It has been several years years since I shared these DIY outdoor chairs. With spring quickly approaching, I thought it was a good time to share it again. It is such an simple project that even beginners will have no trouble building them. You will not need any fancy tools or even pocket holes. It is a pretty straight forward build. I hope you enjoy this free plan and tutorial with step-by-step instructions. These chairs are sure to be a great addition to your outdoor space.
We are lucky enough to have a nice fire pit in the backyard. Having four boys who love all things outdoors, we use it all the time. Before building these DIY outdoor chairs, we have lugged out the dining room chairs every time we use the fire pit. I finally broke down and decided that building some chairs needed to be pushed to the top of my to-do list. Here is how I made these super easy DIY outdoor chairs!
A long time ago I built a bench for Shane’s brother and his wife for their new home. I liked the design I came up with so much that I decided to use it for these chairs. I liked that the bench was deep enough that adding a pillow didn’t make you feel like you were sitting on the edge of the seat. And since it’s made from 1x4s and 2x4s, it’s very sturdy and won’t blow away every time it gets a little windy.
Cut List Per Chair:
(11) 18” 1x4s – Back slats and seat slats
(2) 22” 2x4s – front and back connector
(2) 38” 2x4s – back legs and back
(2) 17” 2x4s – front legs
(2) 15” 2x4s – finishes off sides
(1) 18” 1x3 – caps off top of chair for a finished look
(1) 15” 1x3 – added to back of chair
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Miter Saw or Circular Saw
Outdoor Wood Stain
DIY OUTDOOR CHAIRS - ASSEMBLY
To start off, I cut two pieces of 2x4 to be 38 inches high and two pieces to be 17 inches high. The 38-inch boards will be the back and the 17-inch-high boards will be the front legs. Then I cut two 22-inch boards. These will connect the front and the back and determine how deep your chair is. If you don’t plan on having pillows and want it a bit shallower, 18 inches would be a good depth too.
Next, I wanted the back slightly slanted so it would have good back support and be more comfortable. I measured and marked the center of the top of the back 2x4s, then used a straightedge to draw a line down to the bottom where the seat will be.
Using my jigsaw, I cut along the line, then sanded it after cutting.
Now it’s time to attach all the 1x4 boards. To reduce the risk of the 1x4 boards splitting when screw into them, drill pilot holes. A pilot hole is where you use a drill bit that is smaller than the diameter of the screw to predrill a hole.
I cut 11 boards to be 18 inches long, attached the front pieces first to the leg pieces as shown below, then added the back piece.
By adding the front and back pieces to the seat frame first, you can then fill in the center and make sure the gaps are all equal. I eyeballed it, although the measurement will be about ½ inch.
Once the seat boards are attached with wood screws, you can start the back. I started with the lowest one. Instead of having it flush against the seat board, I made a ½ gap. I added the top piece to the back of the chair next so I could then fill in the middle like the way I did the seat.
Step 5: (*OPTIONAL)
Now that the chair is basically assembled, it’s time to add some boards that will give it a more finished look. Cut a 2x4 board to fit inside the legs and attach one to each side. These side pieces are not needed for the structure, but give it a more finished look.
If you do not want to see the screw heads, you can sink the screws (drill them deeper into the wood) and fill in the screw holes with wood filler. Make sure to use stainable putty if you plan to stain them.
Next I added a 1x3 to the top and to the back of the seat as shown in the 2 images below.
DIY OUTDOOR CHAIRS - FINISHING
The DIY patio chair is completely assembled! It is really a pretty easy build. I built all four in one day.
Once the chair is done you will want to use a hand sander to remove any inked-on text from the wood, then hand sand the whole chair. 1x4s have a waxy feel and won’t absorb stain well unless you sand and open the pores. Wherever you used the hand sander, make sure to hand sand after really well or you will be able to see the circular marks made by the sander when you begin to stain. Start with a 100 grit then finish with a 150 or 220.
Dust the chair off and you are ready to stain! I used the same color that I used on my planter box fence . The color is dark and rich, but still allows the wood grain to show through.
To apply the stain, I used a brush that is designed for use with oil-based paints and stains. Using a brush made it easy to stain the ½” gaps between the boards.
Allow the chairs enough time to dry before using them. The can recommends letting the stain dry for 24 hours to cure completely.
Once they were dry, we were able to test them out. The firepit was the perfect place for these chairs. If you add these to your patio space, it would be pretty easy to build a simple outdoor coffee table to match. These stair would also work well around an outdoor dining table.
You could also add a seat cushion to them to make them a little more cozy, especially if you are going to be lounging on your patio. You can pick up standard sized seat cushions at a store or DIY your own outdoor cushions using outdoor fabric or shower curtains.
Do you have enough outdoor seating? What type of outdoor seating do you have in your outdoor area? Would you ever build your own DIY chairs?
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Stacy you must make one for yourself.They really do look nice as well as comfortable. How very neat and professional they also look. you did a great job. I was wondering if you took advantage of having the lumber cut for you at the lumber store but i saw in your instructions that you even did that part.
Thank you! They really are super comfortable. The plan was to make 8 total (a couple extra for guests) but I thought 4 would be easier to start with since I had a deadline to meet. If I have a lot of lumber to buy, and I have a car instead of my van, I have the store make some cuts so they will fit in my car. It really is such a nice service!
I love these so much and want to make them into bar stools for the house that we are buying. Do you have any idea what the perfect height would be for the front/black legs? Thank you so much.
Thank you for sharing the tutorial! I was ust looking for an easy project for next weekend and this will be perfect. Thank you!
Wow...this is a keeper...I love these chairs and want to try my hand...your instructions are great...thanks! Hot Dogs grilled on a stick...Love that best of all! :)
Wow, very much so, nicely done
These came out so good. Perfect for the fire pit. The boys look happy.
These look amazing! You did a fine job. And the tutorial makes me believe even I can make one or possibly 4. Lol... Probably have to burn my first chair but by the fourth chair I would like to believe I could have the process mastered. Thanks for sharing. I'm saving this for when I get myself a new jigsaw. Nothing like having the right tool for the job to make everything go smoothly. Keep up the good work!
Great job! Thank you for sharing at Party In Your PJ's.
Sarah @ The DIY Mommy
Great project! They turned out lovely!
Hello - this looks awesome. My question is what kind of wood did you use and how well has the wood handled being outside in the weather (albeit stained) in the years this was originally posted. Thank you.
I just used pine. I just had my son tighten the screws on two as they had become a tiny bit wiggly (my boys haul them all over the yard and use them to climb up into the trees and jump down on them). The stain is a bit faded so I am going to re-stain them this summer. But overall they have held up great. They get sprayed by the sprinklers and everything!