How to Make Bar Stools

Hi fellow DIY’ers! A while back I created plans for an outdoor patio bar with a concrete top. I promised a follow up video and tutorial on how to build super simple bar stools. So… here it is! I modified plans from Georgia over at MoreLikehome.net to fit my patio bar. The main modifications I made were to the overall height and to how the seat boards attach. Click here to check out Georgia’s detailed plans and drawings! Our tutorials will show you how to make bar stools with just a few tools and materials. Please download her plans and feel free to use my drawings as reference if you’d like to build the bar stools that are the right height and the matching set for the patio bar tutorial in episode 15.

DIY Bar Stool Plans

 

Bar Stool Tool List:

The links for tools listed in this post are affiliate links. This means that by purchasing the tools and going through the links you are helping support more free projects and DIY videos on DIYPETE.com. Thank you for your support 🙂

Miter Saw – Optional
Orbital Sander
Drill
Kreg Jig
Clamps (Optional) Use my JackClamp coupon code to get $5 off any order over $50 –Code: DIYPETE5
Pencil
Tape Measure
Safety Glasses, Ear Protection, and Rubber Gloves, Paint Brush

Shopping List:

QTY: 4   – 2x4x8 Cedar Lumber
QTY: 1   – Box of blue 2 1/2 inch Kreg Screws
QTY: 1   – Box of 2 1/2 inch Wood Screws
QTY: 1   – Exterior Grade Wood Glue (I use the Gorilla Glue Brand)
QTY: 1   – Helmsman Spar Urethane from Minwax

DIY PETE BARStep 1: Cut

Use a miter saw, circular saw, or hand saw to cut the lumber for the bar stool.

Cut List:

Overall Chair Dimmensions: 18″ wide, 42″ tall, 16″ deep   — Seat height 30″

Qty 2: 42″ (back legs)
Qty 2: 28 1/2″ (front legs)
Qty 6: 11″ (back and front boards)
Qty 4: 13″ (side boards)
Qty 2: 14 1/2″ (outside seat boards)
Qty 3: 16″ (inside seat boards)
Qty 2: 15″ (seat supports)

Bar Stool PlansStep 2 – Drill Pocket Holes

Drill pocket holes in all of the boards except the legs and seat boards. Use a Kreg Jig and set it to the 1 1/2 inch setting on both the jig and the stop collar on the bit.

How to use a kreg jigStep 3 – Assemble!

Use 2 1/2 inch Kreg Screws to attach the front and rear sections of the chair.  I’d recommend using wood glue as well.
Kreg Jig ScrewsHere is a diagram showing how the front and rear ladders are constructed.
Patio Bar Stool Plans

Bar Stool MeasurementsNext attach the four side boards. This will connect the front ladder to the rear ladder. Use a clamp to hold the boards together if needed. I have a set of JackClamps that I use for most projects.

Jack Clamps

Patio Bar Chair PlansUse 2 1/2 inch kreg screws to attach the two 15 inch seat supports. Once complete, attach the seat boards to the supports from the underside using 2 1/2 inch wood screws. Prior to attaching the seat boards you can lay them out evenly on the top side and glue into place. Let the glue dry and then flip it upside down to attach the boards with the 2 1/2 inch screws. This will make it easy to space out the boards. Plus, you won’t have screw holes showing from the top side.

Pocket Holes

DIY PETE Bar Stools Build

Free Bar Stool PlansStep 4 – Seal or Stain!

Protect and make your new bar stools shine by brushing on a couple coats of Helmsman Spar Urethane from Minwax. If you’d prefer another color or added protection I’d recommend using a deck or fence stain.

Sealing Wood with Minwax

Sealing outdoor furnitureThank you for stopping by to check out the super simple bar stool tutorial! Please share and pin this project if you liked it or inspired you to start creating. Thank you! – Pete

Lastly, if you want to learn how to make the matching bar and concrete top please check out the downloadable plans! I created the plans because I was having a hard time finding ideas and plans to make a unique bar to put out on my deck. So, I did something about it and created the most in-depth video and tutorial online about how to make a cedar patio bar with a concrete top and LED lights. For the FREE printable plans with all the dimensions and even more details simply enter your email address below!

Download the Free Patio Bar Plans. Click here or on the image below. 

  • aidil jazmi
    • DIYPETE

      Absolutely beautiful work Aidil! I am impressed!

  • Pingback: Building bar height stool and table – aidilj worklog()

  • Billy McGivern

    Pete,

    I made these bar stools and they turned out great! I put together a CAD package I wanted to share with anyone else thinking about making these. It made my process a hell of a lot easier. Hope this helps!

    https://cad.onshape.com/documents/ed256b7d2164a1981d6ff658/v/819e524ca33d0b9d58c71df6/e/427f12f058a9f0d1e393cb51

    It requires the user to make an account on OnShape.

    Thanks again,

    Billy

    • jason galloway

      How do I print this? I sign in, but when I print, its just a blank page

  • Eric

    Hi,

    Stools look great! Going to attempt this but dont have the kreg jig.. Thinking of going from the sides and drilling jnto the center pieces instead, sinking them in, then filling with wood filler. Should keep up the same strength right?

    Also, how heavy did these stools turn out to be?

    • DIYPETE

      Hey Eric! You can definitely use your method. — as for weight, They are easy to move around, but won’t blow down in the wind. They are a bit heavy but not bad. Cheers

  • Brad Martens

    Which sizes of boards are cut together? Basically are the front and back legs cut on the same 2×4? What’s the combination of each of the pieces per 2×4?

    • DIYPETE

      Hey Brad! All the boards are out of 2×4’s — I cut the legs first – followed by the shorter boards. I didn’t do a cut diagram for this project as it was one of the earlier projects on the site — but I’d say to take a few minutes to sketch out a diagram to see the most efficient way to make the cuts ( using 96″ long 2×4 boards ) — have fun with the project!

      • Brad Martens

        Thanks for the reply. I ended up figuring out the best way and did the project this week. Mother’s Day present. They turned out great. She loved them. I made two stools. Thanks again

        • DIYPETE

          Great job Brad!

  • Brad Martens

    Which sizes of boards are cut together? Basically are the front and back legs cut on the same 2×4? What’s the combination of each of the pieces per 2×4?

  • C PM

    Hello Pete,

    Just drop by to post a pic of the bar stools I got finished giving rapid coat of Helmsman Spar Urethane last Sunday before Monday’s snow storm.

    Now, The only thing missing is the lighting which I’ve need to reinstall due to a new ceramic top.

    Those bar stools are comfortable. I’ve made bottom foot-rest a little bit higher to make it more reachable.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/664641a449c601228446fa74e39fb11ab4e1d083dda1b164427b2a57325f0e47.jpg

    Many thanks to you!

    • DIYPETE

      Looks so great! WOW!!!

  • Chris Campbell

    Hello pete…these bar stools are the first wooden things ive created…ever… they turned out better than i couldve imagined in my tiki hut here in fl. After creating these i created my own matching table. Im so stoked about it & i will be building more soon i will definitely be checking all of your plans online…cant thank u enough chris..fl

    • DIYPETE

      Hey Chris! I have to say I’m super jealous of your tiki hut setup. It is amazing, and even a flat screen to watch football — I love it! I’m very excited you are getting the woodworking bug and having fun with it. Your first projects came out fantastic. Keep up the great work and cheers from Big Sky Country! – Pete

  • Chad Gibbs

    I’ve really been getting into these DIY projects lately. I finished my bar last week and tonight I made the bar stools. I made some modifications to the bar because my plans called for a kegerator and wine fridge. My bar is 7′ long and that concrete top weighs in around 375lbs. I used 6 caster wheels but they are over max but doing ok.

    • DIYPETE

      Hey Chad! That is a heck of a good looking bar. Awesome how you added a kegerator and wine fridge as well. Thanks for sharing, and have fun hosting some awesome BBQ’s this fall! Cheers

  • svpike

    Well this was my 1st attempt at building anything. Thank you for the ideal. I was looking for something that would not break the wallet and this fit the bill. I adjusted the plans a bit to fit what I was looking for and made the table. I really enjoyed this so much I added the deck you sort of see as well. These were a bit heavy so I add some high grade wood to wood sliders and now they are easy to move around without marking the deck! Love this site and might try the farmer table next! I need to make use out of the Kreg Jig!

    • DIYPETE

      The table and chairs look fantastic! I love the backs and armrests to. Great job!

  • Виолетта Матросова

    Looks quite nice!!! I want to make the same ones for my grill area, but how to make a seat like this https://www.tractorstool.com/ ?

  • Amy Freeqgirl Smith

    Hi Pete. We are going to build the stools first for inside with cedar as we have built a custom cedar island countertop!! I cant wait and thank you for sharing this!!

    • DIYPETE

      Hi Amy! Wow, that island countertop sounds amazing. I can’t wait to see everything together!

      • Amy Freeqgirl Smith

        Here’s the top. I am in love with it. Cant wait to get the stools done and i will show you as soon as we got em. 🙂 i am thinking we will be keeping some live edge on the stools as well, but we’ll see what the hubby decides. 🙂

        • DIYPETE

          Beautiful cedar top. Love it!

  • Sunil Thotakura

    Hi Pete, Sunil from San Diego… thanks for sharing your plans. I built the following counter height bar stools for my BBQ island. I modified the plan a bit though. Thanks for the inspiration for my first outdoor DIY project.

    • Those chairs look amazing! I love the modifications too. Thanks so much for sharing Sunil! Hope all is well in Sunny San Diego. Cheers – Pete

  • Chris Walton

    Not yet stained or sealed, but I rounded off the seat boards with a router and extended the back height to 47″. I also made a padded cushion, as this is for my home office that has counter-height desks. 2 more will be made this way. I’m thinking of making one with arms rests as well by extending the back/front boards to 18″ & expanding the seat by 2 2×4’s, to allow for the arm rests

    • This looks great! Thanks for sharing Chris. The added cushions are a great addition!

  • Shun May

    I just built a table ( 60l 27 3/4w 35 3/4) height would theses stools be the right size or do I need to change the measurements

    • DIYPETE

      Thanks for reaching out Shun! Sounds like you’ve got a nice pub style table that you’ve made, here. A good rule of thumb with stools or chairs is to have them 9-12″ less than the height of your table. My stools here are 28 1/2″ tall, so they might be a bit tall for your 35 3/4″ tall table. I’d recommend simply adjusting some dimensions here to make your stools about 24-26 inches tall. Best of luck!

  • Mike Ozohonish

    Pete, I just tried one if these out for my island where my kids eat all the time. I modified the seat height down to 27″ due to my island height. We had round store bought maple stools but they didn’t last…JUNK. These ones I believe could survive a natural disaster…LOL. I haven’t stained and finished them yet because I wanted to just make one to see how I liked it. Everyone loved em! $15 each. I think that island might have to turn into concrete now 🙂 Now I have to start on that bar project I was emailing you about.

    Thanks again for all your advice!

    • DIYPETE

      Mike, thanks for sharing this with us! Wow, your stool turned out great, think you need to add another as well. Looks great! Best of luck on all of your projects and thanks for reaching out/sharing this with us. Cheers!

  • Bill A

    What is the weight limit on these stools?

    • DIYPETE

      Hey Bill, I’m not 100% sure what the weight limit is. They are built out of 2x4s and are solid. Best of luck! Cheers

  • nathan p

    Working on the bar stools, their turning out good. Congratulations to the winner of Rayobi saw!

  • Rommel

    Hi Pete, this is Rommel from California. I bought all the materials and tools needed to build the bar stools but was a little stumped on the type of wood screws to buy. I can either by the 2 1/2 wood screws in a #6, #8, or #10. I bought the #8, will that work? Thanks, I’m looking forward to getting started.

  • Steel Head

    Hello Pete, thanks so much for the plans. I made the bar stools, and the bar and followed your plans very easily. Modified a bit, but came out AWESOME. Just want to a thank you, much appreciated. …CHEERS

    • Steel Head

      More pics…..thanks again!

    • McKayla

      What type of stain did you use on your stools? I love that color!

      • Steel Head

        Thanks McKayla! I used the minwax honey color. It looked a lot lighter on the sample. But I’m glad it came out darker, it’s exactly what I wanted!

        • I love the color too. Great job Steel and thanks for chiming in to help out McKayla 🙂 Have fun with your project McKayla!

    • Hi Steel! You totally rocked your bar and chairs project. I love it!!! Thank you so much for sharing and keep the projects coming!

    • Dale Osselborn

      Fellow Steeler fan here!!! Your bar looks amazing! How long did you end up making it and how did you make the countertop modification?

  • kelsey

    Did anyone make these stools for 36″ counter height, roughly about 25-27″ tall stools?

    • Hi Kelsey! I know a few people have made them for counter height vs bar height and adjusted the seat height.

  • Ed

    Made 8 of these and they are awesome!
    I made them from 8ft pine 2×4’s and they are 12 bucks each. (Rather than 100.00)
    Here is the cut list to make them from 4- 8ft 2×4’s
    1) 42, 42, 11
    2) 28.5, 28.5, 13, 13, 11
    3) 16, 16, 16, 15, 15, 14.5
    4) 11, 11, 11, 11, 13, 13, 14.5

    12 BUCKS!!! plus stain….
    Used a Behr dark deck stain/sealer for the finish.
    Now to finish the bar top and som dark grout!

    Nice project, had to come back and post a great big thank you. The wife loves them and saved me almost a grand!
    Ed

    • Ed

      FYI, poured concrete bar top with bullnose edges, from concretecountertopsolutions.com Not a plug, just advising in case someone asks.

      The full bullnose worked awesome and snapped off as advertized.

    • Hi Ed! WOW. You bar and bar stools look great. I really like the stain you chose for the chairs — and the concrete bar is going to be the talk of the party! Congrats on a job well done : )

  • Darko j

    here is the 10′ cutlist…did I miss some cuts? or something else?

  • Darko j

    here is the 8′ cutlist

    • Thanks for letting me know about my error in the cut list Darko! I appreciate it. It’s been updated on the site. Cheers!

  • Darko j

    Just wondering when I punch all the cuts into a cut calculator..its showing 97+” of loss? when using 8’ers it was way more efficient?? Why all the waste? http://jonathan.overholt.org/projects/cutlist

    • Hey Darko!! Wow, THANK YOU for catching my Typo. Yes, you certainly could accomplish this with 2x4x8’s — And I did. I just made a mistake when typing. Thank you so much for letting me know about this. You rock!

  • Erica Slusher

    Hi Pete! I am a Special Education teacher in Florida. I have students that are 18-22 who will be participating in Career Exploration next year and experiencing different jobs every month. In September, we are going over Construction. I inherited a new classroom with high tables and no bar stools. I was thinking it would be a great opportunity to have the kids make some stools. I’ve already spoken to Home Depot and they are donating wood and will cut everything to size. This is the PERFECT plan for my students; however, I don’t have a Kreg Jig and don’t have access to one. Can I do this plan using longer & thicker nails and no Kreg Jig? I know more nails will show all over the bar stool considering I would need to nail from the outside but that doesn’t really matter to me. The kids will be painting them anyway:)

    Any suggestion would be helpful! Thank you!

    • Hi Erica! That is so neat you are a special education teacher and that you are going to get them into woodworking / construction. You are going to inspire them and they’ll love it!

      You can definitely do this without a Kreg Jig, and since you are painting them the screw heads won’t be a big deal anyway. When you are connecting a board and have to go through the long side of a 2×4 — you could use real long screws but the cost will add up a bit. Instead, I’d recommend drilling pilot holes and then toe-nailing the boards in. This is where you are drilling in at an angle — so you can get away with standard 3 1/2 inch or so screws.

      Let me know how the project goes. I’d love to see some project photos. Or a photo of the students with their new furniture would be super cool. Good luck and have fun. Keep in touch!! – Pete

      • Ed

        Got my Kreg Jig from Harbor Freight tools. Half the price of other places.

        • I’m always looking for recommendations to provide and wasn’t aware of a similar jig. I see Harbor Freight has a knockoff for $67.99 which is their brand. Is this what you have Ed?

          • Ed

            Yes sir. There happens to be one across the street from my office.

            • Cool! Thanks for recommendation for a similar type jig! Also, your bar and bar stools turned out amazing. Congrats!!

  • Dan

    Hey Pete,
    Amazing plans! I just finished my bar and am planning on starting the stools soon. I made a wood top instead of the concrete. So pumped to have it in the back yard!!

    • LOVE THE WOOD TOP Dan!!! That bar looks awesome and I’m sure will be put to good use:) Congrats on the build and have fun entertaining. Cheers! – Pete

  • Jim

    Any suggestions on what I can put on the bottom of the legs? will be going outside on our pool deck. Think with moving them around on the acrylic decking it might damage it.

    • Mine are on Treks decking and have not had any issue with scratching etc. However, if the acrylic decking scratches easy, go with some thin rubber pads on each leg. Felt pads will fall right off with rain/weather but the rubber pads seem to do okay. Let me know if that helps!

  • Todd Michael Elario

    Hi Pete! I am new to your site, I would love a set of the plans for the matching bar to the cedar bar stools. Thanks! Good work!

  • Sean

    Your patio bar plans are awesome and easy to follow. Waiting on warm weather to pour the concrete. My outside bar is coming along nicely, thanks to your plans. Thanks!

    • Hey Sean! So awesome man. Great job and thanks so much for sharing the project photos. Can’t wait to see what you make next. Cheers! – Pete

  • Ken LeVan

    Pete, I made one of these bar stools last weekend out of pine to have a place to sit at my workbench. Thanks for the plans and instructions. Everything worked out perfectly. It was my first time using the Kreg jig for the pocket holes but that is practically fool proof as long as you have your settings right.
    My stool is a lot heavier than it looks. I wondered if there is a significant weight difference between cedar and pine.
    Thanks again!

    • Hey Ken,

      Thanks for comment. I’m so glad the bar stools turned out for ya. There is not a huge difference in weight unless the boards have a lot of moisture in them. I’ve picked up pine boards from the lumber yard that seemed to weigh twice as much as a properly kiln dried board. So moisture can play a big role. But generally I’d say cedar and pine are pretty comparable. The various species can all have different densities as well.

  • Jeffrey Nudd

    Pete- I am going to (attempt) this project this weekend. I would like to paint them white for my kitchen, and hide the wood grain. I can’t seem to find anything online for how to accomplish- any suggestions? Do I just need to prime/sand a few times? Thanks!

    • Hey Jeff! Since they are going inside I would use pine instead of cedar to save a few bucks. I would use an orbital sander to smooth things out. I’d finish with about a 220 grit paper. As for painting — I always prime before hand with white so the grain is hidden and the paint is even. Since you are already painting them white you can use the paint as the primer and do 2 to 3 coats. ( 2 will probably do just fine). I like to seal the paint so they wipe clean and don’t get dirty so fast — especially when I use white paint) — So I’d recommend using either a spray sealer or brush on that won’t give it a yellow hue. Good luck!

      • Jeffrey Nudd

        I was thinking the exact same, especially on the sealing at the end… Thank you, very helpful! I will let you know how they turn out!

        • Panos

          Jeff, How did painting them white turn out? I’m considering doing the same thing. Any pics?

          • Jeffrey Nudd

            Sorry I didn’t get a notification on this! Came out great. Used polycrylic to seal and they are still as white as ever. Did it work out for you?

    • Melissa Buonato

      Use solid color wood stain

  • andrewkr80

    When attaching the four side boards to the front and rear ladder, a 2-1/2″ screw is too long and will go through the leg. I used 1-1/2″ Kreg screws instead.

    • Hi Andrew! Did you have the the 1 and 1/2inch setting for both the stock on the jig and on the bit? I was able to do the 2 1/2 inch screws for all pocket holes. I just did a test and see that I have about a 1/4 inch to spare before being too long. Was the stock you used thinned down at all or less than 1 1/2 inches thick on any of the boards? Glad you were able to make it work and build the chairs Andrew!! Cheers – Pete