A couple of simple stools was the perfect project for me to tackle in my spare time!
My usual habit of doing a Google Image search until I find something that looks similar to what I want led me to this blog post about a step stool put together with pocket hole joinery. With a little adaptation to account for the materials I had on hand, the project came together quite well.
Notching the sides was easily done on the table saw. I cut the notch a little bit wider than the thickness of my rails, and then cut an angle onto the edge.
I also cut a slight angle onto the rails - the miter gauge on my table saw was adjusted to a 45 degree angle. I made one cut and then stacked the rails, mimicking the angle already cut so that everything would match.
With the angles cut into the sides (leaving enough wood under the shoulder of the notch to fully support the rail), drill pocket holes in preparation for attaching the rails.
Use screws in the pocket holes to connect the rails to the sides. I made them a couple different sizes to fit comfortably in the two different bathrooms.
Just for the fun of it, we decided to use milk paint! I've been reading about it for a while now, and decided that this would be a great project to see how well it works. From what I've read and seen, there can be some neat finishing techniques that you can use with this! We bought a bag from the Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company, and I mixed up half a cup of powder with half a cup of water to try it out. That was about twice as much as I actually needed to do two coats of paint on this - milk paint acts as its own primer.
I sliced free some nice sections of pallet wood that I had planed down to act as the tops, tested out a bunch of different stains, and then decided on the same Special Walnut from Minwax that I've used for just about everything else. Go figure.
In the end, though, they came out quite nicely!