How to make a kitchen helper learning tower is an easy to follow woodworking tutorial that will reward you with lots of amazing memories with your children. This toddler tower is an easy build, quick, and lots of fun for your child to use. Here is the tutorial, and easy to follow plans, enjoy.
(Updated and Revised on October 2021)
Kitchen Helper Learning Tower Overview
I landed on this design after looking at several different versions of the project online. There were parts that I liked, and parts that I did not. After studying the original learning tower, a little drawing, and using the parts that I liked, this is the result.
Compare this kitchen helper stool to any other, and I am sure you will love my counter height design, easy building instructions, and simple finish.
My toddler tower measures 34.5 inches tall. This was just tall enough to bring it up to the bottom of the counters. I then added some felt feet on the bottom that adjust by turning, which makes leveling out the piece very easy.
The part that the child stands on measures 18 inches by 12 inches on the outside. This is plenty of room for an average sized child, and not so much room that the project looks too big.
One thing that I wanted to improve upon was the height adjustment. There are several methods, but some looked unsafe and other looked complicated.
My adjustment method allows for 5 different positions, and is a simple matter of screwing in four wood screws to make the adjustment to your helper tower. This makes it easy to adjust for older kids as well as very young kids.
This also lets you set the kitchen helper stool to the perfect height for spending time with your kids while you prepare meals, make crafts together, DIY learning, or just spending time together.
As always, watch your children no matter how big they are. Enjoy the step by step instructions and toddler tower plans below…
See Also: 14 Best Tips for Making a Kids Step Stool
Kitchen Helper Learning Tower – Making the Base
The base of the learning tower measures 18 inches square. The height is 5.5 inches. Use 3/4 inch thick lumber for all parts of the toddler tower.
The easiest way to make the base is to buy solid wood wood that is already 5.5 inches wide, and cut two pieces that are 18 inches long and two more that are 16.5 inches long.
Join the pieces so that the smaller sides are glued and nailed into the larger pieces, forming an 18 x 18 square. Use brad nails and glue for the attachment method, or you can use a Kreg Jig, or wood screws.
However you join the pieces, make sure that your project is secure, because it’s going to be holding up someone very important.
Make sure that the box is square, and allow it time to dry while you work on the next step.
If you have questions about some of the terms in the post, look them up in my Woodworking Glossary, and while you are there download the free PDF so you always have it when you need it.
Toddler Tower Shelf and Top Trim
Next, it’s time to make the trim around the top that will keep your toddler from falling out of the tower. At the same time, make the center step.
Using a piece of wood that is 3.5 inches wide, cut four pieces that are 18 inches long, and four more that are 10.5 inches long.
Just like in the first step, assemble the boxes so that they both measure 18 inches by 12 inches, and set them aside to dry. Make sure they are square, and that they sit flat on the floor or the bench.
A couple clamps can help with squaring, and the ground makes a good flat place to leave them while the glue dries. This is a great trick for keeping your woodworking projects flat, as the garage floor is typically pretty flat.
Kitchen Helper Legs and Adjustment Holes
Cut the toddler tower legs from a piece of wood that measures 3.5 inches wide. Four are needed, and they each measure 34.5 inches long.
If your counters are higher or lower, feel free to make an adjustment to the measurement.
Next, measure from the top of one leg (it doesn’t matter which end you measure from as long as you make it the top when you assemble the tower) and make some marks.
Next, mark the legs at 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24 inches from the top. Then, mark the center of the board on top of each mark, which will leave you a cross sign. Make a dent with a pointed object in the center of each cross to give your drill something to follow.
Drill through each hole based on the wood screws you are using. I used 1 inch screws with large flat heads. The drill is large enough to allow the threads to pass through without catching.
Then, countersink the heads about half way through the boards so there will be more bite when the middle shelf is installed.
The way the center shelf attaches is by screwing it in place with the wood screws, so you really don’t need to worry about the holes that much as long as you can pop a couple wood screws through. Drill the first leg by itself, and then use it as a template to drill the rest.
See Also: How to Make Handmade Lacing Toy Tutorial
Learning Tower Assembly
Now that the majority of the parts are made, it’s time to start assembly.
Attach the front legs first, flushing them up to the front of the box. Make sure they are square, and that the side of the legs that you designated as the top is on the top.
Pick the best looking sections of each board to face outwards on your project.
Then, use the top trim to guide you for attaching the back legs at the base. Slide the trim ring to the top, and attach it flush to the tops of the legs.
Play around with the frame so that the piece stands straight and square, and then let it dry if you used glue. A couple clamps can help the process.
Next, you can add a deck to the bottom box, and the middle step. The best way to do this is with a wide board, cut into 18 inch long pieces.
Cut as many as you need to cover the top of the opening, and then cut a smaller piece to fill in the remainder.
Use anything you have for this, because it does not matter how many pieces make the decking.
After covering the bottom of the toddler learning tower box, move on to the middle shelf. Do the same thing, and cover the top with flat pieces until it’s completely covered. This is the adjustable center step for the toddler tower.
See Also: 16 Awesome Reasons to Use Titebond Wood Glue
Adding the Second Step to the Tower
The second step attaches with wood screws, and has five levels. In reality you can have hundreds of fine adjustments because you can screw into the second step anywhere.
However, once you screw in the first time, you can use the same holes and move it to another level as needed.
Measure so that the ring around the top is high enough to safely hold your toddler without them tipping over the rail, and that’s where you should place your step.
Over time, as your toddler gets taller, move the shelf lower until they can stand on the bottom decking without a middle step at all.
Above all, be sure that you watch your child carefully, and adjust your kitchen step stool to hold them safely and securely as they grow.
Trimming and Final Touches
Now that the build is over, you need to child proof your learning tower. This is best done with a belt sander or a palm sander.
Since this is a kids woodworking project, make sure to go over it carefully. Break any sharp corners and edges with the sander. I like to heavily break the corners like the picture on the left.
This helps if someone falls on it.
Remove the second step and do the same thing to it. Go over the entire project several times, rounding corners, removing sharp edges, and sanding through burrs. Use your hand to carefully feel the tower, and if you find anything sharp, take the time to sand it out.
Once you are done, blow it off or wipe off the dust, and then you are ready for finishing
See Also: 17 Important Tips on How to Sand Wood
Finishing Your Learning Tower
You can use any kind of finish you desire for this project, but I recommend something food safe if your kids still chew on things. My tiny boss doesn’t really chew anymore, so I used furniture grade spray lacquer.
Separate the pieces and coat them with finish following the directions on the product you are using.
Leave the piece to fully cure before moving it into the home, which will reduce the amount of exposure to fumes.
Finally, on the bottom drill holes near the corners for adjusting feet. You can find these at hardware stores and they come with plastic or metal inserts with felt padded feet on bolts.
Each of them is adjustable up or down once you install it, so you can overcome a little wobble with an adjustment. Also, the felt pads make it easy to pull around the floor. This is great for when you have to move it around the kitchen or workshop.
Once you place the tower, simply adjust the felt feet to level out the toddler tower.
See Also: 10 Step Guide to Wood Finishing
How to Make a Kitchen Helper Learning Tower Wrap-Up
The learning tower is a great project for any new parent, and is guaranteed to help you create some amazing memories with your kids. Little kids love helping mom and dad in the kitchen and with projects.
This tower puts them right in the middle of the fun. It’s a similar idea to a reach up step stool, but with more features, which is really cool.
You can use this tower for lots of fun stuff like making cookies, decorating cupcakes, building a pinewood derby car, and more. Now you don’t have to worry about your little one falling off a chair, and you can enjoy working together on all sorts of projects.
If you have any questions on How to Make a Kids Kitchen Helper Learning Tower, feel free to email me and I will be glad to answer them. Happy building.
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