Are you ready for a crazy adorable, super cute project today? I hope so! Last week I saw an image online that inspired me to make some sweet little stools for Charlie. They’re just her size, and just so darn cute. And again, the best part? They’re made from REAL wood! Scrap wood! The kind you have hanging around your garage so you can build these little suckers for free. But, if you don’t have wood just lounging around your home like I do, you can easily make two stools for less than $10 and 30 minutes. Including painting.
I didn’t include a pattern, because the charm is in the imperfections. The “template” for this project is so that you can customize it any way you like. I chose to make a bunny and a fox, but you could easily use those round ears for a dog, the pointed ones for a cat, maybe even get a little crazy and try out some antlers for a deer? Or rounder ones for a squirrel. Or bear. You get the picture. Change up the shape of the ears and get decorative with the paint and you’ve got an endless array of possibilities ahead of you!
As you can see, you’ll need to keep the ears large (each about 6.5″ tall and 3.5″ wide) to create a back rest of sorts. I don’t recommend allowing your children to lean back on them very far, however, because kids like to tip out of chairs. Or maybe that’s just mine?
Ready to see just how easy it is to make this amazing little chair? Read on!
- 2′ of 1×10 pine or scrap plywood (I used leftover PureBond plywood since it’s formaldehyde free)
- optional: 3′ of 1×2, or you can cut down your scrap 1×10 to size for the legs
- pocket hole jig and 1 1/4″ screws
Step 1 – Cut Pattern
I had a square of plywood leftover from my End Play Table project, so I used that for my template. The seat is an oblong shape, a little wider in the front. Mine is 11 1/4″ wide (the width of a 1×12) by 9″ deep. I drew one ear, 6.5″ tall and 3″ wide. I cut both shapes out with a jigsaw, then used the ear to trace another shape so they would be nearly identical. You can make templates if you like, but I like the charm in the irregularities.
Step 2 – Legs
My legs are 7″ long, cut 5 degrees off square on both ends, parallel (which means you don’t have to do any flipping, just cut your first angle, slide the leg down 7″, and cut your second). This gives the legs an outward splay so the stool is sturdier. My bunny stool (which was my prototype) has straight legs made from scrap 2×2′s, and they’re not as strong and sturdy as the angled, thinner legs. It’s still good, but the splay and thinner width is better. My pocket holes were able to be tighter on the 1×2 width. I only needed one hole per leg. Use a 1 1/4″ screw and glue to attach. You can get even fancier (and sturdier) and add a 5 degree bevel so the legs splay out to the sides as well as front and back, but I tend to get confused when I attach them and they don’t sit correctly.
Step 3 – Ears
Each ear has two pocket holes, attached with 1 1/4″ screws and glue. They are very sturdy. NOTE: Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT have your ears come to a point like this. They are very sharp. Round them off slightly so they are not pointed. I’ve already poked myself in the shin passing by, and Charlie poked her cheek picking up the chair. So do yourself a favor and blunt those tips!
Step 4 – Paint
This is the really fun part! For the bunny, I just used water with a bit of apple green RIT dye so the grain would show through. For the fox, I used a sample of Valspar paint I had on hand, Terra Cotta Red, also diluted with water. I like that it acts more as a stain than a paint. After it dried, I used Olympic No-VOC untinted semi-gloss white paint and applied one coat for the ears and fox face, as well as the bunny’s eyes and whiskers. I kept it to one coat so it’s a bit streaky, because again, I like the charm. Sometimes when I try to get too perfect it looks forced. Which is also why I didn’t add edge banding to the plywood. I decided to use black for the fox’s face and it was a great choice! This stool is so stinkin’ cute I want to make an adult sized one just for me!
So let’s talk size. The total height is 14″, with a seat height of 7.5″. Perfect for my two and a half year old. You can easily upsize it by adding leg height and increasing the seat width just a bit, as well as enlarging the ears. You can shrink it down the same way. It’s really a customizable piece with a lot of wiggle room. I tried really hard to get a photo of Charlie sitting in them, but she’s getting really possessive of things and didn’t like me moving “her” stools around! So the best I could do was snap one of her rearranging them.
And here’s a nice fuzzy Instagram of her carrying it around and sitting in it, for scale.
I’m really excited to make even more! We mailed off the Bunny chair for our Secret Santa kiddo exchange, and my little miss is already asking for a puppy chair to add to her lone fox. I’m hoping to make some for friends and family as I get scraps, because it seems I always have some scrap lumber lying around, begging to be turned into something useful. I hope these inspire some of you to make chairs for the munchkins in your lives this holiday season! If you do, please share some pictures! I’d love to see all the fun animals and creations.