DIY Child's Stool

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  • Download a PDF of this DIY guide.
  • Children have their own special world. And having the right furniture is part of that world. We have designed an easy-to-assemble child's stool that you can paint in a selection of bright colours. Why not make it even more fun and paint the stool together with your children?

    The following assembly instructions apply to 19-mm-thick medium-density fibreboard (MDF). You must adapt the list of materials accordingly if you opt for other materials or thicknesses. If possible, ask your DIY store or carpenter to cut the required boards to size.

    To ensure stability, the stool itself consists of two superimposed parts: first, a table-shaped substructure made of a base panel and screw strips and second, the externally visible structure with leg angle pieces and a seat base. The face panel is purely a design feature and can be shaped as you choose.


    1. Fasten the leg angle pieces together

    Using the drill and 4-mm wood drill bit, predrill the wide leg boards so you can fasten them to the narrow leg boards with screws. Countersink the holes on the outside with the dimensions of the screw head. You can fill in the screw heads with putty or wood putty later so they will be invisible once the surface has been treated. Now, using flat head screws (3.5 x 40 mm) screw together one wide and one narrow leg board to form an angle piece.

    Tip for screwing together two pieces of wood

    In the piece where you want to insert the screws first, always predrill a hole that is 0.5 to 1 mm larger than the screw diameter; the hole should be countersunk for the screw head. In the piece that you are going to drill second, predrill a hole that is always 1 mm smaller than the screw diameter.

    2. Predrill the screw strips

    The four screw strips are fastened in the leg angle pieces from the rear together with the wide leg boards and the narrow leg boards. For this purpose, predrill each of the screw strips on two sides using the drill and 5-mm wood drill bit. Ensure that you drill the holes so they are staggered diagonally and never at the same height, to prevent the screws from hitting each other in the strips.

    3. Join the base panel and screw strips together

    Lay the base panel on trestles and align the screw strips on top around the edges. Using a pencil, mark the insides of the screw strips on the base panel, thus indicating the square areas where the screw strips will be located under the base panel. Determine the centre points by drawing diagonal lines to connect the corners.
    Using a drill and 4-mm wood drill bit, predrill the base panel through the centre points and countersink the holes to prevent the screw heads from protruding on the surface later. Now realign the screw strips along the corners and screw them to the base panel with flat head screws (3.5 x 40 mm).

    4. Join the leg angle pieces and base panel together

    Lay the substructure comprising the base panel and screw strips onto your work surface so that the strips face upwards. Place the leg angle pieces completed in step 1 against the screw strips. Now use the cordless screwdriver and flat head screws (4 x 50 mm) to fasten the leg angle pieces through the predrilled holes with the screw strips. You will need to release the screw strips from the base panel again to reach the two screws on the inside of the screw strips as the space is too tight to access with the cordless screwdriver.

    5. Mount the seat base with screws

    Using the drill and 4-mm wood drill bit, make four holes in the base panel and countersink these from below. Place the seat base on a smooth surface and align the pedestal frame so that it is flush with the edges. Then fasten together the seat base and frame using the cordless screwdriver and flat head screws (3.5 x 40 mm). The stool itself is now complete.

    Cut out the motif from the face panel

    The face panel fitted to one of the narrow sides of the stool is what makes it unique. See the PDF document (Download) for the decoration templates, but don't let them restrict your own creative streak!

    Using clamp clips, secure the face plate with the traced motif onto your work surface. Always use pieces of scrap wood as buffer blocks to prevent leaving pressure marks on the workpiece. Now cut out the motif with the jigsaw and curved saw blade.

    6. Join the motif/face panel to the stool

    Using the drill and 4-mm wood drill bit, drill two holes through the narrow side of the legs. Countersink the holes from behind. Secure the panel with clamp clips at the required height or according to the measurements in our illustration. Finally, use the cordless screwdriver and flat head screws (4 x 90 mm) to fasten the panel from behind through the legs.

    7. Prepare surfaces

    Take time to prepare the surfaces so they are in the best working condition possible before starting assembly. This is particularly important for the paint system based on two components that is described here.

    First, fill all screw holes in the MDF surfaces using putty or wood putty. Once the putty is dry (check the manufacturer's instructions), sand the area smooth using sanding paper with a grit of 120.

    First chamfer all MDF edges with sanding paper with a grit of 180 at a 45° angle to create a small bevel. Use a sander and sanding paper (grit of 180) to work the MDF surfaces.

    8. Surface treatment

    First read the manufacturer's safety and handling instructions thoroughly. Make sure the room you are working in is well ventilated and not used for smoking, eating or drinking.
    Apply the priming filler with the roller or with a paint spraying system if necessary. Allow it to dry completely.

    You should change the paint tank if you want to apply another material with your fine spray system in the next step.

    MDF tips

    MDF surfaces are highly absorbent. For this reason, you may need to pay particular attention to the edges (i.e. apply several layers). You can skip the time-consuming task of sealing the absorbent surfaces by using MDF with a primer film. This MDF guarantees a perfect finish without fillers, at least on the surfaces.

    Finely sand the primed surfaces and edges; increase the grit of the sanding paper from 180 to 220 to 240.

    9. Paint the visible surfaces

    A wide range of paints is available, of various types and price categories. The main criteria in choosing a paint should be its workability, the technical equipment you have at home, and the surface quality and durability you require. Ask for advice at a specialist retail outlet. If you are not an experienced painter, we recommend that you practice beforehand on a sample piece.

    You will achieve the quickest and best result with acrylic paints. They are water-dilutable and are available at any DIY store in many different colours. It is particularly quick and easy to apply them using a fine spray system.

    Pour the paint into the paint tank and dilute it if necessary with water. Using a test board, adjust the spray jet at the nozzle and the paint flow at the setting wheel. The spray jet can be set to horizontal or vertical for surfaces and tapered for edges. Ideally, you should first paint the inner edges, then the outer edges and then finally the surfaces; working on these with even, parallel strokes.

    Remember: If you use spray paint and want to paint adjacent areas with different colours, you must attach templates to separate the colours cleanly from each other.

    For great DIY advice and power tools visit

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