This stylish kid's rocking chair is made with 5 pieces of wood, is held together by just 2 tension bolts, and conveniently collapses flat for shipping or storage. The design template I've provided (PDF below) can be easily scaled to meet any child (or adult) and can be customized in any way you want:  a higher back rest, a personalized cut-out, or a custom rocker sweep. There's no shortage of ways to make this rocker your own.

I based my design off Jeff Miller's child rocking chair design (found free online). I made my rocker as a present for a little girl's birthday and has a smaller profile, it features a heart design cut-out in the back rest and a slightly wider seat to accommodate a few stuffed animals. It's slightly large for her now, but I know she will grow into it in no time and still have many years of enjoyment. This kid's rocking chair design has sides that taper upwards which provide stability, a comfortable angled backrest, and a trailing rocking edge that has a nice taper so you don't do an (un)intentional beckflip after a rigorous rocking.

Ready to make your own?

Tools and materials list for kid's rocking chair:

  • table saw
  • chop saw
  • router
  • ¼" roundover bit
  • ¾ router bit
  • jigsaw
  • printer (plotter/lasercutter/home printer)
  • rotary tool + metal cutting bit
  • 4mm allen key
  • 3x 24x36"x¾" plywood sheets
  • paint
  • clear lacquer
  • scrap cardboard
  • 2x ¼"-20x24" threaded rod
  • 4x ¼"-20 treat cap nuts
  • 1x ¼"-20 threaded hex nut
plywood cuts*:
  • 2x side panels: ¾" x 16" x 26"
  • 1x seat panel ¾" x 12-½" x 18-½"
  • 1x back panel 3/4" x 15-3/8" x 24-1/8"
  • 1x strut ¾" x 2-¼" x 17"

*as specified in Jeff Millers plans


Step 1: rocker sides

This is the most complicated part of the build. The rocker sides have 2 angled dadoes to support the seat and back, and another dado for a strut up front. The dadoes for each side need to be fairly accurate for the two sides to join up squarely when the rocker is assembled. Jeff Miller's plans (PDF page 7, as shown) show an elaborate way to measure the exact radius of the rocking curve, the curvy splines for the sides, and the exact location and angle of the seat , backing and strut dadoes. While these measurements are incredibly helpful they are also very labour intensive to scribe onto the plywood (since you have to do it twice, once for each rocker side) as well as scaling a side-panel.

I decided to forgo the calculations shown in the original design. Instead I copied the page showing the calculations for the dado jig and the side panel pattern and combined them making my own template to trace from. Using this method I only need one template for both sides by flipping the template over.

You're welcome to calculate the angles yourself, or you can use the files I've provided to just print your own template. While the outline of the side panel can be scaled from the template I've provided you'll need to ensure to match your dado thickness with the thickness of your plywood. 

After downloading the template or calculating your own, print/scribe your plan. If printing, you can use a plotter, laser cutter, or on your home computer using a tiled printing method like Block Posters (aka Rasterbator). You will only need one rocker side template for the printed method as we can just flip it over to trace the opposite side.

Download the PDF (below) or select picture 2 (above) from this step and "save as" to your computer.
That is cute! I would like one in my size :D

About This Instructable


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Bio: I'm Mike and I make crazy things at Instructables HQ in San Francisco. Follow me and try a few of my projects for yourself!
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