Two Tone Step Stool DIY {guest post}

I asked the sweet genius from one of my favorite decorating blogs to do a guest post over here for us. Joy’s work has been featured on Apartment Therapy, Design Sponge, Curbly, and West Elm.


Hey Guys! It’s Joy from Beautiful Protest, and I’m so excited to share a really fun project I did recently.

It all started with an old step stool we inherited when we bought our house. It it was old and covered in worn-off stickers, but considering that it did its job and was free, I tried to not let it bother me, especially since my kids used it all the time. Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. TMI, I know, but our toilet decided to overflow on the stool. It was an awful mess, but I was delighted to finally have a reason to throw it out and upgrade. Silver linings, you guys—it’s all about perspective.

I looked around for some cute options, but I didn’t really find anything. Then I remembered a little vintage shelf I picked up at the thrift store a couple years ago—sorry it’s upside down, I didn’t think to take a picture until the legs were unscrewed.



Considering that I didn’t need a shelf that size, I stole the legs and started brainstorming for my new stool. Just a side note here—if you don’t have vintage legs, it would be super easy to make a stool with these ( 5″ Waddell legs that you can get from Lowe’s or Ace Hardware.

So, my first step was buying a 36” by 12” pine shelf from Lowes for $7. I had the guy cut it into four equal 9” pieces—you’ll only need two of them for one stool. My plan was to stack two of the pieces on top of each other, so it was very important to make sure they were exactly the same size.


Next, I clamped the pieces on top of each other and put 4 screws in the bottom to hold them together while sanding. Then I used my palm sander to get everything super smooth and to even out any size discrepancies between the two pieces. I also sanded the glossy finish off of the legs to prep them for priming.



I marked on the bottom board where the four legs should go and drilled their holes. My legs had a unique little screw-in apparatus that had to be hammered into the top of the bottom board, but the Waddell legs I linked to above have a bracket that can be easily screwed on the outside, so you can wait to mark the legs until the very last step.



After that, I unscrewed the two pieces of sanded wood. I kept the screws, though, because they would eventually go right back in their holes, once the staining and painting was done.



I wanted to get a color-blocked effect with white and wood, so I stained the top board with a mix of Minwax Special Walnut, Gunstock and Natural (sorry, no pics of this step) and painted the bottom board and legs with white semi-gloss paint. I gave the stained piece a few coats of polyurethane to make sure it would be well protected. I’ve had wonderful success with General Finishes Endurovar, but any type will work.


Once everything was dry, I screwed the legs into their brackets and then attached the stained board with the screws on the bottom. And that was basically it! The kids and I adore the stool. It’s the perfect height for them, and it takes up very little space in the kitchen and bathroom.




Thanks for asking me over to your corner of the web, Alyssa. It’s always fun to share projects and exchange ideas.