Build a Children’s Lounge Chair

With a little lumber and know-how, you can build this simple, pint-sized chair for the little ones in your life.

| April/May 2019

This lounge chair is the perfect size for kids, and they’ll love having their very own seat.

Here’s a project that’s little in every way. It’s for little people, only takes a little lumber and time to build – and if you have a little experience, it’s a great little project. The chair’s components are cut from three boards, and you’ll need only a handful of tools to build it.

I used cedar because of its superior weather resistance, but you can use treated lumber or even pine if you plan to use this lounge chair indoors. So, let’s roll up our little sleeves and get started.

Materials & Tools

  • One 2-by-6 board, 8 feet long
  • One 2-by-4 board, 8 feet long
  • Two 5/4-by-6-inch deck boards, 8 feet long
  • 1 pound of 2-1/2-inch exterior screws
  • Water-resistant glue
  • Clamps
  • Router with 1/2-inch round-over bit
  • Table saw or circular saw with a straight cutting guide
  • Carpenter pencils
  • Drill
  • Clear exterior finish (optional)

This illustration shows the pieces from the cut list.

Cut List

  • 2 long legs (A), 2 by 4 by 42 inches (long to short of 45 degrees)
  • 2 short legs (B), 2 by 6 by 16-3/4 inches (long to short of 45 degrees)
  • 1 rear seat slat (C), 2 by 6 by 16 inches
  • 1 front seat slat (D), 2 by 6 by 19 inches
  • 7 back slats (E), 5/4 by 2-5/8 by 19 inches
  • 1 back slat, top (F), 5/4 by 5-1/2 by 19 inches
  • 1 footrest (G), 5/4 by 2-5/8 by 19 inches

A side view of the chair, showing the pieces used to build it.

Building Instructions

1. Cut the two 2-by-4 long legs (A) and the two 2-by-6 short legs (B) to length according to the Cut List on Page 52. Position the boards so the short angle of the back leg “kisses” the back edge of the front leg when the bottoms of the boards are aligned. (The “nose” of the 2-by-6 will protrude past the front of the 2-by-4.) Note: The assemblies are mirror images of one another; you won’t want to end up with two left or two right sides! Secure the parts using waterproof glue and exterior screws.

Step 1. Position and attach the long legs to the short legs.

2. Use clamps to hold your leg assemblies upright, then install the two seat boards (C, D). The back board (C) will fit between the front legs, and the front board (D) will sit even with the outside edges of the front legs. Rout the edges of the front board before assembly.

Step 2. Install the two seat boards to the assembled legs.

3. The back slats (E) are made by ripping 5-1/2-inch-wide deck boards in half. Cut the boards to length, rip them down the middle using a table saw or circular saw with a straight cutting guide, then soften the edges using a 1/2-inch round-over router bit. Install the slats using carpenter pencils, about 1/4 inch, as spacers. Pre-drill holes to avoid splitting. Before screwing the slats down, lay them all out on the 2-by-4 back supports and tweak the spacing so the arched top slat (F) winds up in the position shown in the diagram above.

Step 3. Use carpenter pencils to space the back slats evenly.

4. Install the footrest (G), pre-drilling holes to avoid splitting the ends.

Step 4. Pre-drill holes, and then attach the footrest to the chair.

5. Apply a clear exterior finish to retain that rich cedar color.

Spike Carlsen is a master carpenter who’s been immersed in the wonderful world of wood for 30-plus years. These plans are included in his book Building Unique and Useful Kids’ Furniture.



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