Hi Friends, y’all know how much I love me a good DIY, and it’s been a few weeks since I shared on my Instagram, my new Adirondack chairs, built from plans by Ana White.  While I was in the process of building 5 of her 2×4 Modern Adirondack Chairs for our fire pit area, I ran out of wood for the last one. But, I called this a happy accident because what came from this mistake was pure genius!

Since Ana did such an amazing job documenting the process of building these chairs, I am just going to share with you the process of modifying the chairs, to create vertical slats in the back.  If you are interested in building Ana White’s Adirondack chair, click here for plans.

Cut List:

6-2×4 @19 1/2″ (2 for legs, 1 for front apron, 1 for back support, 1 for seat board support, 1 as a brace on bottom of legs)

2-2×4 @30″ (arms, I chose a shorter length than Ana as I didn’t want such a steep recline)

2-2×4 @33 1/4 cut at 20 degrees off square (stringers)

2-1×10 @22 1/2″ (Seat)

2-1×10 @30″ (Back Boards)


DIY Adirondack Chair
Step 1: attach arm boards and legs using self tapping screws
Legs/arms with stringers built in mirror image
Step 2 and 3: Seat boards, front apron and back support is added

****This is where the plan changes, before Ana’s step 4****

I took one of the 19.5″ boards and screwed it to the back support.

View from above

Next, I placed my two seat back boards, resting directly onto the seat boards, butting them up against the arms on each side, leaving a gap down the center.

I then screwed these back boards to the support board in the center at a downward angle.

Next, I added the last 19.5″ support board in between the legs on the back of the chair, and secured it with screws from the outside . . .

and then secured the base of the back boards to the support board from the front with screws. 

And that’s it!

Lastly,  I sanded them down and gave them a coat of paint.  I decided to try a 2 toned look on my “oops” version, by staining the seat and back boards and painting the arms and legs black.  I love how this turned out!

I made a pair for my stepfather who is a huge Cowboy’s fan, he painted them blue—don’t they look awesome?


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  1. Jooste Rossouw
    December 21, 2020 / 5:52 am

    You forgot to give the lenghts of the legs on your cutting list
    Jooste Rossouw

    • madebycarli
      December 28, 2020 / 8:00 am

      Hello, the legs are included in the 19 1/2 in cuts (supports) there are 6-19 1/2” cuts total(which I just clarified in the post thanks to your comment ☺️).

  2. Happy Sitter
    February 14, 2021 / 1:31 am

    The point of the other back was to leave a gap so water could drain instead of pooling where the back and seat meet. I like your idea and it came out looking great, but I wonder if you could modify it for that purpose.

    • madebycarli
      February 17, 2021 / 9:00 am

      There’s a gap in between the two vertical boards, so water won’t exactly “pool.” BUt I get what you are saying.

  3. Nichole
    April 24, 2021 / 8:19 pm

    Hi. I noticed you changed the arms from 31.75″ to 30″. This is accurate yes? It just reduces how far back the back leans?

    • madebycarli
      April 24, 2021 / 9:07 pm

      Hi Nichole, yes, exactly! It was a little too reclined for casual conversation-so this is exactly why I shortened them.

      • Eve
        May 9, 2022 / 9:42 pm

        I love that idea! That’s why I struggle with adirondack chairs, but you just fixed the problem! Love the stain with the black arms, too!

  4. Ashley Pippin
    April 26, 2021 / 10:29 am

    I love your 2 toned stained and black paint design. What stain did you use? GORGEOUS

    • madebycarli
      April 28, 2021 / 8:34 am

      Thanks Ashley! I used Minwax Aged Oak 🙂

  5. Noel
    April 30, 2021 / 2:10 pm

    This is amazing! Thank you!!

    • madebycarli
      May 4, 2021 / 8:24 pm

      Thanks Noel!

  6. Erica Williams
    June 10, 2021 / 7:17 am

    I LOVE the blue color! Whats the paint color you used?

    • madebycarli
      June 24, 2021 / 3:54 pm

      Hi Erica, Unfortunately my stepdad painted them, so I’m unsure what color he used.

  7. July 23, 2021 / 9:20 am

    Hi, can you please provide a list of screws needed (types, sizes, quantities, recommended materials). Thank you.

  8. Dan
    August 27, 2021 / 5:49 am

    Hello. Nice project. I’m not fron US, so when you say a piece has “2 x 4”, is that inches? Or centimeters? Thank you

    • madebycarli
      August 27, 2021 / 9:27 am

      Thank you! Yes, inches 🙂

  9. Elizabeth
    October 16, 2021 / 3:05 pm

    Love your “ happy accident”!

    How would you make this chair taller?
    17” to 18 “ floor to seat?

  10. October 28, 2021 / 12:05 am

    Hi. Nice work! How did you attach the back support in to the arms support? Thank you

  11. J
    February 3, 2022 / 10:11 am

    Beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing your work and design plans.

  12. Paul
    March 3, 2022 / 7:06 pm

    Hi Anna,
    My wife has come to love some of your idea’s. I have now built 3 different items from your plans, this being the 3rd.. I did notice in these chairs the cut list says to cut 6 at 19 1/2. And 2 stringers at 33 3/4. They were over 3 inches to long once I figured out exactly where to place them. Ended up needing them 30 1/2 to work with the plan. Was that missed in the cut list. If the legs were 2 inches taller that probably would’ve worked. Also, it didn’t say where to attach the stringers which I had to figure out. Thanks

    • madebycarli
      March 7, 2022 / 12:45 pm

      Hi Paul, thank you for your message. This project is a Modification to Ana White’s Modern Adirondack chairs. On my modification, I only changed the seat style and the arm length, so that the seat doesn’t recline so much. There was a typo, however, the stringers should be at 33 1/4″ and attached to the back of the leg at 13 3/4″ just like Ana’s. Glad you were able to work it out!

  13. tim g
    April 1, 2022 / 8:27 pm

    Are these comfortable? Looks like the seat angle is a little steep for getting in and out of the chair?
    Not a criticism I love your chairs both the blue and especially the two tone.
    thanks tim

    • madebycarli
      April 2, 2022 / 5:19 pm

      Hi Tim, they are pretty comfortable, I modified the arm length slightly from the original plans, to make it less of a recline, but I think there’s even more room to cut back on, if you prefer less of a recline.

  14. Liz
    April 19, 2022 / 5:41 pm

    Did you use pressure treated wood? If not, how have they held up for you?

    • madebycarli
      April 19, 2022 / 5:48 pm

      Hi Liz, I used pressure treated on some and some I didn’t. (The original plans didn’t actually call for pressure treated though. Unfortunately, when we moved we didn’t have space for them, so we gave them away. The ones I gave my stepdad (the blue painted ones) are still in great shape though (he puts them away for the winter).

  15. Mr . Good’s Wood
    May 10, 2022 / 6:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing, just made 7 of your style with a little change for my liking, awesome job

  16. Eben
    February 11, 2023 / 5:15 pm

    I have made two of these so far for our fire pit. I love the design and I plan to make two more. The only change that I made was that I made the arms an inch longer to allow for a 1” reveal. It gives you something to grab onto when you’re getting up from the chair and I like the look better than having a butt joint on the front. Other than that I love the design. Thanks for posting.

  17. Chelsea Brewer
    April 22, 2023 / 7:06 pm

    Thanks for sharing! Added this to my homeschool lesson plan this week for my 7 and 8 year old! They had so much fun making one with some scrap wood we had! We are planning on doing 5 more!!!

  18. Alysta
    May 7, 2023 / 10:04 pm

    These look great, and I look forward to making them. I didn’t realize it until something clicked as I read through the comments, but I made a trash screen of yours several years ago for my old house (yeah, 1 diy project/5 years!). You have great style!

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