How to Make Your Own Barstools

Building your own bar stools can add a certain personalization to your home bar.
There are a number of different materials, sizes and designs to consider, and the possibilities are endless. But one of the more classic paradigms is the traditional, round wooden stool. Timeless and elegant, this stool can also be painted or decorated to match almost any motif. Although building this specific stool will only take a few hours, it should be kept in mind that you probably will be building several. This is the building plan for making one stool. .

Step 1

Measure the height of the bar counter. The top of your bar seat should sit roughly 9 to 12 inches below this. Subtract the desired difference to account for the height of the legs. Do not worry about accounting for the width of the seat, as this height will be made up after the legs are slanted. Example: A 4-foot (48 inch) tall bar will require 4 legs cut to 36 to 39 inches in length.

Step 2

Measure a 30-degree angle from the corner at the end of each leg. This will slant the bottom so that the legs angle outward, but still sit flat on the floor. Cut the wood accordingly, and repeat the process for the other end of each leg. Be sure the second angle drawn is parallel to the one at the other end. Each leg should now sit flat, stand at a 30-degree angle to the side, and have a flat surface at top that is parallel to the floor.

Step 3

Use the compass to draw a circle with a radius of 6 to 8 inches (12 to 16 inch diameter) in the wooden sheet. Cut out the circle to make the seat.

Step 4

Sand and plane off any undesired corners on the seat and the legs. This may require some skill, as achieving a smooth, even look can be difficult. Sand the top of the seat particularly well to avoid splintering.

Step 5

Measure four points on the bottom of the stool in a perfect square. Use the wood glue to attach the legs to these points, being sure that the angle of each leg points directly outward. Hold the legs in place until they are mostly dry.

Step 6

Measure between 12 and 18 inches up on the insides of the legs, and then measure the distance between these points on adjacent legs. Cut each of the 4 dowel rods this length.

Step 7

Measure a 30-degree angle at the end of each dowel rod and cut them accordingly: this time, however, cut each end the opposite direction so that the angles slope toward one another, rather than parallel to one another. Carefully slide each rod up between each pair of legs until it fits correctly, and glue it in place.

Things You Will Need

  • 4 long pieces of lumber (1 1/2-inch by 1 1/2-inch)
  • 4 wooden dowel rods (3/4-inch diameter)
  • Flat wooden sheet (1-1/2 inch thick)
  • Jigsaw
  • Tape measure
  • Power sander/hand sander
  • Plane
  • Wood glue
  • Protractor
  • Large compass
  • Pencil


  • Applying wood lacquer or paint is recommended when the job is finished. It is not necessary, but it gives the stool a professional look. A comfortable cushion or even a thick piece of fabric may be glued to the top of the seat. Customizing your stools is entirely up to you.


  • Use caution when operating power tools and working with wood chemicals.

About the Author

Peter H. Crawford has been writing professionally since 2004. After studying journalism and English at The Ohio State University, he immediately began composing and reviewing for various publications about dining, nightlife, travel and music. His work has appeared in literature from Chicago to Los Angeles, and all over the nation.