I recently built my son bookcases for his room. Since he’s 8, he can’t reach the top shelves. So I decided to add a step stool to his room. I wanted a pretty one, but everything I found was out of my price point (silly me, I don’t want to spend $500 on a stool for a kid’s room). Luckily I found an affordable option- the Grubban! It’s $23 and perfect for this IKEA step stool hack.
IKEA step stool hack- Grubban
Let’s start with the video tutorial so you get an overview on what I did. Then, I’ll dive in with more details below:
If the video doesn’t work here, you can watch it on YouTube here. It’d mean so much if you’d watch the video! I’m trying to get better at my video skills so I can grow my YouTube channel. If you have a few minutes to watch this and/or subscribe, I’d so appreciate it.
- Grubban Step Stool from IKEA
- Plaster of Paris
- Floral Wire
- Masking Tape
- Chalk Paint- Cotton
has ikea discontinued Bekvan step stools?
I’ll be using the Grubban step stool because IKEA has quit selling the Bekvan step stools. If you remember, those are the affordable wood stools with a flat top. They were used a lot for learning towers. Initially, that’s what I wanted to use. But it looks like IKEA stopped selling them in the US and Canada around November 2021.
The Bekvan step stool is available on Amazon here. Though it’s for $50 when they were originally sold for $16-$20.
I’ve read that IKEA stopped selling the Bekvan due to a quality issue. They were pulled off the shelves about 2 years ago and probably won’t be sold again as it could lead to safety problems.
There’s a more official statement on Facebook here from IKEA that they discontinued the Bekvam step stool to “make room for new items and styles.” They also state “we don’t have current plans to bring back the Bekvam.”
For those reasons, I choose to use their newer Grubban step stool.
For this project, I was inspired by the organic shaped of the metal on the stool. I thought I could transform it to look like a tree branch. The plan is to use paper mâché and plaster to give the stool a twiggy look. I’ll add some leaves too. This project is inspired by Stray Dog Designs Faux Bois Mirror.
step 1- make the components
Start by using painter’s tape to tape off the wood steps. I’ll be painting and plastering the metal parts of the step stool so it’s important to protect the wood.
Once that’s done, it’s time to begin making the components for the stool. For the leaves and flowers, I cut out the shapes out of card stock. I hand sketch out the shapes before using scissors to cut them out. For the twigs, I roll up pieces of newspaper and use masking tape to hold the shape.
Down the middle of the leaves, attach some floral wire. I initially did this with hot glue, but found that masking tape worked better.
Next, mix up some paper mâché. To make the paste, simply mix 1 parts flour with 2 parts water and a dash of salt (to prevent mold growth). I used 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup water, and some salt. Mix well with a whisk until the paste is the consistency of watery pancake batter.
Rip up pieces of newspaper. Then, dip a piece of newspaper into the paste. Push off any excess paste into the bowl with your hands before applying the newspaper to the leaves. Dip strips of newspaper with paste and cover all of the leaves so the card stock and masking tape is covered. Note, I made a total of 6 leaves.
For the flower, wad up a piece of newspaper. Then cover it in masking tape. Put wire around the ball. Then, use paper mâché to cover the ball.
Wrap the flower shape that was cut out from card stock around the ball and tape it on with masking tape. Then cover the flower with paper mâché. Note, I made a total of 6 flowers.
Next, let’s finish the twig components. I cut the rolled up pieces of newspaper into smaller pieces- I wanted a total of 12. Then I used paper mâché on them making sure one end is covered.
step 2- put the components on the stool
Because the components are still wet, I decided to attach them on the stool. Why? Because I could shape them on the stool and have them dry exactly how I want them to. For example, I can shape the leaves and petals to flare out and sit how I think they’ll look most natural.
To attach the flowers and leaves to the stool, I wire them on (with the wire I attached earlier) and then cover the wire with masking tape. For the twigs, because I didn’t add wire to those, I just tape those on with masking tape. That works great- even with them being damp from the paper mâché. Let them dry 2-3 hours.
Once the items are dry, use paper mâché to cover all the masking tape and metal on the legs of the stool. This will give the frame of the step stool some continuity and give it a more organic shape. Plus, the screws will get covered up which will help the aesthetic too.
When the paper mâché is complete, let it dry 2-3 hours. I put my fan on to help speed up the drying time.
step 3- plaster
And now, let’s plaster over the paper mâché. This is definitely an extra step, but because I’m just ok with paper mâché, I find it leaves me with rough edges that look really DIY (and not in a good way).The plaster also helps to give a more organic shape and bulk all of the flowers and leaves previously made.
To create the plaster, mix 2 parts Plaster of Paris with 1 part cold water. Mix it well.
Then use a paint brush to start brushing it over the legs of the stool, the flowers, twigs, and leaves. Note, the paint brush will start to harden up within 15-20 minutes. So work fast to apply as much plaster as quickly as possible! Wash the brush out when it starts to harden. It’ll get really hard really fast so it’s best to clean it out quickly.
Let the plaster dry for 3-4 hours.
Note, I wish I wouldn’t have plastered the flowers and leaves. It made them too bulky and rough. Looking back, I should’ve stuck with just the paper mâché.
step 4- paint
Finally, for the last step, paint the dried plaster. Note, I tried sanding before painting, but chunks of plaster came off so I quit sanding.
For painting, I used white chalk paint. I choose chalk paint because I wanted a bright white color while keeping the matte finish. I applied two coats of paint.
Last, I used a utility to score the tape on the edges so I could pull the tape and get a clean line. It worked great!
And here is how the Ikea step stool hack turned out! I love the faux bois look and how organic and interesting it looks.
Yes, this is going in a boy’s room. The need for this project came after building the bookshelves to the ceiling where my son can’t reach everything. He requested a stool and so the functionality is for him and the pretty touches are for me. I figure anything that comes in my house might as well be beautiful and useful. So might as well add an artistic touch!
If you’re wondering how fragile the stool is, it’s somewhat fragile. The flowers and leaves are wired, taped, covered with paper mâché, plastered and painted on. So yes, something could some off, but it’d have to be really pulled on. So I’m not too worried about it, but I’ll post an update if it’s an issue. Also, they’re out of the way when using the stool so that helps too.
Mostly I’m really happy that the stool matches the vision in my head. It’s curvy and interesting. It feels like a unique piece of art. I do wish I’d used less plaster- it’s a little too thick and bumpy on the flowers. But overall, I’m happy with the step stool
For this project, the most expensive item was the stool at $23 plus I paid $6 to ship it to my house (worth it since the closest IKEA is 84 miles away). I also bought Plaster of Paris for $11 and a roll of masking tape for $3. Everything else (newspaper, card stock), I had on hand. The grand total for this project- $43! Not too shabby.
Well, there you have it- another completed project for Don’s room! Please let me know if you have any questions on this IKEA step stool hack. Is this a project you’d try? Do you like it? If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments. And thank you for taking the time to read about this project.
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
If you love it, pin it!