DIY

DIY Outdoor Chair (with a slanted back)

I’m Zoe.
My mission is to teach you to  confidently build magazine-worthy DIYs. I used to be terrified of power tools, which is why I'm a firm believer that ANYONE can DIY.
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Price

$75-$150

Time

2 Days

Difficulty

Medium

Before we build some DIY outdoor chairs, let’s talk briefly about cushions. Make sure you get your cushions BEFORE starting this project.

Though we chose standard sized cushions, you might need to adjust the plans slightly if you opt for different cushions, which is why it’s so important to get them first.

Our bottom cushion measures 25×25 and the top cushion measures 25×21.

Alright, let’s start DIYing!

diy outdoor chair in grass with light gray cushions

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Tools

  • Miter Saw
  • Drill
  • Kreg Jig
  • 1/8″ Drill Bit
  • 3/8″ Drill Bit
  • 3/8″ Countersink Bit

What You’ll Need

  • 5- 2x3x8 boards*
  • 1- 2x2x8 board
  • 1- 1x8x6 board**
  • 2- 1x4x8 boards
  • Wood glue
  • 3/8″ wood plugs
  • 1.25″ exterior wood screws
  • 2.5″ exterior wood screws
  • 3.5″ exterior wood screws
  • 1.25″ exterior Kreg screws
  • 2.5″ exterior Kreg screws
  • Stain + sealer (we highly recommend Spar Urethane)
  • Leveling feet

*We built our chairs using 2x6x8 pine boards and cut them down to be the size of 2x3s. You can do either. Cutting down 2x6s will give your wood a more squared-off look.

**1 – 1x8x6 will be enough for your couch and two additional chairs.

*See printable plans for detailed cut list.

How to build an outdoor chair

New to DIY? Download our free 5 Steps to Getting Start with DIY guide!

STEP 1: MAKE YOUR CUTS

Cut your boards according to the cut list. This cut list reflects what’s needed for one chair. Want a pair? Double it!

STEP 2: DRILL POCKET HOLES

Pocket holes are the foundation of most DIY furniture. Become a pocket hole pro in less than an hour in Pocket Holes: Explained.

Drill your pocket holes as laid out in the printable plans.

drilling pocket holes using the Kreg 720

STEP 3: SAND YOUR BOARDS

We like to knock out the majority of our sanding before we start assembly. We’ll sand again after assembly, but with as rough as 2x3s can be, it’s nice to smooth everything out before you have to deal with nooks and crannies.

STEP 4: ASSEMBLE LEGS

To assemble the legs, we’ll use a mix of pocket holes and a countersunk screws. Let’s start with countersinking.

Mark 3/4″ in from each side and each end for a total of 4 markings on each of your leg tops. Using a 1/8″ drill bit, drill all the way through the board.

Using a 3/8″ countersink bit, drill a countersink hole that’s 1/2″ deep.

Using glue and 2.5″ screws, attach the leg top to the front/back. Place some wood glue over the screw head and cover it with a wood plug. If it’s not going in all the way, try hitting it with a rubber mallet.

drilling screws into boards to make chair arms

Next, use glue and 2.5″ Kreg screws to attach the leg slant. The highest point of the slant should be 14″ from the bottom of the leg and should be flush with the inside of the leg.

Finally, we’ll attach the leg support using glue and 2.5″ Kreg screws. The bottom of the leg support should be 2″ from the bottom of the leg.

side of DIY outdoor chair

STEP 5: ASSEMBLE BACK FRAME

Repeat the pre-drilling and countersinking process using your seat back top/bottom. Then attach the top and bottom to the seat backsides using glue and 3.5″ screws.

back of outdoor chair made from 2x3s

Don’t forget to cover your screw heads with a dab of glue and wood plugs.

STEP 6: ASSEMBLE BOTTOM

First attach the 2×2 seat supports to the leg slant. The 7-degree side should be lined up with the bottom of the leg slant and the seam where the leg slant meets the leg front.

attaching seat support to chair legs

Attach the front and back to the legs using glue and 2.5″ Kreg screws. The top of both should be 14″ from the bottom of the leg.

attaching front to chair leg

STEP 7: ATTACH THE BACK

Let’s make this thing resemble an actual chair!

Slide the back in until the bottom is lined up with the bottom of the 2×2 supports. Lean the back until it hit the back of the bottom and clamp in place.

Attach using 2.5″ Kreg screws through the pocket holes on the 2×2 supports, then mark where the back lines up with the arms.

Pre-drill 2 spots on each side and then drill countersink holes. Finally, attach the back to the arms using 3.5″ screws.

attaching slanted back to chair leg

STEP 8: INSTALL THE BACK SLAT

Measure 8 7/8″ from either side–this is where your 1×8 back slat will go. Since the back is always going to be covered with a cushion, we have our pocket holes facing forward so that the back is seamless. Install with 1.25″ Kreg screws.

Note: 2×8 boards would be more sturdy for this. We are fully expecting our 1×8 boards to develop a curve or warp slightly over time. We were trying to keep costs (and weight) down by opting for the 1×8.

STEP 9: STAIN + SEAL

Stain and seal your couches using your choice of finishing options. We used Minwax Water-Based Semi-Transparent Stain in Weathered Oak and then waterproofed our outdoor chairs using Helmsman’s Spar Urethane in a satin finish.

side by side of DIY outdoor chairs before and after staining

STEP 10: INSTALL BOTTOM SLATS

Place your bottom slats on the seat, eyeballing even spacing. Pre-drill and secure them using 1.25″ screws.

STEP 11: ADD LEVELING FEET

Flip your chair over and mark the center of each of the legs. Use a 3/8″ drill bit to drill for the leveling feet and then screw them in.

adding leveling feet to bottom

There you have it! Now you know how to build your own outdoor chairs. Be sure to check out the matching outdoor sofa plans to complete your outdoor furniture set!

Don’t forget to grab your printable plans!

DIY outdoor chair stained in weathered oak
back of DIY outdoor chair showing the slant of the back
DIY chair with slanted back in garage

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  1. Jayne via Chalking Up Success says:

    Wow! These outdoor chairs and sofa are gorgeous! I love how you stained them too – perfect for the garden!

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