DIYdiy projects

diy project: woven wicker plate stools

by Kate Pruitt

I used to have a problem with collecting chairs, but I quickly had to shut it down. I was running out of space for them, and honestly, it was becoming a little like my stuffed animal collection when I was a kid, meaning that I anthropomorphized each one and felt guilty letting any of them go. I also avoided giving any one chair extra attention, lest the other ones felt slighted. It’s cuckoo, I know. I was finally able to identify my favorites (sorry chairs!) and give the rest away, but clearly it left a hole in my heart because now I’m repeating the pattern with alternative seating: stools, poufs, cubes. The collection is growing . . . at least they’re smaller?

Stepping back from the psychological implications of this furniture obsession, I will say that collecting stools is a lot of fun, and making them is even better. It’s awesome to have a little stool for holding a plant, resting a cup, adding a seat or just being pretty without taking up a lot of space. I find these wicker plates at almost every thrift store I visit; they are very inexpensive and have lovely texture and natural variation in color. I wanted to pair them with more solid materials to make them less flimsy, so I chose thick wood dowels for the legs. These little beauties took only a couple hours, and would make a great project for a beginning woodworker. My only problem is that these are too easy to make, and soon my chairs will feel outnumbered! And yes, I know my chairs can’t feel things. Enjoy! — Kate

Read the full how-to after the jump…


  • woven wicker trays or plates (ranging from 8″ to 12″ in diameter)
  • wood circles to fit inside your tray (you can find the larger versions of these at hardware stores and smaller versions at craft/hobby stores like Michael’s)
  • 1.5″ diameter dowels (for these stools, you need enough material to cut three 8″ lengths and three 12″ lengths)
  • wood glue
  • 1 1/2″ nails
  • hammer
  • saw (you need to make angled cuts, so I recommend a compound miter saw or a handsaw and miter box)
  • orbital sander (or belt sander)



1. Match up your wood circles with your trays: The circle should fit inside and fill most of the tray, but it doesn’t have to come to the very edge. When looking for trays/plates, try to find ones with edges — this will ensure that your wooden circle is hidden when the stool is upright.

2. Determine the length of the stool legs by holding your plate/tray upside down above the floor and eyeing how tall you’d like it to be. The heights of these two stools roughly match the diameter of the plate, so my 8″ plate has 8″ legs, and my larger plate (about 11″ in diameter) has 12″ legs. Cut your dowels to those lengths and use your sander to sand down one end of each of the three dowels.

3. Once all three dowels are sanded, cut the other end of the dowel at 15 degrees. A compound miter saw is the easiest way to do this, but you can also use a miter box that has angular slots.

4. Measure the circumference of your wooden disc and mark it in thirds. Measure the disc again and mark the center point of the disc, then draw lines from the third marks to the center point. Measure 2″ down those lines out from the center point, and make a mark. This ensures that all your legs are placed symmetrically.

5. Place a healthy dab of wood glue on the angled cut end of your dowels, and place them firmly down on the backside of the wood disc so that they angle outward from the center. You may need painter’s or masking tape to hold the legs in place while they set a bit.

6. After about 10 minutes, check your legs to see if they have set, and if they feel secure, flip the stool over and rest it on even ground. Position a nail over the center of the legs below, and hammer the nail through the disc into the legs to give them extra security. Repeat with the other legs, and let the glue set completely.

7. Spread a spiral of glue onto the inside of the wicker plate, and place it on the top of the stool, pressing it down onto the disc. Place the stool on even ground again and pile heavy, even pressure on top with books or binders. Let the glue set in this position, and remove the weight once the glue has set. Clean up any visible glue leaks or drips by scraping them off gently or wiping them with a damp cloth.

Done! Now you can find more wicker plates/trays (they are everywhere!!) and make yourself a little army of stools! They are great for plant risers, cupholders, footrests, and just for fun. Enjoy! :)

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