
Cut the 8-ft. board into:
- Two 22-in. riser boards
- Two 11-in. riser boards
- One 14-in. step board
- One 14-in. seat board
You’ll use 94 in. of the 96-in. board, so make practice cuts on a scrap board first to check the angle and length of cut. Don’t cut the 3-ft. 1×3 board until you’ve dry-assembled the step, seat and risers and measured for a perfect fit.
To create two risers, join the 11-in. boards to the 22-in. boards with No. 20 biscuits and glue. Let dry 30 minutes, then lay the step and seat across and mark for two No. 20 biscuits at each joint. Dry-assemble the step, seat and risers with biscuits, then cut and snugly fit the crosspieces. Mark the riser-to-crosspiece joint and cut slots for No. 0 biscuits. Glue and firmly clamp the step, seat and crosspieces to the risers. Check for square and let dry 30 minutes, then cut out the 4-1/2 in. diameter arc on the bottom of the risers to create the legs. Finish-sand and apply your favorite finish. This project is designed for use on hard-surface flooring only?not carpeting. We’ve got plans for lots of different simple stools, like this one that you make using your jigsaw.
Easy Knife Block
To build one, you only need a 3/4-in. x 8-in. x 4-ft. hardwood board and a 6-in. x 6-1/2-in. piece of 1/4-in. hardwood plywood to match.
Begin by cutting off a 10-in. length of the board and setting it aside. Rip the remaining 38-in. board to 6 in. wide and cut five evenly spaced saw kerfs 5/8 in. deep along one face. Crosscut the slotted board into four 9-in. pieces and glue them into a block, being careful not to slop glue into the saw kerfs (you can clean them out with a knife before the glue dries). Saw a 15-degree angle on one end and screw the plywood piece under the angled end of the block.
Cut the 6-1/2-in. x 3-in. lid from the leftover board, and slice the remaining piece into 1/4-in.-thick pieces for the sides and end of the box. Glue them around the plywood floor. Cut a rabbet on three sides of the lid so it fits snugly on the box and drill a 5/8-in. hole for a finger pull. Then just add a finish and you’ve got a beautiful, useful gift. If you don’t have time to make a gift this year, consider offering to do something for the person. You could offer to sharpen their knives! Here’s how.
Indoor Hopscotch Mat
Blustery days don’t have to be boring for kids if you make them this super-easy hopscotch mat. All you need is a 10-ft. utility runner with a nonskid back, duct tape, number stencils and spray paint. Home centers sell utility runners by the foot. Number stencils come in a variety of type styles and sizes at art supply and craft stores.
The toughest part is getting the 10 boxes measured evenly. Our 10-ft. runner is 3 ft. wide, so each box is 12 in. long and 18 in. wide. Cut and place the duct tape where you want it and press it down firmly (Photo 1). Then tape each number in the center of its box (Photo 2). Mask off the areas around the numbers when you spray the paint onto the stencils. Let it dry overnight. Use beanbags, Koosh balls (shown), stuffed animals or other soft toys instead of stones so you don’t scratch wood floors or other inside surfaces. When everyone’s done playing, roll up the mat and store it for next time. If you’re thinking that the kids in your life need a place to store toys more than more toys, check out this project. These bins hold toys, sports gear and much more!