Four Dollar Stackable Children’s Chairs

Submitted by Ana White on Sun, 11/07/2010 - 19:43
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Stackable economical lightweight children's chairs.

Now that I've designed quite a few adult chairs (for example, this squared chair, plans here), thought I would take some time to work on a childrens design.  Specifically, one that met these requirements:

1.  Under $5 a chair

2. Stackable

3.  Super easy to build

4. Lightweight enough for my 18 month old niece to carry

5. But still sturdy enough for me to sit on.

And after a couple of prototypes and some redesigning in the garage, I think we've found our winner.

And yes, they do stack.  Not sure exactly at what point the chairs would tip forward, but at least four high would work.

And because we went with a slatted seat, this chair would also work well outdoors if finished appropriately.

Dimensions are shown above.


Shopping List

2 – 1x3s, 8′ long (Furring strips were used for my chair, about $1.50 each)
1 – 1×2, 8′ long (furring strips again, $1 a stick)
1 1/4″ screws
2″ screws OR 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws for pocket holes
wood glue
finishing supplies

Cut List

3 – 1×3 @ 11″ (Front and Side Aprons)
2 – 1×3 @ 11 3/4″ (Side Supports)
2 – 1×2 @ 13 1/4″ (Front Legs)
8 – 1×3 @ 12 1/2″ (Seat Slats and Back Slats)
2 – 1×2 @ 26″ (Back Legs)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set


Step 1

Side Supports

Predrill holes and screw the side supports to the front aprons. I built mine with 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws, but you could also use 2″ screws. Use glue.

Step 2

Front Legs

Now just screw the legs to the front apron and supports. Use 1 1/4″ screws to screw into the side supports.

Step 3

Side Aprons

Now simply add the side aprons with glue and 1 1/4″ screws.

Step 4

Back Apron

Back apron is the same length as the seat slats. Just attach the back apron with 2″ screws and glue.

Step 5

Step 6

Back Slats

Predrill and attach the back slats to the back legs. I spaced mine 1 1/2″ apart. For a different look, you can cut an arch shape out or use three 1x2s for back slats.

Step 7

Seat Slats

Predrill two holes in both ends of each seat slat. Then screw the seat slats to the chair frame, with 1/8″ gap (evenly spaced between all seat slats) between seat slats. Use glue.


Becky (not verified)

Mon, 02/14/2011 - 07:40

One of my daughter's broke her $17 chair similar to this over a year ago. She has been asking for a new one ever since, but we just never found one cheap enough that was the size we needed. I found your plans last night and bought the wood today. Exactly $4 at Home Depot if you don't count the jigsaw I threw in, lol. I was tired of using the circular saw and being intimidated by it.

Robin (not verified)

Sun, 02/20/2011 - 10:25

So, wondering how big these need to be to fit under the LoN Kid's elementary table plans? Thanks so much for any help!

Guest (not verified)

Thu, 03/24/2011 - 14:40

Just built this chair, my first building project ever! I'm 21 weeks pregnant and have a 3 year old boy. I've been reading your site for a while now and my son peered over my shoulder, then asked me sweetly to make this chair in blue for him. All I have left is to sand and paint the chair, but it already looks wonderful.

Thanks so much for sharing your story and inspiring others to build! I have a few tears in my eyes (although, the pregnancy hormones may have a little to do with that) and am so proud that I made a chair for my son. My grandpa loved woodworking and he would be so proud of me if he were alive today. After this one's painted, I'll be working on a pink one for the little baby girl that will make her appearance around August.

In reply to by Guest (not verified)


Thu, 03/24/2011 - 17:49

It does feel so great to build something with your own two hands, doesn't it.  I've often felt the same way about our building adventures (the tears - and I don't even have the pregnancy to blame it on :-) )  I had grandparents and uncles that were really into woodworking and it does bring a little something extra to the piece when you can think back on the nostalgia - sort of like filling those shoes that you loved so much.  

Congrats on the new baby, the new build and many more builds to come! Keep up the good work and don't forget to share those pictures!!!  Hugs!

Guest (not verified)

Fri, 05/27/2011 - 17:38

I think for anyone going to build these chairs or anything out of 1x2 and 1x3 material they should buy the higher grade lumber than the cheap stuff. You can see from the photos that the wood is likely to warp or be warped by the time you get them together. Using kiln dried lumber will mitigate this to a significant degree and the chairs will still be both affordable and hand made by you.

BTW, the Kreg jig is great. I can't wait to use it on more of my projects around the home

Paul H. (not verified)

Mon, 11/14/2011 - 13:42

I am making a set of four of these doll sized for some 18" AG dolls.

The over all dimensions are going to be 14 3/4" H (back), 8" H (seat) X 8 1/2" W X 7" D.

The main change for this is using 1 x 4 for the slats on the top of the seat (with no gap). The back slats and apron will still be out of the 1 x 3. The number of "Seat Slats and Back Slats" drops from 8 to 3. The 1 x 4 is new to the cut list for the seat.

Cut List:
3 - 1×3 @ 7" (Front and Side Aprons)
2 - 1×3 @ 7 3/4" (Side Supports)
2 - 1×2 @ 7 1/4" (Front Legs)
3 - 1×3 @ 8 1/2" (Back Slats and Back Apron)
2 - 1×4 @ 8 1/2" (Seat Slats) - NEW
2 - 1×2 @ 14" (Back Legs)

Paul H. (not verified)

Tue, 11/22/2011 - 10:28

I finished assembling the four chairs for 18" dolls last night but made them smaller than my original post stated. The over all dimensions are now 12" H (back), 5 1/2" H (seat) X 6" W X 6 1/2" D

Cut List:
2 - 1×2 @ 4 1/4" (Side Aprons)
2 - 1×2 @ 5" (Side Supports)
3 - 1×2 @ 4 1/2" (Front Legs and Front Apron)
7 - 1×2 @ 6" (4 Seat Slats, 2 Back Slats and Back Apron)
2 - 1×2 @ 12" (Back Legs)

I also made a doll sized version of the table. Once Christmas is over, I will post them on the brag boards. I don't want any picture evidence around before the big reveal...

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