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.


kate @ www.bro… (not verified)

Sun, 11/28/2010 - 09:37

Ana, I'm going to try to build these for my son's birthday. One question... do you predrill with the countersink bits for every step or just when your instructions say predrill? This will be my first hand at countersinking and my first real project of yours (I did the pallet shelf but that seemed to easy to count;). I want to get it right.

Jonel (not verified)

Thu, 12/02/2010 - 07:45

Anytime you are going to use a screw you want to countersink the hole first. This allows the screws to go below surface and not stick out above the surface.

Theresa (not verified)

Thu, 12/09/2010 - 19:17

I started this tonight. Cutting went fast. This was the first time using the kreg. I am very disappointed, it was hard to keep clamped and the drill bit kept comming out of the drill. Hoping to make several for Christmas gifts but this is starting to look more like firewood. : ( Anyone else have problems with the kreg? I am using the small one.

Lynne1 (not verified)

Mon, 12/13/2010 - 07:42

This is the project that inspired me. I am using this as my basis for an article on my eco blog. . You are doing more than you know for women. On top of inspiring them to take on projects themselves, you are also giving them an affordable, healthier alternative to cheap plastic sets that off gas in our homes and are bad for our children and families. Finishing items yourself allows you to select low VOC paint. You are a green inspiration too, and you may not even realize. Saving money, saving the planet. I like what you are doing here Ana.

kimber (not verified)

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 20:11

You rock. Thanks so much for all you do.

I'm making these for my daughters for Christmas (these and the table).

I LOVE it!!!

Ellen Farrow (not verified)

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 20:47

I just built this chair, and it was not quite as easy as the table! getting things clamped to be square while getting the back legs on wasnt quite as simple as i had hoped ;) but they are sturdy, and they will look pretty nice once i fill all the holes and paint! I was able to get all the pieces while my daughter napped :)- that's how quickly it went.

Nicky (not verified)

Thu, 12/30/2010 - 07:29

I was wondering what sort of age-range these would be for. I have a 2½ year old and a 7½ year old. I've been looking for the perfect wooden table and chair set for them for what seems like forever now. These looks super cute and easy, but would they be suitable of an older child as well as a toddler?

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