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How to Build a DIY Wooden Chair for Kids

Teach your kids woodworking skills while they build this awesome chair! Perfect for the Cub Scout Webelos and Arrow of Light Build It adventure.

how to build a chair

Our local day camp does awesome Cub Scout woodworking building projects!  Each rank does a different project, so if a Scout comes all five years that they are eligible, they will have constructed five unique wood items.

Here's a list of the projects by rank:

A few years ago, I posted a picture on my Facebook page of some chairs that our Arrows of Light made at our day camp.  It got an overwhelming response with several requests for the plans.  I'll share those below, so keep reading!

When you first look at this chair, you'll probably say, “that looks so uncomfortable!”  But, you'll be in for a surprise–it's actually very comfortable.

working on wood projects

Adventures Involving Building

In the Cub Scout program, there are three adventures that involve building something out of wood. 

Tiger Adventure – My Tiger Jungle 5:  Build and hang a birdhouse.

Bear Adventure – Baloo the Builder 3:  Assemble your materials, and build one useful project and one fun project using wood.

Webelos & AOL Elective Adventure – Build It 2:  With the guidance of your Webelos den leader, parent, or guardian, select a carpentry project and build it.

cub scout chairs

Chair Plans

You can download the chair project instructions and diagrams by entering your email below.

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Chair Costs

Some folks asked about the cost, so I calculated it by using the Home Depot online prices. Some of these are the prices for a portion of a larger quantity. 

kids woodworking projects

For example, we need 12′ of 1″ x 6″ pine which comes in 8′ lengths, so I included the price for 1 1/2 boards.  I also checked the number of screws in a 5 lb. bucket, figured out how many chairs we could make with one bucket, and divided the total cost by the number of chairs.  This gave me the cost per chair.

  • 28′ of 2″ x 4″ pine – $9.21
  • 12′ of 1″ x 6″ pine – $15.18
  • 22 – 2 1/2″ screws – $1.66
  • 16 – 4″ screws – $1.96
  • 42 – 6d nails – $1.04

The total is $29.04 per chair.  Remember, this would be the retail price.

There are ways to get the lumber cheaper than these retail prices, so don't let the cost discourage you!

Most of the major retailers will give you a discount.  I would also encourage you to check with your local lumber yards where you might be able to get a larger discount.

Sometimes, the home improvement centers will have cast off pieces of wood that they will give you.  If you're only making a few chairs, this might be an option. 

Check on Craigslist for someone wanting to get rid of leftover wood.  Ask people you know if anyone has recently built a deck and has extra wood.

How Long Does it Take to Build the Chair

wooden chair project

We have a five-day camp.  In the past, each rank went to wood for one 50 minute session a day.  A couple of years ago, Charlotte, our wood shop manager, suggested that we change that. 

Now, each rank goes for two back-to-back 50 minute sessions on two consecutive days.  The Arrows of Light often need an additional session (or half session) to finish up.

We start our very first session with a safety talk, and that time is included.  So, I would estimate that it will take your AoLs about 4 1/2 or 5 hours to do this project.

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Tips

I was involved in our day camp for 8 years, and we learned many things–usually the hard way!  🙂  Here are a few of them.

  • This Cub Scout wood project is best for older Scouts.  It's for our Arrows of Light.  It might work for Webelos, but I'm not sure I would have scouts who are any younger making the chair.
  • Pre-cut the wood. Since we have 200 kids at our camp, there are usually a couple of wood cutting parties before camp.
  • Pre-drill holes.  Make sure the holes are big enough.
  • Have plenty of helpers.  We are fortunate that our local Scouts BSA troops are willing to help.  We send a lot of them to the wood shop.
  • Have plenty of drills for the helpers to use.  Even with pre-drilled holes, the Cub Scouts are likely to need help screwing in the screws.  Note:  BSA Guidelines do not permit the use of power tools by Cub Scouts.
  • The Cub Scouts should write their names and den numbers in crayon on all of their wood pieces as soon as they get them.
  • You'll want to keep your lumber under a tent, if possible.  In past years, the National Guard loaned us “GP Mediums” (large canvas tents) under which to store the wood.
  • Be patient!  Or at least as patient as you can be in the heat with a bunch of kids hammering around you.  🙂
  • Let the parents know what day the Scouts will complete their project so that they can bring a larger vehicle to pick up the chairs or make arrangements for another parent to pick up their child's chair.
wood projects in tent
These big tents are great for storing the wood.

This project is probably a little more pricey and takes a little longer than you might like.  But I encourage you to tackle it

The Cub Scouts are so proud of their chairs (and the parents are too!).  If you visit the homes of many of our former day camp participants, you're likely to find those chairs sitting on the front porch years after they were madeThey're definitely keepers.

Leave a comment below if you do this project with your Cub Scouts.  Even better, post a picture of your chair on my Facebook page.  Looking forward to seeing them!

Yours in Scouting,
Sherry

P.S. Be sure to check out the plans for our other Cub Scout wood projects. 

wood chair project

Jason England

Friday 30th of October 2020

Is this site still active? Looking for the wooden chest and chair plans but dont seem to get a response.

Sherry Smothermon-Short

Friday 30th of October 2020

Hi, Jason! Yes, the site is very much active. You should have gotten an email asking you to confirm your email subscription. After that, you will be taken directly to the download. If you didn't get that email, please check your spam folder. If it isn't in your spam folder, please email me at [email protected], and I'll send it to you. Thanks for reading!

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