How To Make Modern Outdoor Chairs | DIY Project

Modern outdoor chairs
Modern outdoor chairs

Modern outdoor chairs and furniture trends have become global. They give you the chance to actually enjoy yourself sitting outdoor in spring, summer and the fall. The latest and most popular designs include the ones made of wood that is light and clean. Modern outdoor furniture like tables and chairs is a way to relax and enjoy the weather outdoors in comfort. The best thing about modern outdoor furniture is that is a combination of high-quality material along with simply sophisticated designing. This is the kind of thing you MUST HAVE at your houses and it will definitely make you proud to entertain your guests in style!

Furniture can be bought from the shops. No doubt they will even offer you a fair deal. But why not try making some modern outdoor chairs at home? I can guarantee you that it will be more reliable, cost effective and a fun experience. So what’s say? Let us start an adventure then! Let us see how this is done. Before you start any project you obviously need to make preparations for it. Following is a list of all the necessary materials and tools you need to have before you start working.

Materials Needed

You will need the following wood and materials:

  • 2x2s
  • 1x4s
  • a sheet of 1.5" plywood

Tools Needed

Each and every tool that is mentioned is a must have for you. If you miss anything, it will only hinder your project.

  • 1-1/4″ pocket hole screws
  • 2-1/2″ pocket hole screws
  • 1/4″ wide flat reed splints
  • Regular office stapler
  • 5/8″ brad nails
  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper (100, 150, 220 grits)
  • Sanding Block
  • Finishing supplies (primer & paint, or stain, sealer)
  • Wood Shaping tools
  • Trimming machinery
  • Hand scrapper
  • Wood filler
  • Polyurethane
  • Screw Driver
  • Drilling Machine
  • Inch Tape
  • Pencil for Marking
  • Hammer

Additional Tools

This is a list of additional tools. These too, need to be with you while making the chair.

  • Measuring tape
  • Saw
  • Router
  • Palm sander
  • Safety glasses
  • Dusk mask
  • Nail gun
  • Paint brush and sponge


  • 1 – 1×3 at 4′
  • 1 – scrap of 1×4 at 16″
  • 2 – 2×2 at 8′
  • 1 – 2×4 at 6′
  • 2 – 1″ round dowel rods at 3′

The Cut List

The final list of all the cuttings you need to make to the wood in order to formulate the chair.

  • Two 16.5" pieces of 2x2
  • Two 37" pieces of 2x2
  • Two 14" pieces of 1x4
  • One 14" piece of 1x4 (split this piece lengthwise into two long pieces.)

Pro Tip

  • You can easily get these wooden materials from any local hardware shop.
  • Similar is the case with the tools. You can either buy them from local companies and hardware shops or they can be rented.
  • You can also make purchases online. But make sure the seller is trusted.
  • The material used must be strong enough to hold your project together.
  • The material should also be of a standard quality so that the characteristics match the project requirements.

Step by step instructions

If you are making the chairs yourself, you will need good guidance in formulating the parts of the chair. And so the assistance will be provided to you. First off, you need to have all the above-mentioned things with you. Make sure you have all of the tools and materials before you start working. Make correct measurements so that you accurately cut the wood. Any mistake and the chair will turn into a disaster. To make all the desired cuttings, here are the steps you should follow:

Step 1: Measuring and Marking

Use a measuring tape to make the exact same measurements as listed below. Use a wood-friendly pencil to make marks on the wood.

Step 1 measuring and marking
  • 2 – 2×4 at 35″ – Back Legs
  • 1 – 2×2 at 16″ – Lower Back Stretcher
  • 1 – 1″ round dowel at 16-1/2″ – Back Seat Stretcher
  • 2 – 1×3 at 16″ – Back Rest
  • 1 – 1×4 at 16″ – Upper Back Rest
  • 2 – 2×2 at 18-1/4″ – Front Legs
  • 1 – 2×2 at 16″ – Front Stretcher
  • 1 – 1″ round dowel at 16-1/2″ – Front Seat Stretcher
  • 2 – 2×2 at 16″ – Side Stretchers
  • 2 – 1″ round dowels at 16-1/2″ – Side Seat Stretchers
  • 1 – 2×2 at 16″ – Center Stretcher

Pro Tips

  • You must have a technical know-how of how to use all the tools properly especially the ones for this step. The base of the chair must be strong and solid.
  • Make all the preparations so that now all you would have to do is compile the chair.
  • Use a sharp 2H pencil for making marks on the wood.
  • Learn as much as you can about woodwork.
  • Use the best and finest quality of wood.
  • Be careful with the professional machinery.

Step 2: Bring the wood to shape

Cut the back legs 2 x 4 to make them fit perfectly. Shape your cut outs using the machinery. Make the seat, the front legs, back legs, backrest, etc.

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Step 2 bring the wood to shape

Pro Tips

  • You are recommended to use a work bench or steady table while you’re measuring, marking, cutting and shaping the wood.
  • You can also work on the surface of the floor so that the wood doesn’t move causing you inaccurate measurements.
  • Make sure your tools are rust free.

Step 3: Assembling the sides

Step 3 assembling the sides

This step demands to assemble the chair. Drill ¼” holes using a 1” Forstner bit into the 16.5” posts then 1 1/6" from the top and then 2 1/3" from the bottom. After you are done drilling the holes, you need to fix the leg support by applying wood glue into the dowel holes.

Step 3b assembling the sides

Pro Tips

  • Use a 2H pencil to make marks.
  • You can make holes with a screwdriver as well but drill machine is a better option.
  • Use a 1” drill bit.
  • Or use a drill bit that is almost the size and compatibility of the screws.

Step 4: Assembling the lower part/Stand of the chair

Step 4 assembling the lower part/stand of the chair

Cut 3 pieces of 14" 1x4. Also, make a cutting of 12" piece of 1x4 (3 pieces). Cut a 17x17 inch square from the plywood for the seat. Then cut notches out of two of the corners of the board, to make room for the back posts (1.5x1.5 inches preferably).

Pro Tips

  • Assemble the side support or stretches into the dowel holes between the legs using wood glue.
  • You can also use the 2-1 or 2-inch pocket hole screws.
  • You can also create a center stretcher for your chair for better support.
  • You won’t need to fill the holes for that because they would already be facing downwards.

Step 5: Fix the stretches and seat together

Step 5 fix the stretches and seat together

Screw in the stands from the bottom of the seat. This way the drilling and screw driving can be made easy. Also, the face of the nails can remain downwards not hindering the beauty of the chair.

Step 5b fix the stretches and seat together

Pro Tips

  • Drill the holes on the surface of the seat after you are done assembling the legs and stretches. Don’t do this without first marking them.
  • The support or stretchers should be stable as well as give a balanced look.
  • For better effect, you can apply some glue at the bottom if you feel there is space for the support to move or the stand to be less stable.
  • You can also fix it with screws instead of glue.

Step 6: Insert the backrest and seat combination

Step 6 insert the backrest and seat combination

Glue and insert dowels into the holes at both ends of the left and right stretches. Your chair structure is now complete. All you have to do is set the seat now.

Pro Tip

  • Again, you can use screws instead of wood glue if you think that is a better, safer and more sustainable option.

Step 7: Fixing the seat

Step 7 fixing the seat

You can easily get a chair pad or chair cushion from the market. Sometimes your known shopkeepers also exchange your old ones for new. Get one of those and have it fixed into the same sized square wooden frame. Sew it over with a nice fabric.

Pro Tip

  • Use a new fluffy chair pad or cushion.
  • Make sure the wooden frame is the accurate size of the cushion, not big not small.
  • Sewing the cushion, fabric and wooden frame together can sometimes be challenging. You can use a nail gun to drive in small screws.
  • Even thumb pins would do to pin up the fabric at the bottom.
  • The easiest way is to use glue though.
  • Use a nice thick fabric that matches the other outdoor accessories.

Step 8: Sand and prepare the surface

Sand the surface of the chair to make it smooth enough to be painted or polished.

Step 8 sand and prepare the surface

Pro Tip

  • Use a hand sander for this.

Step 9: Painting, polishing, staining

After you are done sanding the chair, you need to give the chair a finishing touch. You can do this by either painting or wood polishing the chair. Some people like the original wood feel so they simply stain their chairs.

Step 9 painting polishing staining

Pro Tips

  • Use a good paint brush to paint the chair
  • A sponge is excellent for applying wood stain
  • Gauze and cotton can do good for the application of the wood polish
Step 9b painting polishing staining

That was all that needed to be had and done for making an excellent outdoor wooden chair. I hope you’ll found it helpful in reading as well as practically. If it was of any help to you, do recommend it to other friends. Hope that you have a fun experience trying to work on this project. Also, please share your feedback.

  • April 5, 2017
  • DIY