my first Ana White project: diy learning tower

I have been drooling over learning towers FOR-EVER! Seriously, since Ash was little I have wanted one. The real deal just didn’t work for our space and I couldn’t justify spending that kind of money on something that we would need to modify so I let it go. However, my learning tower crush resurfaced with Kell’s arrival into toddlerhood. Kell loves to be in the kitchen with me but he can get dangerously in the way. I don’t feel comfortable having him stand on a chair to reach the counter when I am not standing right with  him.  Unfortunately, I can’t just stand right next to him every time he wants to be in the kitchen. Especially during the crazies of helping with homework and getting dinner on the table. One too many hectic evenings and Kell’s love of the kitchen transformed my learning tower want into a NEED!

After a particularly grumpy reception for my poor husband one evening, I began searching for DIY learning tower plans. I found Ana White’s plans for The Little Helper Tower and since we were going to be building it ourselves we could easily modify the size to perfectly fit our space. Time to get a garage date on the calendar!

If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen some of my super hot garage outfits. Micah and I don’t have a lot of time for regular dates where you actually leave the house. In true Dolen fashion, we DIYed date night and took it into the garage. This project took two date nights.

The first date night was spent cutting and sanding all the pieces. We took off 5 inches in the depth of the tower to better fit in our small kitchen. We also made curved “handles” this was much harder than I expected, but I thought they made it so much prettier. I think Micah was amused by my lack of skill in curve cutting. If you are looking for easy just do straight handles.

The second date night was spent putting it all together, then taking it apart, sanding the drill holes, staining it, applying 2 coats of clear coat, drying it in front of a portable heater, then putting it all back together again. *I chose to stain ours because I thought it would stay cleaner looking longer and clear coating it allows for easy clean up.

Now, if you are like us and think that the tower seems so sturdy out in the garage and like it didn’t really need to stability feet called for in the plans so you can skip that step…you’re wrong and it does.

As soon as we put Kell in it, we realized our mistake and quickly whipped out a set of feet. Build and learn.

I am thrilled with our tower! We used it in the kitchen, at the table for projects during the day, and out in the garage. I really can’t imagine life without it! Having never built an Ana White project before I must say that she really makes it super easy so if you have some plans you have been drooling over….. make it! Seriously, you can do it!


  1. says

    Gah, now I want one too!!!!!! I wish I was as handy as you. I wouldn’t even attempt curved handles but they look grrrrreat! Is the height adjustable or does your boy just need to bend down as he gets taller? I love it!

    • says

      The platform he stands on adjusts down. See the wood pieces below where he’s standing? The platform will sit on all of those. It’s pretty cool. You should just give it a whirl. It really is quite doable. I promise!!!

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