How to Build a Simple Modern Outdoor Chair

John Malecki

How to Build a Simple Modern Outdoor Chair

Ditch Your DIY Outdoor Chair Plans for this Simple, Timeless Piece

min read
Aug 29, 2018

I recently took a trip out to Joshua Tree, California with my podcast companion, Brad Rodriguez. We met up with the guys from the Modern Maker Podcast, Ben Uyeda and Mike Montgomery, to  hang out and build for the week. While spending the week ‘bro-ing out,’ I figured - when in Rome - I should do as the Modern Makers do and take on a project. So I came up with simple outdoor chair plans using some of the scraps leftover from Ben and Mike’s recent builds. I gotta say, for a one day build, this piece turned out sharp -- and was super easy to build.

Because I was away from my shop, I didn’t have my typical lineup of tools and had the opportunity to try out some new ones. I tackled these outdoor chair plans using scraps and the Lincoln Electric Weld Pack 140 instead of my standard 210MP. I also welded Flux Core instead of gas and solid core MIG wire. This is the simplest form of MIG welding you can do - no gas, no fuss, just run and gun - which made this build smooth and quick. I also was fortunate that Brad was there and brought some tools from RIDGID -  especially the table saw and 9″ grinder. I recommend both if you’re going to be tackling a project like this.

Check it out! Use these DIY outdoor chair plans for building an accent chair or two or adding some personality to your outdoor dining set.

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Project Overview

One-Day DIY Outdoor Chair Plans 

  1. Create a Scaled Drawing
  2. Cut Your Metal Chair Sides
  3. Bevel, Tack, and Weld the Chair Base
  4. Cut and Route the Wooden Seat and Back
  5. Finish the Wood and Metal
  6. Final Build Up

What You’ll Need


  • Square Metal Tubing
  • Wood for the Seat and Back
  • Metal Finishes - I used self-etching primer and white enamel
  • Wood Finish - I used teak oil because it’s water-resistant and great for outdoor furniture


My DIY Outdoor Chair Plans: the Step-by-Step

Create a Scaled Drawing

I decided to start this project off with a to-scale drawing of the base metal. This allowed me to lay out the shape of the chair sides so that I would know which angles to cut and avoid wasting metal. Luckily enough, my ruler itself was two inches wide and made it super easy for my to trace out the size I wanted.

Cut Your Metal Chair Sides

I started with 45-degree cuts around the corners of the base. I started these cuts with a handheld angle grinder and finished with my chopsaw. When cutting the angles for the chair’s back, first decide which angle you want to lean on. Angle your saw edge to its complementary angle and cut the tubing.

Bevel, Tack, and Weld the Chair Base

Before welding together the metal base, bevel your edges for a sturdy weld. You’ll also want to tack all of your welds before doing a full weld to ensure that all of your angles fit together perfectly. Once everything looks right, weld with the Lincoln Electric Weld Pack 140. Clean up your welds with an angle grinder for a smooth, seamless look.

Cut and Route the Wooden Seat and Back

Next, cut the wood for the seat and back of the chair. I did this using some scrap look I found. Once cut, I made a countersink for the screws and routed out curves on the edges of the wood for a more comfortable seat.

Finish the Wood and Metal

Before the final built up, you’ll want to add finishes to both your metal and wood. I first cleaned off the metal base with some acetone and primed it with a self-etching primer. From there, I sprayed it with a white enamel finish for long-lasting, quality color. I rubbed down the wood with teak oil because it’s water-resistant and perfect for natural-looking outdoor furniture.

Final Build Up

One your metal and wood have the finishes applied, it’s time for final build up. I measured the space between each of the wood panels, muscle-ing in screws with my impact driver. For the back, it helps to use a clamp for each piece.

And there you have it -- my DIY outdoor chair plans. If you liked this build, check out some of my other recent home projects:

Download the Plan

Want to try this build out for yourself? Download the digital plan now for step-by-step instructions, measurements, and a detailed look at how to punch this project in the face.

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min read
Aug 29, 2018
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John Malecki

I used to be an offensive lineman in the NFL, Now I run my own furniture business and am completely self taught. In my videos and posts you'll see a variety of wood and metal work as well as some tips and tricks. Enjoy!