An Easy Plan to Build a Chair for the Outdoors

DIY Furniture Plans to Build a Modern Outdoor Chair

As the weather gets warmer (and I work on more projects outside my own home), I am looking forward to relaxing outside on fabulous furniture I’ve built myself! The DIY furniture plans to build a Modern Outdoor Chair are really simple… The chair features clean lines and is also sized for an off-the-shelf 24″ x 24″ seat cushion (or you can make your own). The plan for this chair is perfect for those new to woodworking and furniture building, and several can be completed in a weekend!

DIY Furniture Plans to Build a Modern Outdoor Chair - Copy

Materials:

  • 3″ screws rated for outdoor use (I love using star-drive exterior screws!)
  • 2″ brad nails rated for outdoor use
  • Wood glue rated for outdoor use
  • Sandpaper (100, 150, 220 grits)
  • Finishing supplies (primer & paint, or stain, sealer)

Tools Needed:

  • Miter saw or Circular saw
  • Drill (with a bit appropriate for the head of the screws used)
  • Countersink bit
  • Pneumatic brad nailer with compressor
  • Sander

Lumber:

If the chair is being used outdoors, pressure treated lumber is recommended

  • Scrap of 1×2 at 24″
  • 4 – 1×3 at 8′
  • 4 – 2×2 at 8′
  • 1 – 2×3 at 6′

Cut List:

  • 4 – 2×2 at 23″ – Legs
  • 2 – 2×2 at 25-1/2″ – Side Frame
  • 2 – 2×2 at 22-1/2″ – Side Frame
  • 1 – 2×2 at 24″ – Upper Back
  • 2 – 2×3 at 24″ – Upper Back
  • 2 – 1×3 at 24″ – Back & Front Stretchers
  • 2 – 2×2 at 24″ – Side Seat Supports
  • 1 – 1×2 at 24″ – Center Seat Support
  • 8 – 1×3 at 24″ – Seat Slats
  • 1 – 1×3 (ripped to 1-5/8″ wide) at 24″ – Rear Seat Slat

DIY Furniture Plans to Build a Modern Outdoor Chair

Click on the drawings for a larger view!

Notes about the project:

The entire chair is constructed using countersunk screws. The holes can be filled with plugs (that can be made using a plug cutter on a scrap of wood matching the chair). The chair can also be constructed using pocket hole screws.

Step One

Cut the pieces for the legs and the side framing. Mark the position of the screws at each end of the longer 2×2 pieces (the arms) and pre-drill the holes. Secure the longer 2x2s to the top of the legs using glue and countersunk 3″ screws.

Mark the position for the lower 2x2s on the legs and pre-drill the holes. Secure the lower side stretcher to the legs using glue and countersunk 3″ screws.

DIY Furniture Plans to Build a Modern Outdoor Chair - Side Frame

Step Two

Cut the pieces for the upper back. Mark the position of the 2×2 upper back piece and pre-drill the holes in each side frame (trying to avoid the screw from the upper side piece into the leg!). Secure the upper back piece using glue and countersunk 3″ screws.

Secure the 2×3 pieces in the same manner, spacing them approximately 1-1/2″ apart. Use two screws in each end of the wider pieces!

DIY Furniture Plans to Build a Modern Outdoor Chair - Upper Back

Step Three

Cut the pieces for the 1×3 back and front stretchers. The outside faces of the stretchers will be flush with the outside faces of the legs. Mark the position on the legs for each piece and pre-drill the holes for the screws (two for each end of each piece). Secure the stretchers using glue and countersunk 3″ screws.

DIY Furniture Plans to Build a Modern Outdoor Chair - Rear Stretcher

DIY Furniture Plans to Build a Modern Outdoor Chair - Front Stretcher

Step Four

Cut the pieces for the side seat supports. These supports will fit between the front and back stretchers. The bottom of the seat supports will be flush with the bottom of the stretchers making them approximately 3/4″ lower than the stretchers. Pre-drill the holes (the screws do not have to be countersunk) and secure the supports to the legs using glue and 3″ screws.

DIY Furniture Plans to Build a Modern Outdoor Chair - Side Seat Support

Step Five

Cut the piece for the center seat support. Secure the center seat support to the front and back stretchers using glue and countersunk 3″ screws. The bottom edge of the center seat support will be flush with the bottom edge of the stretchers.

DIY Furniture Plans to Build a Modern Outdoor Chair - Center Seat Support

Step Six

Cut the pieces for the seat slats. Note that the rear slat is narrower than the other slats. This will be hidden by the seat cushion anyway! Secure the slats to the side and center supports using glue and 2″ brad nails spacing them approximately 1/4″ apart.

DIY Furniture Plans to Build a Modern Outdoor Chair - Seat Slats

Finish the chair as desired.

I’ve recently discovered solid exterior stain and it would be awesome for a project like this! Have any questions about the DIY furniture plans to build a Modern Outdoor Chair? Leave a comment below – I would be happy to answer!