DIY Modern Wood Patio Chairs

With the warm weather quickly approaching and our backyard renovation well underway, it was time for new patio furniture!

We couldn’t get past the high price tags for patio furniture, plus we’ve got some new tools that we have been anxious to use, so we decided to make our own! After looking on Pinterest, we found Ana White’s blog and used it for inspiration our own outdoor chairs.

Renato decided to lean hard into the “man” stereotype and rather than following her carefully laid out instructions and winged the construction (though he did follow her shopping list!).

This project cost us a total of $200 ($100 per chair, including the cushion). We found a similar chair at Cost Plus World Market for over $300 per chair!

Want to make your own patio chairs? Here’s what you’ll need…

8 ft long 2x4s: You’ll need 4 of these boards for each chair.
8 ft long 2x6s: You’ll need 4 of these boards for each chair.
2 3/4 self tapping deck screws: You’ll need quite a few of these screws when you’re putting the chair together!
Wood glue: You’ll need this to make wood putty, which will cover the nail holes.
Wood stain / Paint: You can pick whichever wood stain or paint you would like, but we went with Varathane Honey Classic wood stain.
Polyutherane: We used Varathane Ultimate Spar Urethane Clear Gloss. Whatever you decide to use, make sure it’s intended for exterior use.
Cloth for staining: Did you know you can repurpose old white undershirts for staining wood? Not only do you get to save some money, but you also get to make those worn shirts disappear from your man’s wardrobe! Double win!
A drill: An absolute must.
Sander: We used 40 grit sand paper and followed with a 60 grit sandpaper to remove any impurities.
25×25 cushions: We bought ours at Lowe’s and I love that they came with the back pillow cushion. To be honest, I’m not sure these chairs would be very comfortable without that back cushion!

Putting the patio chair together:

  1. Save time! Cut all your wood ahead of time and organize the cuts by size to make installation easier.
  2. Build the base (seat) of the chair:
    • Construct a square using two 2x6s cut at 28 ½“ and two 2x6s cut at 25”. Secure each corner with two screws.
    • Once the square is built, put four slats inside the square, each placed somewhat evenly and ensure that the slats are flush with the top of the seat. This will act as a place for the seat cushion to rest on. Secure each slat with four screws (two on each side).
  3. Build the armrests:
    • After the seat is made, attach a 2×4 cut at 22 ½“ to each side of a 2×6 cut at 28 ½“ using a corner jig. You’ll need to do this step twice to build an armrest for each side.
    • Once the armrests are complete, attach them to the square you made in the last step at 4” off the ground. This will make the top of the seat about 1’ off the ground. This may seem low, but the cushion adds quite a bit of height.
    • Attach a 2×4 cut at 31 ½“ to the top of each armrest and one 2×4 cut at 25” to the back top of the chair. This will make the back flush with the armrests and will provide additional support.
  4. Fill the nail holes: If you don’t want or have wood putty, you can easily create your own. Just mix some leftover sawdust with some Titebond III wood glue and rub it over the nail holes. This method also encourages even coloring when applying stain.
  5. Sand: You either love or hate this step, but either way, it’s got to be done! Make sure to sand with the grain of the wood, otherwise you’ll get some odd marks.
  6. Paint or stain: We decided to stain ours, but you can do either. Just be sure to use paint / stain intended for exterior use.
  7. Protect your chairs: Paint or stain, you’ll need to use exterior polyurethane to seal the chairs and prevent damage from natural elements. We applied two generous coats to each chair. The polyurethane should also help prevent you from having to re-stain / re-paint them every season!
    • Pro-tip: Polyurethane is STICKY, so wear gloves. We didn’t and after washing our hands a thousand times, we tried covering our hands in peanut butter – which amazingly, took the stickiness right off!

What do we love about these patio chairs?

Not only do you save some money by making them yourself, they are also incredibly sturdy and comfortable.

Taking on this DIY patio chair project yourself? Share / comment below!

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