How to Make Wooden Stilts
Click here for a PDF version of these instructions.
Stand taller — without waiting for a bunch more birthdays to pass — with stilts. After an afternoon’s work, you’ll be able to walk around at least 12 inches taller than you are now. That’s a pretty fast growth spurt!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- Two pieces of soft wood, 1 1/2 inches by 1 1/2 inches by 55 inches long for the stilt poles. Choose pieces with straight grain and just a few small knots.
- Two pieces of hardwood, 1 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches by 5 1/2 inches long for the footrests. These should be knot-free.
- Four 1/4 inch by 4 1/2 inch carriage bolts, with flat washers and cap nuts. You’ll use these to fasten the footrests to the stilt poles.
- Coping saw
- Drill with a 1/4-inch spade bit
- 80- and 120-grit sandpaper
- Miscellany: a few 1-inch finishing nails, a hammer, a pencil, wire cutters, two clamps, wood glue and a spokeshave (small plane) will be useful if you can find one.
- Adult permission and/or supervision
WHAT YOU’LL DO
STEP 1: Place the stilt poles side-by-side on your workbench and mark a pencil line across one face of each pole, 12 inches from the bottom ends. This marks where the top of the footrests will go later. You could attach these higher up, for greater walking height, but use the 12-inch level for your first pair of stilts.
STEP 2: Take the footrests and mark a smooth curve on the bottom end of each one. Use your coping saw to round the bottom of each footrest following these lines. This makes them look better than if you left them square.
STEP 3: Hammer two one-inch finishing nails almost all the way into the side of each stilt pole, within the area where the footrests will attach. Nip the heads off these nails using your wire cutters, leaving a small, sharp point just above the stilt poles’ surface. These will prevent the footrests from sliding around when you glue them on.
STEP 4: Spread glue on the longest edge of each footrest, then clamp them onto the stilt poles following the pencil marks you drew earlier. After it has dried for about an hour, scrape off the extra glue, then let the stilts dry fully overnight. Afterward, drill two holes through the footrests and stilt poles, then install the 1⁄4-inch carriage bolts to add strength.
STEP 5: Use your sandpaper or spokeshave to angle all sharp edges. It’s especially important to round the bottom end of the stilts so they won’t splinter during use. You can add paint or varnish if you like, but this isn’t necessary.
TAKING THE FIRST STEP
Always use your stilts outdoors, never inside. When it comes time to hop on for the first time, step onto the footrests from a box or step that’s roughly 12 inches off the ground.
As you lift each foot to take a step, pull up on the stilt poles with your hands so the footrests stay on the bottom of your feet as you travel forward.
It takes a little practice, but soon you’ll be commanding the respect that comes from a higher view of the world.
I’m making them fro a school project
I’m a medieval court jester!
I made them and can walk for a long time.
Hi, I’m wondering how much weight this can hold. Need to know so I don’t let people get on and then fall! Plz respond asap thx peeps
Is the glue really necessary??
it is cool but I just can’t get on them 🙂
my dad made stilts once but then he tried to use them and he broke them
Lean against a wall to get on them.
Stop loooking over my fence.
pretty cool and fun!!!
They look so cool to make but since its winter I probably won’t be able to use them in the house:)
Hey I made stilts and they were pretty good!
it’s great i can’t belive that you can make that mabye you can enter the circus
I think that I can use that idea about the xtra holes and wing nuts. if u don’t wanna pull up at the tops then u can duc tape your feet to the footholds. only do this if your a pro at these things. xtremly difficult to get off.
My dad and brother threw some stilts together without directions and I’m surprised how much they resemble these!
iv used 12 ft b4. epical stilts. just get good @ it ._.
Drill a few extra holes in the stilts and use winged nuts to tighten down the foot rests. This way you skip the finishing nails, the glueing, the height of the stilts becomes adjustable.
Great idea! Will try that next week with my den!
i am going to make 8 feet high stils
great idea but be careful
i might make some
I love stilts they cost about $40.00 and this is a lot cheaper and I think it’s great
I am making some right now, but not this design. All I need is the
bolts and it is done.
My dad made some and never looked at this page 🙁
cool but why
I made some stilts about thirty-six inches high!! There great!!! I can lean against the gutters of our house!!!
I’m going to try
it is so cool!!!
thats really sweet and cool Im totally going to try it!!!!!
I’m gonna try it it sounds SO COOL!
it sounds so cool
Did they need to tell you that? how hard is it to make a pair of stilts?
this is awesome cant wait 🙂
Why round the bottom of the stilts? That would just make them more susceptable to falling over.
you round the bottom of the footholds, not the stilts
this is just so cool guys right. its so fun
This is just so cool man. Make me one too. I love stilts. It’s hard to use them I know but i want to try.
There is something i cant do.i make the stilts, then i cant balance on them. u should put feet on the bottom
Thats pretty sweet i’m gonna try it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i am going to make it!!!!
This is going to be awesome to make, I can’t wait
It sounds cool 🙂 😉 🙁 ;(
I can’t wait to make it 😉
I made some awesome stilts
Thank you Boys life
im gonna try it
This sounds awesome!!