Child's Chair

Originally from 'Children's Play Furniture' by Woman's Day Magazine - 1960

This is one of my favorite plans, it is easily modified and the kids really enjoy the chair. I have made some modifications to the original plan.

Original Plan as it appeared in 1960

Measured Exploded Drawing of Child's Chair

Note that in 1960 a 1x12 was 11 ½" wide, it is now 11 ¼".

A Modifications

Isometric Drawing of Chair with arms

Parts List

No 2 Pine throughout

Original Piece
Part Th. W. Len.  
Back ¾" 11 ¼" 15 ½"  
(2) Sides ¾" 11 ¼" 14 ½"  
Back ¾" 11 ¼" 11" 1:10 bevel at one end
The modifications
(2) Cleats ¾" 1 ¾" 6 ½"  
Front Panel ¾" 3 ½" 11 ¼"  
(2) Arm Blanks ¾" 3 ½" 15" 1:10 bevel at one end


Basic Chair

Use 1x12 #2 pine for this chair. Cut the parts to length. Round the corners where indicated. Cut out the hand hole. Assemble using glue and screws. Sand well and paint.



The cleats on the side are made from ripped 1x4. None of the cleat dimensions are critical. They are mostly there to help with assembly.

I assemble the chair by attaching the cleats to each side at the proper height. I then clamp the two sides to each other with the seat and the back in place. After putting the back flush with the seat bevel, I adjust the horizontal placement so that the back just catches the upper corner of the sides. I then screw the sides to the back. I then put a screw through the back into the seat while pressing the seat against the cleats. Two more screws through the back will draw the seat tight to the back. Finally I screw through the sides into the seat.

Front Panel

The front panel is a 1x4 cut to length and attached through the sides with screws. It is purely decorative. It has no functional purpose.


The arms are an optional addition. If you add arms, omit the 1 ½" rounding on the side pieces. Draw a design on a 1x4 and cut it out with a saber saw. Sand the curve smooth and use one arm as a template for the other. Make sure that they taper to ¾" at the back to fit on top of the sides. Then just screw them on top of the sides.


The reason I like this chair so much is that it is easy to make a special chair for a kid.

My four year old brother-in-law, got measured, came to the lumber yard and selected the wood with me. He got to use one of those funny square pencils. He got to wear safety glasses. He cut the cleats to length. He sanded. He drew a picture on the chair back (a dinosaur with a coffee cup) which I routed out. He got to paint. He loves his special chair.

Measuring his body did not change anything, it was purely for show. Because kids quickly get bored, I had a kid sitter to watch him while I did most of the work.

One Christmas, I made chairs for my niece and nephew. My nephew, the two year old, got a basic chair with no arms that was painted. My niece's chair had arms and the seat was slightly raised. The back was much longer and had a decorative edge. Finishing that chair with a clear coat gave Katie a "big girl chair."