Introduction: $40 Backyard Chair

Picture of $40 Backyard Chair

In this instructable I will be doing a step by step tutorial on how you can make high quality professional lounge style chairs made from pressure treated wood. This project uses pressure treated wood given that the chairs are designed to be placed outdoors. This will help fight against things such as wood rot that would be present with standard wood. This is a weekend type project that can be done in less than a day. The chairs for this project where built to go along with a recently installed fire pit. Wooden chairs can be very costly, with price tags of $500-$700 depending on the chair and wood. Building the chairs gives the ability to add personal touches such as beveled corners and backboards while saving huge amounts of cash. This chair style might not be for everyone, but with this tutorial on how its done I hope it will serve as inspiration to build your own variation.

Step 1: Materials List

Bellow are the materials you will need to complete the project along with their costs.

1x- 2x6x8- $5.39

3x- 5/4x6x10 premium decking-$6.83 a piece 20.49 total

3x- 2x4x8 3.96 each 11.88 total

1x box of 1 5/8" outdoor screws

1x box of 2" outdoor screws

8x 3"x1/4 lag bolts


wood stain/paint

Step 2: Tools

These are the tools used to complete this project. While you may not have every tool on this list there are plenty of substitutes that will be able to preform the same role.

  • Jigsaw
  • Miter saw
  • Drill- with Philips head bit and optional socket driver
  • Socket set
  • 1 5/8" weather screws
  • 3" lag bolts
  • speed square
  • tape measure
  • something to draw with
  • bubble level

Step 3:

Things to note before and while building. Be sure to pre-sink all screw holes for a flush clean looking finish. Make sure all materials are outdoor suitable. This means all wood must be pressure treated and all screws weather retardant. Be sure all edges of the final product are sanded and rounded for a cleaner looking and safe overall product.

Step 4: Part 1

Picture of Part 1

For the first part of this chair we will be making the front legs. These legs will be made out of standard 2x4's. We will need two front legs which will consist of two 2x4 lengths cut down to 22".

Step 5: Part 2

Picture of Part 2

Now that the two front legs are made we need to make the two rear legs. These legs will be made out of 2x6 pressure treated wood. The wood will need to be first cut down into two pieces that each have a length of 36". The rear legs are mounted on an angle so they will need to be cut as follows. Measure 3" down from the top corner of the wood and then mark 3/4" over on the top of the wood. Then connect the two marks and cut the angle. Now that this is cut measure down 15 1/4" and mark it and then 1 3/4" inward at the top of the wood. Connect these two marks and then make the cut. After this cut is made use a speed square to mark a 90 degree line from the first initial cut. Refer to the image as reference as to how this should come out. On the opposite side measure and mark down 1 1/2" then make the cut.

Step 6: Part 3

Picture of Part 3

Now that the four legs are done they can be attached. To do this we are going to use 3" lag bolts which have a diameter of 1/4" thick. We will be mounting the rear legs on the inside of the front legs so that the lag bolts are not visible making the chair cleaner looking overall. To mount the two legs measure 14 3/4" up on each front leg and mark it. Now mark 1" inward on the wood. When mounting the rear legs the top of the leg should be at the 14 3/4" mark and parallel with the 1" line. To be sure this is correct you can use a piece of 1x6 decking to make sure its flush with the front of the legs. Once they are both straight sink a minimum of two lag bolts per each side. To see how this is complete view the next step.

Step 7: Part 4

Picture of Part 4

Now that the leg bases are made it is time to connect the two. We are going to do this by connecting a piece of 1x6 decking cut down to 21" to the front. This piece should easily fit flat and flush within the 1" slot from earlier. This can be secured with four screws. After it is attached it should look like the image above.

Step 8: Part 5

Picture of Part 5

At this point we are ready to add the actual seat to the chair. To do this we will need to cut more 1x6 decking into three pieces each measuring 21" in length. The fourth piece is going to be ripped down so that it is 1 1/2" in width and 21" in length. These four pieces can now be mounted with the smallest piece being mounted towards the rear of the chair.

Step 9: Part 6

Picture of Part 6

Now that the seat is on its time to build the back rest. This piece will be made from more 2x4s. We will need two back rest supports so be sure to duplicate this step. To start off the wood will need to be cut down to 35" in length. Now that its the proper length we will need to make two angle cuts, one on each end. For the first angle measure down and mark 1 1/4". From this point connect a line two the corner opposite it, and make the cut. On the other end of the wood measure and mark 2" up and 2" in. Then connect the lines and make the cut. The two supports should now look like the image above. To mount the back rest hold the wood up against the back of the seat and make sure it is flush with the bottom of the rear legs. Then attach both supports with the lag bolts.

Step 10: Part 7

Picture of Part 7

At this point we need to build extra back supports that will also support the chairs arm with another piece in the next step. The supports are cut from a 2x4 measuring 28 5/8" in length. To make the two angles for this piece measure 1 1/4" down and mark it. Then connect this mark to the opposite corner and make the cut. On the other end of the wood much like a previous step measure 2" down and 2" in and connect the lines followed by the cut. The piece should now look like this. Be sure to make two of these, on for each side. Check the fitment of these supports on the outside of the chairs main supports. It should fit snugly in the slot and be flush at the top of the other main support.

Step 11: Step 8

Picture of Step 8

Before attaching these supports we need to make the rear arm brackets. These will support the arms and will make the chair arms level. For these pieces I cut a 7 1/2" 2x4 and then chamfered the edge at a 45 degree cut. Hold the piece up against the chair and use a level to determine the angle in which it will need to be cut so that the chair arm will sit level on the front chair leg. Once both pieces are cut and are level they can be attached to the side supports. These supports are then followed by being attached to the chair.

Step 12: Part 9

Picture of Part 9

At this point we can now make the back rest. The back board is made out of 1x6 decking which is cut into five pieces each measuring 21" in length. These can be secured in with just screws and can be adjusted by lightly pushing the back supports if needed, to ensure they are flush all the way up.

Step 13: Part 10

Picture of Part 10

We are now ready to make the chairs arms. The arms will be made out of another section of 1x6 decking cut down to 33". At the bottom of the wood measure in 2" and measure up on the opposite side 19". Then connect the lines and cut the angle out. Now use a jigsaw to round the edges out so that their are no rough corners. The two arms can then be attached to the chair with the front and rear arm portions being screwed in on an angle for support and to hide the screws.

Step 14: Part 11

Picture of Part 11

For the last part of the chair we will need to make supports for the front portion of the arms. These where made by cutting down a piece of wood into a square measuring 3 1/4"by 3 1/4". This piece of wood was then cut on a 45 degree angle and then secured to the chair.

Step 15: Part 12

Picture of Part 12

At this point the chair is now done and can be finished by sanding all rough edges and adding chamfers where needed. The chair can also be finished off by an additional coat of paint or stain. Be sure to post pictures of your finished chairs I'd love to see them.


GuerreroL made it! (author)2017-08-06

Very easy to make. Just make sure you're on the mark while assembling since all the angles are pre-cut and any deviation will make parts not fit perfectly. I ended up using the 1.5" strip on the seat portion first and filled in the gap with wood filler. After I sanded it and stained it, it made a nice transition. I also went ahead and made a mini version with some left over lumber. I cut the arm rest supports by 1/2 and also the back rest 2x4's were cut by 1/2 lengthwise. Everything else was cut to fit.

JoeV24 made it! (author)2017-07-18

Be careful cutting and shaping PT wood as it can make you very I'll because of the chemicals used to infuse the wood.

Once you cut into the wood, the newly exposed wood won't have any protection because the pressure treatment, contrary to common belief, does not go deeply into the wood.

To counter this I sealed all the wood once rough cut and again after final shaping.

In particular I cut off bottoms of plastic 1 gallon milk bottles and poured some wood sealer in them and put the bottoms of the feet into that solution overnight to deeply soak the leg redwood.

This will protect the wood and keep it from sucking water and dampness from the ground when the chair is taken off the patio.

Cedar.... no matter how wide or thick will tend to split like thinner pallet wood, so predrilling all screw hole is imperative. I used exterior grade 1 3/4" Torx-drive deck screw to achieve a modicum of long life.

I thought I was going to plug all the screw holes, but decided that was too much work.

All lapped joints were also glued-n-screwed with exterior grade wood glue. Look for a gorilla on the label.....but don't used the urethane version.

Urethane --- for me --- either dissolved or broke down in some crazy way on another outdoor project --- so I shy away from it most times. Besides, it's very messy to work with.

My wife wants me to build a chaise lounge and a rocker now. Ugh!

That said, I wanted a more rounded chair with nicer ergonomics and came up with this:

BenW100 made it! (author)2017-04-15

Made two chairs. The second one I made a little taller to better accommodate my height. I used leftover cedar boards and deck screws from our deck which we upgraded from cedar to composite. These chairs cost me nothing but time and effort. Very sturdy. Just need to sand and treat for the outdoors. Can't wait to have them on our new deck.

T0BY (author)2016-11-28

Very good Instructable.

mc4ter made it! (author)2016-06-21

Made this from old floorboards and joists whilst renovating our new house. Great design and very comfortable. Making another one next week!

JeremyS100 (author)2016-05-04

What is 5/4x6x10!?!?

5/4 is 1 1/4"

1 x material is 3/4 of an inch thick 5/4 is full inch

shawiggi made it! (author)2016-05-23

Made two. Stained them today..better than the 49 dollar Home Depot adirandike chairs.

JeremyS100 made it! (author)2016-05-07

My favorite parts are the amateur imperfections. And momma is a happy camper.

MO7 (author)2015-07-31

Are the extra back supports 29 1/4 or 28 5/8?

gkrisanda (author)MO72015-08-04

28 5/8

RichardT85 (author)gkrisanda2016-04-19

As built the main back supports are 35 inches and go completely to the botton of the rear leg frame ( 2x6 being 5.75in. in width) 28.625 would be too short?? Are we missing something? 29.25 makes it even with the top inner back rest?

Kristina08df (author)2016-02-28

Easy to follow instructions made this project a breeze. I made it out of a couple pallet scraps I had left over from the holidays.

JimmyW13 made it! (author)2015-10-28

So proud of myself since I have never been a great builder of things with wood. Easy to follow instructions and I am currently building my second chair now to have a pair to sit in around our fire pit.

Two Paddles Design (author)2015-07-30

We love your chair so much we ended up making a side table/umbrella stand specifically for it!

EcoExpatMike (author)2015-07-30

Nice. I recommend some cup holders in the arms for that custom look...

skeebop (author)2015-07-08

AustinH6 made it! (author)2015-07-04

Everyone loved this chair! Great project for the 4th, and it should be here for many more Independence Days to come. Thanks.

jamin made it! (author)2015-07-02

Thanks a lot for this instructable. This was my first woodworking project and your directions were concise and easy to follow. Like another commenter said, this is very sturdy. I changed up the back, but I still think it turned out pretty good.

Mickeyriffe (author)2015-06-20

in step 7, the picture says 29 1/4" but you wrote 28 5/8" not sure if I just cut it wrong but it poses a problem when I added the supports

krizion made it! (author)2015-06-17

I decided to try it and Tadaa!! It came out better than expected and its super easy to make I love it and it now sits on my back porch.

Two Paddles Design made it! (author)2015-06-16

thanks for this, I made a variation using most of your angles and measurements but I was using reclaimed wood so I had to fudge a bit. I struggled with some of the placement but turned out well.

AlanW8 (author)2015-06-13

Do you have the completed chair dimensions?

broho3 (author)2015-06-10

This is awesome. Thanks! I do have a question about Step 5. You specify a 1" setback for the rear legs but in future pictures the front stretcher looks like it flush with the face of the front legs. Wouldn't that be a 1 3/4 inch set back?

TomW16 (author)2015-06-03

Awesome-- I just got into wood working and I think I'll be giving this project a shot. Really nice work!

BradC6 (author)2015-05-29

Thank you. This chair is easy to build. Comfortable. This was built from recycled wood from an old deck. Cost me nothing. I will be making a matching one tomorrow.

gkrisanda (author)BradC62015-05-31

Nice, I like the head support you added. (author)2015-05-24

Just be sure you don't use some of that old CCA treated wood you might find lying around. ( Really though, the chair looks great and I especially like how you've even thought to break down the materials and cost. DIY is not always cheaper (and better quality) than paying someone else to make it, but in this case it clearly is. Bravo!

samratdeb (author)

Thanks for the infor on CCA treated wood

gkrisanda (author)

For the amount of chairs I need, it would have cost me thousands, while this will only be a few hundred.

LauraBaclawski (author)2015-05-26

Just voted! I am going to have to try it.. awesome work!

scooter76 (author)2015-05-24

Great instructable, well written and great pictures/descriptions. I will be giving this a try very soon. Good luck in the contest, got my vote.

gkrisanda (author)scooter762015-05-26


Two Paddles Design (author)2015-05-24

Thanks, Ive been looking for some good basic, sturdy but aesthetic chairs like this. I will try something similar but in Cedar.

I'd love to see how it turns out.

ConnorB3 (author)2015-05-22

Perfect! I know what I am doing this weekend!

gkrisanda (author)ConnorB32015-05-26

Post pictures if you make it.

MaryellenG (author)2015-05-25

Great job. Great detail! Just voted! Good luck!

KevinF12 (author)2015-05-25

Well done Gage! Are you taking orders? Because you know I have no skills or tools to this. Just voted!

KimH6 (author)2015-05-25

Great job

ac-dc (author)2015-05-24

While it looks nice, this is made far sturdier and heavier than it needs to be unless there's going to be an elephant sitting in your lap.

Certainly for use on a soft surface your legs should have a larger footprint but otherwise, on the back and seat the slats could have been planks 1/2 the width.

gkrisanda (author)ac-dc2015-05-24

This chair was designed to fit my application, which included being weather resistant and strong. It was also designed to be placed on a patio. The chair was built to fit my application. This was intended to be a base of which others could modify and build theirs off of. Sure you could go with thinner materials which may be slightly cheaper, but that was not how I intended the chair to be constructed.

King Hippo (author)2015-05-24

Great instructable. I just wanted some clarification. In step 5, you mention 15 1/4, but in the photo it shows 15 3/4. 1/2 may not ultimately be a huge deal, but I just wanted to let you know since the rest of your measurements seem pretty precise.

gkrisanda (author)King Hippo2015-05-24

Thanks for letting me know, the measurement is 15 1/4" I will edit it now.

Verga (author)2015-05-24

godson1952 (author)2015-05-24

Thanks for the idea,I got a Band sawmill and I'll make mine out of white birch.And STAIN them got my vote.

FoodLuvBites (author)2015-05-23

This is great, move over IKEA lol

DCA (author)2015-05-22

Very nice design! I really like the simple construction. Thanks!

Forrizzle (author)2015-05-22

If you have access to pallets this gets a whole lot cheaper!!

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