The $5 bucket stool is durable, simple to make and aesthetically pleasing. It looks like something that could retail for $150 but you can make it for $5. What’s great about this project is that there is very little waste. The bucket serves a vessel for mixing the concrete and as the form for the stool. When the stool has cured it can be removed without damaging the bucket. A 48″ dowel cut into three 16-inch pieces provides legs without waste.
Quikrete 5000 Concrete Mix
Quikrete 5000 is my go to concrete mix for all sorts of DIY projects. It’s stronger and cures faster than standard mixes and has a nice grey color. Quikrete 5000 is available at Home Depot. The only thing challenging about working with Quikrete is the moving the 80lb bags it comes in.
1 ¼” Diameter Wooden Dowel 48″ long
A single 48” dowel is all you need to make three sturdy legs. 1” diameter and 1 ½” diameter dowels would also work just fin. If you have some old tool handles you can try that as well.
5 Gallon Bucket
I picked up a bucket in the paint aisle at home depot. Look for a bucket with a smooth bottom.
Copper Pipe Caps and Washers
Copper Pipe caps and washers can be used to even out the legs if you don’t get them to set evenly in the concrete. Simply put more washers in the caps that go on the shorter legs. Construction adhesive can be used to keep the pipe caps on the dowels.
Clean Tap Water
Always use clean water for mixing with concrete.
STEP 1: Cut the legs
Cut the 48” dowel into three pieces 16” long each.
STEP 2: Put 3 inches of concrete mix in the bucket
Make sure the bucket is clean and dry before opening up the concrete and scooping 3 inches of concrete mix into the bucket. Add some water and start mixing. Be careful not to over water the concrete or it will be weak and crumble. Thoroughly mix the concrete so that every grain of the mix is wet. The mix should be the consistency of cookie dough.
STEP 3: Shake out the bubbles
Mixed concrete has air bubbles trapped inside. Shake and tap the bucket to bring the bubbles to the surface.
STEP 4: Place the legs
Once the concrete has settled, place the legs in the bucket. Stick the legs about 1 ½” past the surface of the concrete and let them rest against the sides of the bucket.
STEP 5: Wait 20 hours then remove
Bend the sides of the bucket outwards a few times in each direction to loosen the concrete; then pull the stool out by the legs.
STEP 6: Sand the edges
The concrete has not yet fully hardened and is pretty easy to work with. 120 grit sand paper can be used to smooth the edges.
STEP 7: Dip dye the legs
I dip dyed the legs using white semi-gloss low VOC house paint and a cut-off plastic water bottle.
OPTIONAL STEP: Level out the legs with pipe caps
My stool came out even but if your legs don’t quite line up simply put more washers in the caps that go on the shorter legs. Construction adhesive can be used to keep the pipe caps on the dowels.