stepping stool

We've needed another stepping stool around here for awhile but I dislike going out and buying what amounts to be an overpriced ugly piece of plastic.

So, I made my own sort of ugly, made from repurposed materials, and cheap, cheap, cheap.

I honestly started out with the idea of using a lovely, understated fabric as a covering of this eco-happy stepping stool made of various bits of junk, but inspiration, not to mention the proximity of Halloween, brought me to this monsterous creation.

To make your own monsterous stepping stool:

-1 orange box (or appropriate size box)
-a whole lot of paper recycling
-duct or packing tape
-non-slip surface (for the bottom)
-a waterproof covering (second hand shower curtain, outdoor table cloth, or, as I used, a Dad's Oatmeal cookie bag)
-unloved second hand sweater (the larger the better) or agreeable fabric
-an empty milk container (waxed paper kind), a touch of funtack, and a sharpie (or other waterproof, permanent marker)

Begin with placing your orange box someplace handy and stack all of your paper and cardboard recycling in it for a week or two, until it is stuffed full. When you think you are done, close the lid and push down on the top - there should be little to no give. If it still seems squishy, find somemore recycling... somewhere....

When full, wrap a bit of tape around the box to help it maintan intergrity.

The next step is to waterproof your step, seeing as it will most likely serve in the bathroom under splash happy children. Cut your waterproof covering to fit the box, cover, and secure with tape.

(The cookie holding portion of Dad's cookies works well as a notion organizer - the tray from this medium size bag has exactly wide enough slots to lay thread spools down length-wise. I am frightfully well organized now.)

I used the top of the box, the lid, on the bottom of my stool as it proved to be the weakest point. Try out which way of your box should be up. Once you know, tape down the non-slip surface on the bottom.

At this point you will notice that you have a functional, incredibly unattractive, stepping stool. This is the fun bit. Any fabric will do for a covering, so long as it is washable. I designed this so the covering could come off and I could even make additional covers to co-ordinate with different rooms if the stool finds a new home (well, that assumes that my house has a decor scheme, which it doesn't, but a girl can dream).

First up, you need the dimensions of your stool.

First measure three sides: the longer side, up over the top, and back down the other side to the ground. Add 2 inches (this will be the bottom hem). This is measurement A.

Then measure two sides: the shorter side across to the longer side. Add 1/2 inch (this is a seam allowance). This is measurement B.

From your fabric (or second hand sweater), cut a rectangle of measurement A by measurement B.

Fold your rectangle in half, wrong sides together, with the measurement B sides together. Use a 1/4" seam allowance to stitch closed the B sides, forming a bag.

Use a 1" hem to finish the open edge of the bag (or use your serger to finish the edge if you are using horrible fun fur - the third most horrible type of fabric to work with).

To finish the cover, slip it over the stool.

If you are wanting to make ears, like my monster cover, then put the bag on right side out. If you are wanting a less bizarre cover, put the cover on wrong side out.

At this point I noticed my cover was a bit slippery so I added some more non slip covering to the top and sides.

With the cover on with the desired side out, depending on the earred or non earred nature of the covering, use pins to define the shape of the box edges.

Pull the cover off the box and stitch where indicated by the pins.

If you've made yourself a pleasant, decorous stepping stool cover, this is where you end. Enjoy!

If you've gone the fun fur route, find your milk carton and cut off one of the sides to use for face bits. Throughly clean and dry your sheet of milk cartoon, then trace out some eyes, teeth and whatever else appeals to you on the printed side.

Use a tiny amount of fun tack to arrange and stick on the cut out face bits onto the cover.

Load a thick needle into your sewng machine (I used one intended for denim). Slowly stitch your face bits to the cover.

Use the sharpie to define the eyes.
It's alive! Alive!!

Place stool in bathroom under the sink. Top-load child onto box and commense hand washing :)
I thought maybe my kids would worry about about having a monsterous stepping stool looking hungarily at their wee piggies, but Smootch just thought it cute and Birdie Boy, upon first sighting, immediately ran to it, ripped it's furry cover off, and tried to drown it in the toliet. I don't know if that says more about the monster stepping stool or my kids and their approach to life. I choose to not think about it too hard :D

This is a free tutorial and I encourage you to use the information in any way you need to (check the disclaimer at the bottom of the page). If it works for you, please consider supporting my etsy shop by purchasing a Little Print Design pattern or toss a dollar or two in my paypal to show appreciation and to encourage me to offer up even more quality patterns and tutorials.

Thank you!
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  1. wow its just ace :)

  2. Now, that is just an AMAZING idea!

  3. love it!
    but i also love what you did with the man's work shirts - pants! wonder what the top looks like though?

  4. Holy crap, what an awesome idea!!! Never in a million years would I think to use recycling for a step stool...absolutely genius :)

  5. That is SO CREATIVE! I love how you used all the cardboard. Thanks so much for sharing this, I'll be linking.

  6. Great great idea, thanks for sharing

  7. Ingenious recycling idea! You are so clever! Thanks for the clear step-by-step tutorial too.

  8. Ack! This is SO cute!!

    I posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


  9. Thanks all!

    rileysmama, oh sleevy pants are the best. I'll get a tute together for them if you like.

  10. would love a sleevy pant tute! i've got a 50 cent goodwill shirt that i loved the fabric, but didn't come up with anything to do with yet. with the cold weather coming on, we need a few pants under our dresses. thanks!

  11. I love this, it's so creative, great job!

  12. Ahhh!!!! That is just about the cutest thing I've ever seen!

  13. A really great idea!
    I was actually searching for a ragdoll pattern (thought of making a doll for my niece as a christmas gift) and landed on your blog. I didn't find the doll pattern I wanted (but I found a great one here but now I got a great idea for christmas presents for my other niece (and nephew)! Now they're both going to get a stool to have in their rooms. I think I'll make them a little bit bigger though.
    Thanks for a great blog!


  14. So cute! what did you use for the nonslip surface?

  15. stewbert, I used that puffy shelf liner stuff - they also sell it as something to put under rugs. I'm sure it's available at every department store and I've also seen it at dollar stores (and farmers markets, for some reason).

  16. Great project! I just wanted to let you know that we featured this project on our Facebook page with over 14,000 fans. We’d love it if you’d use our Featured Blogger button, available at: Our audience loved the project and we look forward to sharing more from you. Please let us know if you have any questions or projects you’d love us to feature! Thanks!