This Serena + Lily teak step stool has been a hot item in the Instagram world lately, but with a price tag of $128+ and a weight limit of only 150lbs, it was not something I was willing to drop the cash on, especially if it couldn’t be used by my whole family in our laundry room.
I recently completed a built-in shelving and cabinet project in our family room (post TBD), and had some wood left over that was already pretty much cut to the sizes needed to pull this off. I wasn’t really interested in doing skinny tapered legs like the S+L original, but I really loved the ‘Z’ style step so that is where the inspired look comes from.
So right off the top I had to sand the hell out of this wood. It has been sitting in the scrap pile for a couple of months now, which makes it free game for things like truck ramps, towers and targets. It was chipped and dented up pretty good so I hit it with a 60 grit first to knock down the bigger imperfections, then smoothed it over with 100 grit. I would have done something smoother, but that was the finest grit paper I had on hand.
Next I “measured” and the drilled pocket holes with my BFF Kreg Jig. I say “measured” because I honestly just eyeballed it. I made sure there were double pockets at each side and in the middle. I had my jig set to 5/8″ for 1″ screws to make sure I had a good fit without them popping through. This is NOT a paid endorsement whatsoever: GET A KREG JIG. PERIOD.
I then screwed the 3 boards together and used a bit of Gorilla wood glue to ensure my seams would stay lock tight. Now that I had my signature “Z” I was going for, I grabbed my scrap 2X2 and figured out how tall the stool could be based on how much wood I had left on hand. You could do this to whatever height you want, but in my case, that number ended up being 14 1/2”. As such, I trimmed my rear legs to 14″, my front legs to 4 3/4″, and the all important cross bars to 15 1/2″.
Let’s pause here.
Remember what I said above about the S+L stool only being able to hold up to 150lbs? Are any of you married to a 150lb man? (My apologies if you are and I’ve insulted you). But I am not. I am married to a quite large Hawaiian man who would make kindling out of the S+L pixi stool.
So, if you watched my step stool story on my Instagram account while I was building this, you might recall how I modified the design of this stool so I could still have that signature “Z” shape, but also have the integrity that was lacking from the S+L stool. I did that by simply moving the crossbars up to sit flush under the first riser vs. allowing the steps to float. Genius! Well, not really – but it did fix the weight limit problem. I also really love how linear the design of my stool looks too!
So as you can see, I didn’t photograph the pocket holes on the legs or the process for building them – but I feel like this is pretty straightforward; wood glue + screws. I built each side independently and then used wood filler for any seams, cracks or gaps and then painted each section separately before putting it all together.
For the color, I used paint that I had on hand. Our front door is SW Caviar and I had some SW Pure White on hand from a prior project. I wanted to emphasize the “Z” detail, so after I painted the steps, I went back to the sander to get a nice raw edge. I then coated everything with a coat of Minwax Polycrylic for good measure and durability.
Once everything was dry (I waited overnight for everything to cure), I attached the legs. I wanted to make sure the raw edge stood out a bit more so I inset the “Z” steps by 3/4″. I then used the same combo of wood glue and 1″ Kreg screws to attach the legs. And hurrah! Here she is: My perfectly, imperfect scrap wood step stool!
Supplies and cut list
- 1 1/2″ x 10″ board for the steps
- 1 2″ x 2″ x 8′ board for the supports
- Gorilla wood glue
- 1″ coarse Kreg pocket hole screws
- Kreg Jig Kit
- Screw gun
Cuts – these are what I used based on my on hand scraps. You can certainly modify the size though!
- 3 Steps cut at 9 1/4″W x 17″L
- 2 Cross support bars cut at 15 1/2″L
- 2 Rear support bars cut at 14″ L
- 2 Front support bars cut at 4 3/4″