We’ve been hard at working making our work area in the garage at our Birch House feel more like a workshop and less like a storage unit that also houses our tools — it’s slow going, but we’re making progress! Today’s video will show you how we built this simple but smart flip-over bar stool step ladder to work double duty as both a workbench seat and a step stool to help us easily reach the upper cabinets in the shop. Inspired by the popular Benjamin Franklin ladder chair that Scott built, we sat down to design our own version of the Hoosier step stool: a simple 2×4 bar stool that flips to become a step stool, no fancy hardware needed. Perfect for our workshop or for any other small space that needs double-duty furniture! Watch the video on our YouTube channel and let us know if you need one for your shop, too — or if you’d like us to design one with a bit more style to use in the kitchen and inside your home, too.
How to Build a $20 Flip-Over Bar Stool Step Ladder Using 2x4s
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This style of step ladder stool is sometimes called a Hoosier step stool, since it originated from the same small house necessity and design ideas as the Hoosier cabinet of the early 20th century. Our version is so simple and easy to build, and the best part is that we built it for $0 using 2×2 and 2×4 scraps from our other projects (like our 2×4 and More building series where we only used common dimensional and construction lumber). Even if you don’t have an extensive scrap pile like we do, it’s really affordable and simple to build in just a couple of hours following our building plan.
So far in our workshop video series, we’ve cleaned up and organized the shop, organized our ever-growing collection of work clamps, added a mobile dust collection system, and — the crown jewel (so far!) — built this amazing (if I do say so myself) table saw workbench. We’re lucky enough to have some great cabinets already, and we’ve maximized the space by hanging them high, but even at above-average height, we needed a boost to reach the top shelves and make that storage space work more efficiently for us. This bar stool step ladder makes it even easier to get to work in the shop and get things DONE! And it fits just perfectly on the storage side of the workbench.
What would you like to see us build in the workshop next?
Materials and Tools to Build a 2×4 Hoosier Step Stool or Bar Stool Step Ladder
To build one Hoosier-style step ladder stool that is 24″ tall and 17.5″ wide, download the free-for-subscribers printable building plan — click here or use the button below to add it to your cart from the Remodelaholic Shop.
From your scrap pile or the hardware store:
- 2 – 8-foot 2x4s
- 2 – 8-foot 2x2s
- appx 50 – 2.5 inch wood screws (I like to use construction screws like this with the star-shaped head)
Have extra 2x4s but no 2x2s? Cut them down like we did on the table saw — tutorial here in our favorite 2×4 tips and tricks.
And then on the workbench you’ll want our go-to basic building tools:
- miter saw
- carpenter’s speed square
- larger framing L square
- woodworking clamps — they make every build easier and more precise!
- drill/impact driver
If you’ve done many previous building projects (like these) you can likely get some or all of these building materials from your scrap pile like we did! It’s a great feeling to build something for FREE and save both money on additional materials and time on a trip to the store. Even buying all the materials, you’ll only pay about $20 for the wood and the screws to assemble the step ladder bar stool — around $2 for each 2×2 and $3 for each 2×4, plus $10 or less for the screws (with many left over for future projects).
REMODELAHOLIC TIP: Since this build features multiple cuts at the same lengths, use a clamp and piece of scrap wood to set up a stop (like you can see in the video) to make the cuts fast and accurate.
We left ours raw and plain — not beautiful, but functional for the shop. If you want to class it up a little bit, you can spend a bit of extra time sanding and then stain (purchased or homemade) or colorwash the stool. A bit of woodburning pattern would look really cool as well!
Want to see a prettier, fancier version for your kitchen? Leave us a comment and if we have enough interest, we’ll post another version of this bar stool step ladder!
More double-duty space-saving furniture: