Make a 3-Legged Stool

Make a 3-legged stool with simple materials like concrete and wood scraps to achieve chic DIY seating.
By Christopher Stuart
June 2014
Add to My MSN

Make a 3-legged stool using a conventional builder's bucket to create a concrete seating surface.
Photo courtesy Laurence King Publishing

Content Tools

Celebrate simple, modern and functional designs with DIY Furniture 2 (Laurence King Publishing, 2014). In his latest book, Christopher Stuart offers thirty new designs by leading and up-and-coming designers. Both conceptual and contemporary projects include diagrams and easy to follow instructions. In the following excerpt from the “Seating” section, learn how to make a 3-legged stool.

Purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: DIY Furniture 2.

These 3-legged stools are simple pieces that are formed by using a conventional builder’s bucket as the mold for the seating surface. Wooden scrap pieces are clamped into the bucket. Concrete is then poured into the void. Within a few hours the hardened concrete bonds in the wooden legs and the stool is ready for use.

The idea for the stools was derived from using a reversed bucket as a seat as well as often finding leftover plaster and other hardened casting materials in the bottom of a builder’s bucket after a day in the workshop. The project suggests the use of informal molds for other products (lampshades, vessels, etc.) as quick and cheap alternatives to the laborious formal mold-making process.

Make a 3-Legged Stool

You will need:

Concrete mix
Three wooden planks (approximately 40 cm)

3 G clamps
2 builder’s buckets
Stanley knife
Brown packaging tape

1. Cut the wooden planks into three equally long parts. Approximately 16 inches is a conventional stool height.

2. Cut a little groove in each leg. This will ensure the leg is captured in the concrete.

3. Seal the end of the planks that will go into the concrete with brown packaging tape (this prevents the wood from absorbing the water, which might make it expand and crack the concrete).

4. Insert the three stool legs into an empty bucket. Clamp the legs with a spacer (approximately 1⁄2–1 inches thick) onto the wall of the bucket (shown in Fig. 1).

Make sure the legs do not touch the bottom of the bucket and the legs are equally spaced in the bucket. Optionally, you can reinforce the concrete by wrapping wire around the legs when already clamped into the bucket.

5. Take the second bucket and start mixing the concrete thoroughly. Once the concrete has been mixed (Fig. 2), start pouring it into the void of the prepared bucket (shown in Fig. 3) with the clamped wood legs, then shake the bucket for a few seconds to even out the liquid mix.

Tip: You can use premixed concrete from the DIY store, or if you prefer to mix your own concrete, use one part cement to one part sand then add water and mix to a consistency that is neither too dry nor too soupy. You can also add some wood glue to the mix to strengthen the mixture.

6. Wait for the concrete to cure. Depending on the concrete, this can take up to 24 hours.

7. Remove the stool from the mold. Cut away any visible brown tape from the underside of the concrete with a utility knife.

8. Take a seat and enjoy!

Want more simple designs from DIY Furniture 2? Check out DIY Clothes Rack for an easy and portable clothes storage system.

This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from DIY Furniture 2: A Step-by-Step Guide by Christopher Stuart and published by Laurence King Publishing, 2014. Purchase this book from our store: DIY Furniture 2.

Previous | 1 | 2 | Next

Post a comment below.


6/25/2014 6:26:41 PM
I can't know for sure how these hold up under pressure, such as if someone were to stand on the stool or set a little off center etc. It might be a good idea to add a bit of chicken wire to the mix as in the form of a few layers of chicken wire kind of mashed into shape in the bottom of the bucket before putting the legs in place. Then when you add the concrete at the end, as in the article, you would need to shake it a little more to insure the chicken wire was really well covered by the mix. The resulting platform will withstand a lot more stress. We used to make 500 to 2000 gallon water tanks in Central America using chicken wire and concrete. The walls were only about one inch thick. They worked very well and were super strong.

6/25/2014 9:30:22 AM
Another idea for the legs is galvanized pipe with caps on one end... OR... Schedule 40 PVC pipe. I would suggest 1.5 inch diameter minimum, also with caps on one end. Alternative molds to use instead of a bucket, could be a any metal ring that you may have laying around...Example: the rim from a semi truck tire...take a piece of plywood or plastic that's bigger than the rim, lay it down on the floor of your shop/garage/barn....there's your mold.... The ideas presented in this article are, in my opinion, fantastic! this article opens up a storm of ideas for me that I can do... If you do not want the look of "plain" concrete, paint it! or decorate it to your choosing; stencils, flowers,... the ideas that can be done with this are limited only by your imagination...

Subscribe Today!

Pay Now & Save 67% Off the Cover Price

(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here