Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Time out stool Tutorial

So I saw this timeout stool on Pinterest and I really wanted it but since I'm poor and I didn't want to pay $70 and who knows what for shipping I thought to myself "I can make that"!  All the materials cost under $25 to make.  The only thing you may need to worry about is that the plastic bottles are not very durable so if they get dented I'm not really sure how you would pop them back out?
Made this bad boy this weekend and all the materials cost under $25!  It ended up being 14" high and 12" wide.
You will need: (2) empty clear soda bottles, (2) 12" wood or MDF circles (I found mine at Lowe's), (3) 14" legs (We trimmed the long end down so they were 12" long), (1) 2" wood doll head (I found mine at my local craft store), spray paint, washer (make sure it fits the top of your bottle), CLEAR silicone sealant, and optional clear spray paint (for a shiny finish).
First we routed the edges of the MDF circle so the edges of the circle wouldn't be as sharp for our boy when he sits on it.  This is an optional step though if you don't have a router it is not essential.
Drill a hole through the center of the wood doll head.  Hopefully it has a predrilled tiny hole in the center so it will guide your drill bit, if not I would recommend doing that first.  
Make sure the bit you use cuts a hole big enough for the top of the soda bottles to fit in.  We used a 1'' bit but then had to sand out the inside a little so it fit on easier.  This is what your wood doll head piece should look like when your done.
We also used a router to indent a circle into the MDF circle so the soda bottle would sit  could butt up against the edges and fit nice and snug.  Again this is optional if you don't have a router but it just insures no salt will leak out.
After we had cut circles and legs of the timer to a size we wanted we had to measure the height the hour glass needed to be and cut the soda bottles.  Don't forget to incorporate the routed indent in the MDF circle and the height of the wood doll head in your measurement.  Always measure twice so you only have to cut once. (We learned that the hard way!)
Here is our beautifully spray painted wood pieces.  Make sure you do a couple of coats.
We made an 8'' equilateral triangle out of a piece of paper to mark spots for the wooden legs.  It makes sure they are evenly distributed.  Then we predrilled holes for the screws so there is less of a chance of splitting your wood and the screws go in strait.
We also used a this drill piece, I have no idea what its called, to  cut out a cone shaped piece in the MDF circle so the screw head will sit flush with the top of the circle and not poke out.  
Instead of using the equilateral triangle again we put the two circles together and drilled all the way through them to make sure both circle had evenly distributed holes for the legs to be drilled into.
We also drilled holes into the top and bottom of the wooden legs to make sure they were screwed into correctly
We "dry fit" our pieces together to make sure everything fit before glueing or screwing 
We used a clear silicone to attach our soda bottle to the MDF circle.  It goes on white then dries clear so you know when its dry.
Before you glue on your washer play around with how long you want your sand timer to be.  You might need to drill drill a bigger hole into the top of the washer like us to make sure you have the right amount of sand in your timer and enough sand to make it aesthetically pleasing.  We glued the washer onto the soda bottle top using E6000 glue.
After getting our timer down we added salt, instead of sand because we liked how it was white, to the soda bottle on the side without the washer.
Add your clear silicone to one soda bottle
Then add it to the other side
And attach your wooden doll head and the two sides together.  Make sure that all the edges are completely sealed because you don't want any sand to get out.
Add wood filler on top of your recessed screws and scrape the excess off with a credit card to make sure its flat.  If you need to sand the wood filler down a little bit you can after it has dried. And then add one more coat of spray paint on top.  You can also do a clear coat of spray paint or some polyurethane to give it a nice shiny finish.
One cute boy who I think likes his timeout stool too much ...


  1. this is a great idea!!!! i'm doing it for my kids in the kindergarten - with 3 minutes, for brushing their teeth :) i'm doing it red. I couldn't find anywhere a doll's head, so I had to improvise but it looks great. thank you so so so so much for the idea!!!!!!

    hugs from Croatia

  2. Thanks so much!! You must be very artistic and talented! Love this

  3. This is amazing! I am definitely going to try my hand at one of these! Thanks so much for such a excellent tutorial. Cheers.

  4. How did you determine how much sand to use? How do you figure out the timing?

  5. I am going to use 2 gallon size wine bottles, kids love to kick their feet so life expectance of this project is not long! You can cut the bottle with string and lighter fluid. I would also make the stool shorter as the kid should be able to keep his feet on the floor! Wooden napkin rings should be close in size for the connector!! You could even use metal ones!!

  6. I saw the following in my head when I saw this shared on Facebook.

    Perhaps some red sand and bronze paint? And maybe some carving 'skillz'? Just don't release the flying monkeys.

  7. my son is now 13 when he was 2 i made the hourglasses, and found a wooden chair i painted time out on. I used the hour glasses differently, and used different brands for quicker sand as a toddler, and used a poker chip with a hole I drilled glued in middle to slow sand down. I made 3 i also got wooden discs at Micheals for bottom, i had red on one side/green on the other of two and one was Yellow and red. the yellow and red, had the slowest amount of sand, and he was a bit older, you could make them equal the time of the the other 2, i made my yellow/green for a warning if the behavior improved in the amount of yellow time we flipped it back over to green, if it did not he went into a time out with the appropriate timer..which were painted red/green. I think its great you now realize why the person selling the time out hourglass chair charged the proper amount, i couldn't afford it either, but with the 25 dollars you quoted and then the man hours, and any kind f profit, its a fair price...~MomofReed~

  8. oh when you're done with the "time outs" you can use red/green one for games , or yellow /green depending on how much time.prefect for outside sidewalk chalk charades, or indie for brushing teeth.. yellow for jammy time etc.. we got a lot of use out of them as kids when not in trouble love to race the clock..and my son loves cars so the red, yellow, green we used on out door race tracks as well.. have fun `Momofreed~ a single mom too..

  9. Excellent idea, but lose the fancy font on your site, very difficult to read.

  10. My only concern is that it would only work for 1 year since most time out philosophies are 1min for every year the child is.

    1. Maybe cut strips of adhesive vinyl run it around the bottom half bottle and mark the minutes off.

  11. The font on this blog is ridiculous & so hard to read!!! :(

  12. Hi Christine, I love this idea! We are starting to feature more artist like yourself and I would love to discuss possibly featuring this tutorial on our website. You can reach me at or you can visit me at - I'd love to set up a time to talk with you about featuring this tutorial or if there is one that you feel would better represent you then we could discuss that. Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

  13. instead of connecting with the dolls head wooden deal you and purchase a connector in the toy aisle with the science toys called a "Tornado Tube" which will screw the bottles together and leave room for your salt or colored sand.

  14. How much sand did you use? And how did you know how long it would take to finish?

  15. How much sand did you use? And how did you know how long it would take to finish?

  16. I love the craft idea. I just wanted to share a link regarding time outs and children. We've been using the methods talke about on. this website for some time and thought you may want a different perspective on parenting options. I just love the idea of making this timer for games, like races and clean up time races that are fun and allow children to play with it. Here's the link about time outs.. Hope it will be read with an open mind. I feel so much better as a parent after reading her books too! It doesn't happen overnight, but the long term relationship you build is amazing.

  17. I am doing this to give to my Daughter in Law for Mothers Day! lol.......They have 2 little ones 15 moths apart....She will Love me! she may want me to build another one!!!! Thank you for posting this!

  18. I made this as instructed. My salt seems to be getting stuck. Will it stop eventually?

  19. Thank you for sharing. I know a little boy who needs one of these lol

  20. Sure would be nice if instructions were fixed so they could be printed.

  21. It's called a 'countersink bit' that is used to seat the screw heads. Great project!

  22. What router bits are needed for the rounding off edges of seats and making the indent? I bought a router, but need to know what bits I need for this project.

  23. Funny, unless you changed it my font was normal. I loved your idea. Thanks for taking the time to share it!