Nana always wants to be next to me when there’s just two of us at home so I have her in the kitchen with me all the time. When she could stand properly I put her on a stool so that she could see what I am doing in the kitchen, being a curious toddler who’s eager to mimic adult she started to “ask” if she can be helping and I was happily letting her chip in, started from picking things from chopping board into bowl she now knows how to pick leaves from vegetables, squeeze the beans out of the edamame pod, add a pinch of salt to the soup and cut bean curd with her own knife (which is actually a plastic knife from McDonald breakfast set), while I love to have her help in the kitchen it’s obviously becoming very dangerous for her to stand on the stool with both hands off the counter top for all these tasks.
I started looking for stools that would allow her to stand securely and found the Little Helper learning tower and wow it cost me SGD400+!! Not that I am not sure I want to pay that much for a wooden frame, it’s also way too big for my galley kitchen, when I searched for alternatives I figured out I can actually make my own IKEA hack learning tower!
Sina laid down clearly all the dimensions and steps we need to do the hack, so hubby and I attempted making this on our own but we just failed miserably, as first time woodworker we didn’t manage to hand saw the wood in perfect 90° and hence assemble the perfect rectangular frame, I was so desperate and started searching for “woodworking” in Carousell and Jackie’s workshop popped up, I contacted him, made an appointment and headed down to his Triple Eyelid Workshop at Katong Point on a Sunday.
The workshop was newly opened for 2 weeks and it has all the power tools I saw on HGTV (o yeah did I say I am actually a big fan of HGTV?!) I showed Jackie the picture of the finished product and the top board of my IKEA BEKVÄM stool and he started designing the top frame for me. The only measurement I did was the distance between the top of the stool and the countertop, which is 35cm in my case. The learning tower would be using 8cm reclaimed wood through the design and yeah it adds additional meaning to my learning tower as it’s not just handmade but it’s actually an upcycled item!
Step 1, Cut down the wood to the size that we want using table saws, as I told Jackie I really want to get my hands dirty on this so he demos once on every machine and let me tried on the rest (with his guidance of coz….)
Step 2, Assembled the front side of the frame and attach that to the baseboard (the wood colour stool is out of stock so I got a black one instead, will spray the whole thing to black later). Mark the drill holes, drill through, apply wood glue, screw in, repeat the process for 14 times (8 for the front bars, 6 to attach to baseboard)
Step 3, Attached the other 2 corner boards (by repeating that mark-drill-glue-screw process many more times lol) with the sidebars in place to make sure that are aligned. The sidebars are actually glued (no screws) to the corner boards so clamps were used to hold the bars in proper place while we were waiting for the glue to dry, and it’s already looking like what I thought!!
Step 4, Finished the frame by installing the rod at the top, Jackie did this step for me as he said it’s a bit delicate, and I was happily passing this job to a professional lol
Step 5, Waited 15-20min for the glue to dry out and at the same time started sanding it down to remove all the grains and keep the corners round (the little one is going to hold on to it when climbing up and down so it’s good to make it as smooth as it could be), 2 hours of effort and tadah~~
Bought it home and place it on top of the rest of the BEKVÄM stool and it looks exactly what I want!! I am very happy with it even before painting!
Here are all the tools I learnt to use in 2 hours, I really love the feeling of getting my head down (and yes that’s why there weren’t loads of pictures of every step Jackie and I did together) on something that I longed for and learn something new. What a great way to spend a weekend and absolutely a big achievement to me, Thanks Jackie for making it happen!
The whole learning tower costs me 2 hours (I did that during Nana’s napping time lol) and around SGD$190 which includes the Ikea stool, spray paints, all the materials for the upper frame (provided by Jackie’s workshop), the workshop rental and Jackie’s coaching which I really think it’s totally worth it. Had Nana tried on it, it takes a few rounds of practices to master climbing up and down but toddler learns really fast so I am not worrying at all!
Hubby and I then spent another weekend spray painted the upper frame to black and coated it with lacquer to make sure it’s waterproof, and that’s it, we are ready for much more bonding time in the kitchen! Happy Parenting! XOXO.
If you happen to drop by and decided to make a learning tower for your little one, could you drop a message and let me know?! I am so desperate to know if there’re more handy parents like us!! Happy Parenting! XOXO