Tutorial: Children’s Kitchen Helper Stand
I always wanted to have one of these kitchen helper stands which you can find e.g. here. My children LOVE to help in the kitchen … but I often don’t get anything done because I have to make sure they are not climbing and falling on and from things that could get them a little closer to the counter. However, I’m just a little too frugal to spend this amount of money on it. So we gave it a try and designed and built our own one…
Make a stable stand so that Mama’s helper can reach, and he/she won’t come tumbling down. Of course, never leave your child unattended. It takes an afternoon to build and finish.
Our general plan is to always overestimate how much wood we need for big projects (like the crib, dressers, kitchen table and benches). Then we always have some extra wood lying around for smaller projects. My husband then claims that small projects, like this one are free!
We typically buy “common” boards because you can find good ones and they cost a lot less.
This project has two parts; the tall stand and a sliding frame around the bottom. The stand should be about 6 inches shorter than your counter height. Our counter is 36” so all of the measurements below are for that. The frame is designed so that you can slide it under a standard cabinet footing, which means it won’t tip over unless your little one is particularly clever. If there is no cabinet footing, the frame slides back to provide extra back stability and reduce the chance of tipping over backwards. Of course, never leave your child unattended.
Materials and parts
- 1×12 8’
- 1×3 2’
- 1×4 8’
- 1×2 18”
- Four shelf bracket pegs
- 1 ¼ “ wood screws
- 2 Tie Rack pegs 3/8” x 2 3/8”
- Wood glue
- ¾” wood boring bit
- ¼” bit
- Safety glasses
From left to right . . . on the bench
- Miter Saw
- Yellow triangle; measuring tape; and square
- Belt Sander
- Lindseed Oil
- Wood Glue
- Jig Saw
On the wall
- Clamps (black and orange)
- Sides: 2 at 30”of 1×12
- Back: 1 at 24” of 1×12
- Front braces: 2 at 11 ¼” of 1×3
- Floor: 1 at 10 3/8 x 11 1/8
- This is actually a 10 3/8” length of 1×12. But a 1×12 is 11 ¼” wide. I trim 1/8” off so it will slide in and out easily
- Sides: 2 at 16” of 1×4
- Front: 1 at 13 ½” of 1×4
- Back: 1 at 15” of 1×4
- Spike: 1 at 13 ½ of 1×2
- Cut the sides and the back of the stand to length. The photo shows how to use a spare piece of lumber to guide the circular saw on a straight line.
- Cut the 1×3 braces to length.
- Sand all pieces.
- Here’s how to drill holes for the cabinet pegs.
- Lay the sides flat and side by side.
- From the bottom edge, use your square to mark holes at 12” and 16” from the bottom and 1 ½ in from the side edge.
- Before drilling, use the square to make sure all of your holes are in line.
- Recommendation: before drilling on the good wood, use a scrap piece of wood to make sure you’ve picked the right size of drill bit (see photo). Most pegs need a ¼” hole.
- If you have it, use a collar around the drill bit to make sure you don’t drill too deep; i.e., all the way through the 1×12.
- Drill 8 holes.
- Here’s how to cut the hole in the sides for the spike.
- A 1×2 is ¾” thick.
- We’ll want a rectangle that is 7/8” tall, so that the 1×2 fits closely, but slides easily.
- Clamp the two sides together. Clamp the insides facing each other. This helps to ensure that the two holes are located at exactly the same place.
- Mark two spots that are 2” from the bottom and 3” from the edge.
- Using the ¾” wood boring bit, drill two holes at the two spots.
- Using the jig saw, “connect” the two holes, making the guides for the spike.
- Cut the sides, back, and front of the bottom frame to length.
- Cut the spike to length.
- Sand all pieces.
- Assemble the stand first.
- The back and the front braces sit inside the side pieces.
- Make sure to keep the box square.
- We like using 1 ¼” wood screws, but you could use 4d finish nails if you want to hide the fasteners more.
- Attach the Tie Rack pegs. These will keep the platform from moving when children are standing on the platform.
- With the platform in place on the top position, drill a 7/16” hole through the side and well into the platform. The whole should be about ½” from the front edge.
- Repeat on the other side of the stand.
- Pull the platform out and with a permanent marker, write a “T” (for top) next to these holes.
- Move the platform to the bottom position with the new holes to the back of the stand.
- Drill the holes again, one on each side.
- Mark these with a “B”.
- Assemble the bottom frame.
- The front piece fits inside the side pieces.
- The back piece fits on the outside of the side pieces.
- Prior to assembling the spike to the bottom frame, finish all pieces.
- We like using boiled linseed oil. It keeps the finish bright and it’s not toxic; just in case you still have someone who chews on stuff.
- Putting the pieces together.
- Slide the spike into the slots of the stand.
- Slide the bottom frame over the spike and position it in the middle.
- Attach to sides.