Harriet Higher Chair

Submitted by Ana White on Wed, 03/23/2011 - 00:13
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Is your child to old for a high chair, too young for a standard chair, and just the right size for a big phonebook that no one keeps around anymore?  For the cost of a cheapo plastic booster seat, you can build your child a modern higher chair.  This simple sturdy plan is easy to build, features a foot rest and is easy for youngsters to climb up on.  This chair is not meant to replace a high chair, and does not offer the security and safety of a high chair.

How to build a junior chair preschooler child

My only coworker has been complaining quite a bit about her office chair, so I thought it was time to show some appreciation for my number one associate and build her a chair.  She of course, had to help.

Mom, how and I supposed to work if you keep making me take pictures?
This chair is shown with a standard height table (my Big Ur Table if you are looking for plans).  This chair is perfect for preschoolers, who don't need the security of a high chair, but still could use an extra boost.  For sure a luxury if you had to buy such a chair, but in our DIY world where all things are possible on the smallest of budgets, why buy a plastic booster seat when you can make a mod style solid wood chair for the same cost?  And this chair is really cool because the base supports act as a step up, so children can seat themselves at the table.
This chair is of course a modified version of our Harriet Chair.  
But before we get to the plans, I wanted to take a minute to share with you an amazing amazing amazing resource for finishing furniture projects.  I will be the first to admit that building is the easy part, and finishing can be so challenging.  And I often find that even the most discouraging projects can become the most beautiful with the right finish.
But it's always been a challenge for me to supply the best possible information on finishes.  Building has always been my focus, and I still get nervous every time I pull out a paint brush, despite painting hundreds of pieces of furniture.  
When my friend Shaunna, an expert on finishing furniture, mentioned that she was writing an ebook about finishing, I couldn't wait to read it.  But when I finally did, I was blown away by the photos, the videos, the details, and most of all the furniture and the finishes.  
I've learned so much from this book, and was delighted to find even a section just for us!  So if you get a chance, I hope you take a second to check out Shaunna's ebook, Creating Your Masterpiece.
Here are just a few of the photos of the finishes and techniques Shaunna goes through in the Creating Your Masterpiece.
And Shaunna even made this table modified from our plans and finished it.  Love the shelf!
And one more photo.  You can find Creating Your Masterpiece here.

And now, if I haven't lost you, the plans!
This chair is child sized, for an adult sized table. Could be modified to an bar stool with modifications to height and depth


Shopping List

2 - 2x2 @ 8 feet long

1 - 1x12 @ 15" long
1 - 1x6 @ 15" long
Common Materials
2 inch screws
2 1/2 inch screws
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Cut List

2 - 2x2 @ 8 1/4" - one end at 10 degrees off square, shortest point

2 - 2x2 @ 10 1/16" - one end at 10 degrees off square, shortest point
2 - 2x2 @ 21 5/16" - both ends at 10 degrees off square, parallel to each other
2- 2x2 @ 21" (Front Legs)
2 - 2x2 @ 12" (Front Support/Apron)
1 - 1x12 @ 15" (Seat)
2 - 2x2 @ 19" (Back Supports)
1 - 2x2 @ 9" (Back Base)
1 - 1x6 @ 15" (Backrest)
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Miter Saw
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Begin by building two of the above pieces. Make sure both match exactly. Use with either 2 1/2" screws countersunk and glue or 2 1/2" pocket hole screws.

Step 2

Join the two sides with the front apron/support as shown above. Use the same screws and glue.

Step 3

Now the top. This time you will need to use 2" screws so the screws don't poke through the seat. Also screw the side aprons to the seat.

Step 4

Now build the back. Go back to the 2 1/2" fasteners. Adjust for square.

Step 5

Step 6

Finally, adjust the seat rest to fit in the seat back. Measure, use a level at the top, and screw in place. I actually sat my daughter in the chair to get the support just right.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.


Kate (not verified)

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 06:09

Love this one!  I don't  have any kids yet, but I'm going to suggest this to my sister in law.  She has a little one who is too big for a high chair and refuses to sit in the "baby" (booster) seat.  Might be a perfect solution!

Nichole (not verified)

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 06:40

I love this... Those cheapo plastic boosters ruined the finish on my chairs last time... I am so going to build this when my baby is in that stage.


Wed, 03/23/2011 - 07:23

I'd seen the boosterless booster chair at <insert big Swedish furniture maker here> before and though, what an awesome idea.  Of course, since I've had kids, I've completely forgotten about it.  Now I'm going to have to go build myself at least one of these, maybe more.  My kids will love you!

maura (not verified)

Wed, 03/23/2011 - 07:52

I JUST bought a chair of this size from <smasumur knows what Swedish mega store I'm talking about>.  Less than a week ago!  I should have known better!

Your co-worker is adorable, BTW.  And she wears the same hairstyle as my coworker ;)


Wed, 03/23/2011 - 20:39

I so need one of these.  Thank you for posting the plans.  As I read, I remembered that my husband's grandmother called her vintage version of this the "junior chair".  And it fits. :)

LauraDST (not verified)

Fri, 06/08/2012 - 17:40

Looking at comments on this chair and saw your cute picture and smiled. So should I just have the hubby make a bunch of these?

Guest (not verified)

Tue, 03/29/2011 - 14:21

I have been looking at your plans longingly without actually building anything because I'm quite the novice.  When I saw the plans for the Harriet chair though, I thought, maybe now's the time...and how can I modify that to make it a little higher for my 3 year old?  Thanks for not making me tweek it one bit!

Guest (not verified)

Wed, 04/13/2011 - 05:44

I can't wait till the snow is all melted and I can make a few of these projects.  My girls are going to be spoiled rotten :D  Thanks Ana for all your work.  MUCH appreciated!!!

Chad (not verified)

Thu, 12/08/2011 - 09:20

I built four of these chairs last weekend to go along with a large crafting table I am builing for my six-year-old daughter for Christmas. Paying $40-60 each for four chairs was simply out of the question. I saw these plans and they matched the design of the table project better than anything I had seen in stores. The simple design and low cost were great added benefits! The build was quick and easy, and after filling all of the seams, screw holes and end grains (and LOTS of sanding), the finished product looks great. I can't wait to see the look on my daughter's face and I'm sure these chairs will last for many years to come!

On a side note, I did have one minor issue with the build that was eaisly solved by picking up and extra 2x2. The shopping list calls for 2-2x2x8 (192 board inches) but the cut dimensions equal 192.25 board inches. Try as I might, I couldn't get my board stretcher to work, so I opted to purchase an extra stick. That drove my total cost per chair to a "whopping" $10.25...including the finish! I was able to build 4 chairs for about the same cost as one of the lower-priced "store-bought" chairs. Thanks for the plans and keep up the good work!