How to Build a DIY Bar Stool

DIY Bar Stool

There are a few reasons you might want to build your own custom DIY bar stool for your seating. Maybe you’re a budding woodworker looking for a challenging furniture project. Or maybe you want to save some money by building it yourself instead of buying it from a store. Or maybe you just prefer the look and feel of a wooden bar stool over one made from other materials.

Whatever your reasons, building a wooden DIY bar stool is a relatively simple process that anyone with basic woodworking skills can handle. This article will walk you through the steps needed to build your own custom bar stool from scratch.

I’ve built this DIY Bar Stool for less than $15 of material. You could make the top any size and shape you want to match your style.

Gather your supplies and tools, and let’s start this easy DIY project.

Bar Stool PDF


This PDF download includes Cut Diagrams, a List of Supplies, and 3D illustrations with detailed steps to build the project. Measurements are in imperial and not metric. Does NOT include SketchUp/CAD files.

The plans are embedded on the webpage for free, but if you would like to support the website, you can pay a small fee to purchase the printable PDFs.

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Bar Stool

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Tools for this project

Material List

Note: Lumber dimensions are listed as nominal size.  See lumber sizes for actual dimensions vs nominal.

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page as well as links in “tools for this project” and “material list” sections are affiliate links.


DIY Bar stool dimensions

Step 1 – Cut DIY Bar Stool Seat Boards

First, start with building the bar stool top seat board. There are several different ways you could do that, depending on what tools you have. If you have a band saw, it would be faster to use 4×4 lumber for the top. But for this tutorial, we’ll use simple tools like a jig saw to cut the curve of the top seat.

Before cutting the lumber, ensure the boards are not warped or twisted. Otherwise, you’ll end up with large gaps between the boards of your top seat.

Take 2×4 lumber and cut eight pieces to 18″ in length.

wood for bar stool

Step 2 – Draw and Cut the DIY Bar Stool Seat Curve

Now take one 18″ long piece and draw the curve of the seat as shown in the picture. If you want the arch of the curve to be deeper or shallower, you could change it to your preference and style.

Once the arch is drawn, clamp the board to your workbench and cut out the curve using a jig saw. Now take this board and trance the curve on the remaining 18″ long pieces. You want to ensure the curve is the same on all seat boards. Then cut the curve on the remaining boards.

top seat for DIY Bar stool

Step 3 – Glue the Seat Boards Together

Before gluing the boards together, take a random orbital sander and sand the sides of the seat boards. This will eliminate any rough edges to prevent large gaps between the boards. Use a planer instead of a random orbital sander if you have a planer. Planer will make the sides of the board straight and smooth.

Now apply wood glue between the boards and clamp them together. Let the glue dry for severely hours, preferably overnight.

Once the wood glue completely dries, cut 1/2″ on both ends of the seat with a skill saw to the final length of 17″. This will make the ends of the seat straight.

Now take your random orbital sander and sand the seat on all sides. Start with 80-grit sandpaper and work your way up to 300-grit.

top seat for bar stool

Step 4 – Cut DIY Bar Stool Legs

There are many different ways to make DIY bar stool legs. You could cut different angles to make the top of the leg thicker and the bottom thinner. Or change the angle or legs to make them spread out more or less. But for this tutorial, we’ll use 2×2 lumber with a few simple angles.

For this step, you will need to use a miter saw that allows you to adjust the bevel and miter angles. So before making any cuts, adjust the saw settings to 5-degree miter and 3-degree bevel (see picture to determine how to adjust bevel and miter angles). Then using this setting cut four legs to 26″ in length.

These angles will allow the legs to spread out more at the bottom, giving the DIY bar stool more stability.

cutting legs for bar stool

Step 5 – Cut Stretcher and Apron Board for the Leg Sets

Now rotate the saw blade bevel angle back to 0 degrees and leave the miter angle at 5 degrees. Then using this setting cut two apron boards to 13″ in length and two stretcher boards to 16″ in length.

Now using a Kreg Jig, drill two pocket holes on each end of the stretcher and apron boards.

cutting wood for bar stool

Step 6 – Assemble the Legs

Before attaching the boards together, take your random orbital sander and sand the legs to eliminate any brought edges. It’s easier to sand boards when they are not attached to each other.

First, take the apron board and attach both legs to it using wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. Then attach the stretcher board. Make sure the pocket holes on the stretcher board are facing down.

Repeat the process for the other leg. Now you should have two sets of legs.

attaching legs to bar stool

Step 7 – Cut Stretcher and Apron Boards for Connecting the Legs

Now rotate the saw blade to 3 degrees and cut two apron boards to 8″ in length and two stretcher boards to 10″ in length. Then drill two pocket holes on each of the boards.

attaching legs sets for bar stool

Step 8 – Attach the Leg Sets to DIY Bar Seat

Take both leg sets and connect them together with apron boards using wood glue and pocket hole screws. Then attach the leg sets to the seat board using 2″ wood screws. Finally, attach the last two stretchers between the legs sets.

attaching legs to seat of DIY Bar stool

Step 9 – Sand and Stain

Take your random orbital sander and go through the entire DIY bar stool with 300-grid sandpaper. Now it’s ready to be stained or painted. If you’re using pine wood, it’s a good idea to pre-stain the wood before applying the stain to prevent blotchiness.

Once you pre-stain the wood, apply a coat or stain and wipe it off with a clean cloth. Let the stain dry for a few hours before applying polyurethane. You will need to lightly sand the wood between the coats of polyurethane to make the final coat smooth.

You are done with the DIY bar stool

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best wood for a bar stool?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as the best wood for a bar stool depends on the specific needs and preferences of the individual. However, some woods that are commonly used for bar stools include pine, cedar, and hardwood.

How do I know if a bar stool is stable?

There are a few things you can look for to determine if a bar stool is stable. First, check to see if the stool is leveled from front to back and side to side. Second, ensure the stool’s legs are evenly spaced and not wobbling. Finally, sit on the stool and try to rock it back and forth.

Can I use a bar stool outdoors?

Yes, you can use a bar stool outdoors, but choosing one made from weather-resistant materials is important. Some woods, like cedar and redwood, are naturally resistant to rot and decay. Other woods, like teak and ipe, can be treated with oils or sealants to provide additional protection from the elements. Metal bar stools are also a good option for outdoor use, as they are typically made from powder-coated steel or aluminum, which helps protect against rust and corrosion.

1 thought on “How to Build a DIY Bar Stool”

  1. I am a novice woodworker and we are remodeling our kitchen. I want to try and make my own bar stools. I live in Arizona and have a wonderful woodworking shop that I have access to all the necessary machinery. I hope that I can complete these plans and have 4 beautiful stools. I plan to put cushions on the top of the seat.


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