How to Make a Pair of Stilts

Learn how to make an adjustable set of stilts. This simple woodworking project is great for beginners or a shared project to make with the kids. 

By: John McGilvray

Walking Tall

Stilt walking is a fun activity for kids and adults.  It helps develop coordination, balance and is a good core workout. 

Tools and Materials

To make a pair of stilts, you will need: (1) 2x6 x 8’ board; (4) carriage bolts with washers and nuts; jigsaw or circular saw; table saw; miter saw or circular saw; router; orbital sander or sandpaper; tape measure; drill with a 3/8” drill bit and a 7/8” spade bit.

Cut Length

Cut the 8' board down to 6'. Save the excess 2' piece, it’ll be used to make the stilt’s footholds.

Rip in Two

Use a table saw or circular saw to rip the 6' board into two 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" poles.

Cut the Foothold Pieces

Rip the 2' remainder piece into two 4" wide pieces. Then rip those two pieces down so they are 7".

Mark Off Corner of Foothold

Measure and mark a line 3" down from the top. Then measure and mark a line 2" from the side. Connect those two measurements so you have a diagonal line marking off one corner.

Cut Off the Corner

Use a jigsaw to cut off the marked corner piece.

Cut the Second Foothold

Lay the cut foothold piece on top of the non-cut foothold piece and then mark the cut line onto the non-cut piece. Use a jigsaw to cut the second piece. Use sandpaper or an orbital sander to smooth out both foothold pieces.

Mark Poles For Holes

We drilled six holes on each stilt pole so the height of our footholds can be adjusted. On both poles, measure and mark a line eight inches up from the bottom. Then make additional lines every two inches. So from 8 to 18 inches, you should have six marks.

Mark the Center

Mark the center point just above each one of the marks you just made.

Drill Holes in the Poles

Drill a 3/8” hole at the center point cross mark.

Sand Smooth

Sand the holes smooth. (This is a good task for the kids.)

Measure For Bolt Placement

On the angled side of foothold piece, make a mark 1-1/2” up from the uncut end. Then make another mark 5-1/2” up from the uncut end.

Continue Mark Down the Side

Use a tri-square to continue the marks around the sides of the footholds.

Find the Center Point

Mark the center point just above each of one of the lines you just made.

Double Check Bolt Depth

Measure at the bolt placement marks to make sure the foothold is long enough to accommodate the bolts.

Drill Recessed Holes For the Bolt Heads

Make a hole wide enough to accommodate the head of the bolt. We used a 7/8” spade bit to drill a 1-7/8” deep hole at each center point mark. To make sure you get uniform depth on each hole, wrap tape around the drill bit 1-7/8" up from the bottom.

Drill For Bolt Length

In the center of the bolt-head holes, use a 3/8” drill bit to drill the holes all the way through to the other side of the foothold pieces.

Insert the Bolts

Slip the bolts into the holes.

Tighten the Bolts

Insert the foothold bolts into the holes on the poles at your desired height. Place washers and nuts on each bolt. Use a ratchet to tighten the nuts.

Round the Corners

Use a router to chamfer the edges (remove the sharp 45-degree angle) on all four sides, from the adjustment holes to the top. The rounded edges will provide better grip on the poles.

Ready to Take a Walk

Your stilts are ready to go now. 

How to Use Stilts

To use the stilts, grab the front of the poles with your arms bent about 45-degrees and your palms facing in toward you. Your shoulders should be in front of the poles. Pull the pole up as you step. 

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