Anybody else have a toddler who decides the best time to be needy is while you’re making dinner? I love my little guy so much but he can drive me to distraction with whining, hugging my legs and stretching his arms up to me to be held. Why you ask? Because he really needs to know what is happening on the kitchen counter, stove etc. I tend to forget that at 19 months old, pretty much everything is new and exciting including dinner. Enter the DIY Learning Tower.
Why don’t I just buy a learning tower? Just do an internet search and you’ll find they run around $80-$100. No bueno for something we will get probably 4-5 years use of max.
Instead I’m going to share step by step how my husband and I built our own learning tower with scrap wood we had already. So without further ado:
DIY Learning Tower
- Six 0.75″ x 7.25″ boards cut 36″ long
- Three 0.75″ x 7.25″ boards cut 18″ long
- Four 1″ x 3″ boards cut 18″ long
- Four 1″ x 3″ boards cut 14″ long
- Pack of 15 inch contractor shims to be cut as follows: four 13″ shims, two 2″ shims
- Wood glue
- Finishing nails
- 1 pack of 2.5″ screws
- 1 pack of 1.5″ screws
- Orbital sander, we love this one
- 220 grit sandpaper
- Paint of choice for body of learning tower, we used this one
- Chalkboard paint for sides of learning tower, we used this one
- Acrylic paint of choice for stenciling, we used this one
- Carpet squares
- Staple gun and staples
- Either cut all wood to size with circular saw or have your local hardware store make the cuts
- Sand all wood thoroughly with 220 grit sandpaper. Make sure to sand the edges of the wood to ensure they are not sharp.
- Attach two 18″ 1″ x 3″ boards to two 14″ 1″ x 3″ boards to form a square with two 2.5″ screws for each joint for the top of the tower.
- Repeat previous step with remaining 1″ x 3″ boards to form bottom of tower.
- Next you will attach the top and bottom squares of the tower with the 36″ 0.75″ x 7.25″ boards. Use two on each side, leaving the back of the tower open. The front of the tower will have a gap in the middle. If you don’t like this, cut another 36″ board to fit the space. We didn’t mind this so left a hole. Use wood glue and finishing nails to attach first. Then use several 2.5″ screws per side to secure.
- Next attach the 13″ shims to the inside sides of the tower with the 1.5″ screws. These will hold up the steps. Use wood glue and screws to attach. It is up to you as to how high you need your steps to be. Our first step was 10″ high, second 15″ and third 19″. Our son now uses the 19″ step, but once he’s older we can switch the top step to the 15″ height. Place the top two shims against the back wall of the tower. Put the bottom shims at the opposite edge.
- Place one 18″ board as the top step. Then screw in a 2″ shim on each side to hold this step in place.
- Place the remaining two 18″ boards on the bottom shims. They will serve as a large bottom step.
- Finally apply two coats of whatever paint you like to give a smooth finish that’s easy to clean.
Optional Instructions to Make it Pretty 😉 :
- Paint both sides with two coats of chalkboard paint. Allow to cure for at least 3 days before drawing on.
- Stencil whatever you like on the sides for interest. We did our little man’s name and butterflies because he is seriously into them right now.
- After everything has dried for 3 days, apply chalk all over the sides and then erase it. This prepares the chalkboard paint for use.
- Use staple gun to attach carpet squares to steps.
Hope you found this useful and please comment below with your tricks and tips to make DIY learning towers easier!
Like this project? Check out some of my other DIY baby projects: