D.I.Y. bar stools

errol samuels
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D.I.Y. bar stools

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Project Overview

Bar stools are a great addition to any kitchen or outdoor living area. With just a few pieces of dowel and some plywood, you can make them yourself and completely transform the look and function of a space. Continue to step-by-step instructions
marking perfect circle wood nail
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How to mark a circle on wood

To mark a perfect circle on a piece of wood, firstly decide what size you want the circle to be. Then measure that size on a piece of masonite and mark it at each end. Drill a hole at the other end of the masonite, big enough for your pencil to fit through. Then lightly nail the marked end to the piece of wood you want your circle on. With your pencil sitting in the hole you drilled in the masonite, you should be able to swivel it around, marking a perfect circle as you go.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Cut your timber
2 Measure and mark for the diameter of the stool top
3 Cut out the stool top
4 Cut the dowel
5 Tape the legs together
6 Cut the legs
7 Measure and mark for the length of the legs
8 Cut the legs to size
9 Measure and mark for the supports
10 Drill the holes in the dowel
11 Measure and mark for the second supports
12 Drill the holes for the supports
13 Measure and mark for the legs in the top of the stool
14 Pre-drill the holes in the top of the stool
15 Apply glue for the supports
16 Attach the supports
17 Attach the seat to the legs
18 Putty any holes
19 Paint the stool
20 Put the stool in place
  • Step 1. Cut your timber

    The first step is to cut all the timber. Here’s our cut list for this project:

    30mm plywood
    • 300mm diameter circle (seat)

    35mm F17 Tasmanian oak dowel
    • 700mm x 4 (legs)

    25mm F17 Tasmanian oak dowel
    • 230mm x 2 (supports)
    • 240mm x 2 (supports)

  • Step 2. Measure and mark for the diameter of the stool top

    Clamp the ply to the workbench. Measure and mark the ply to find the centre point. We’re making our bar stool seat 300mm in diameter. Drill a hole in the centre to attach the router arm. Set the router arm to 150mm.
  • Step 3. Cut out the stool top

    Screw the router arm into the centre point. Place timber offcuts under the ply to allow enough room to make the cut. Clamp the ply in place so that it can’t move. Cut out the top of the bar stool with the router.
  • Step 4. Cut the dowel

    Use the mitre saw to cut the dowel to a manageable length.
  • Step 5. Tape the legs together

    Lay the four legs on the workbench and use masking tape to secure them.
  • Step 6. Cut the legs

    Set the mitre saw to a 15-degree angle. Cut the four taped legs near the end.
  • Step 7. Measure and mark for the length of the legs

    With the legs still taped together, measure and mark the length of the legs for the bar stool. Ours were 700mm.
  • Step 8. Cut the legs to size

    Make sure the mitre saw is set to a 15-degree angle. Cut the four legs for the stool to size.
  • Step 9. Measure and mark for the supports

    Our first support is 200mm up from the bottom of the legs. Use the set square to measure and mark 200mm up from the bottom of the legs.
  • Step 10. Drill the holes in the dowel

    Clamp the four pieces of dowel to the workbench. Use the 25mm spade bit to drill the four holes in the dowel.
  • Step 11. Measure and mark for the second supports

    Rotate the dowel so that the holes you’ve drilled face each other. Re-tape the dowel so they don’t move. Measure and mark 250mm up from the bottom of the legs.
  • Step 12. Drill the holes for the supports

    Clamp the dowel to the workbench. Use the 25mm spade bit to drill the four holes for the second supports. Drill to a depth of about 10mm.
  • Step 13. Measure and mark for the legs in the top of the stool

    Find the centre point on the top of the stool and position the four legs an equal distance apart from that point. On a grid, our legs were positioned 50mm and 140mm apart.
  • Step 14. Pre-drill the holes in the top of the stool

    Clamp the top of the stool to the workbench. Use the 2.5mm drill bit to pre-drill the holes for the legs to be attached to.
  • Step 15. Apply glue for the supports

    Apply the PVA glue into the holes for the supports. Use the 2.5mm drill bit to pre-drill holes to attach the supports.
  • Step 16. Attach the supports

    Push the supports into the holes in the legs. You might want to use a rubber mallet to gently tap them into place. Use the drill and 30mm timber screws to attach the supports to the legs. Once both sides of the legs for the stool are complete, join them together with glue and screws
  • Step 17. Attach the seat to the legs

    Apply glue to the top of the legs for the stool. Use the drill and the 40mm timber screws to secure the top of the stool to the legs. Screw from the top of the stool, make sure the tip is just poking out of the base, before screwing into the legs.
  • Step 18. Putty any holes

    Putty any holes with wood putty. Leave it to dry. Sand the stool with some 120 grit sandpaper. Hand sand the dowel legs and wipe away any dust.
  • Step 19. Paint the stool

    You can choose whatever colour paint you want, depending on the look you’re going for, we chose black. Paint your stool in a well ventilated room and then let it dry.
  • Step 20. Put the stool in place

    And there you have it, a fantastic looking bar stool that you made yourself. Make as many as you need and find a place for them at the kitchen bench, a bar or outdoor entertaining area.

Tools and Materials


  • Cordless screwdriver
  • 2.5mm drill bit for pilot holes
  • 25mm spade bit
  • Earmuffs
  • Hammer or mallet
  • Measuring tape
  • Mitre saw
  • Orbital sander
  • Quick clamps
  • Router with circle cutting attachment
  • Safety glasses
  • Ventilator mask
  • Work gloves


  • 30mm plywood
  • 35mm x 700mm F17 oak dowel
  • 25mm F17 oak dowel
  • 40mm timer screws
  • 30mm timber screws
  • Black spray paint
  • Disposable gloves (if you choose to paint your stool)
  • Drop sheets
  • PVA or wood glue
  • Rags
  • 240 grit sandpaper
  • 120 grit sanding pads
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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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