How to Build a Child's Rocking Chair

Written by naima manal
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How to Build a Child's Rocking Chair
Make a small home-made child's rocking chair. (rocking chair on cape may home porch image by Jorge Moro from Fotolia.com)

Children enjoy the soothing movements of a rocking chair. A child-sized rocking chair is a safe alternative to letting a child use an adult-sized rocking chair. Traditional and classic-styled rocking chairs have several intricate parts, and replicating these in a child's size may prove a daunting task. A simple design for a child's rocking chair uses 1-inch-thick plywood to construct two sides, a seat and a back.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • 1-inch-thick plywood
  • 1-by-2-inch wood, 8 feet long
  • Wood glue
  • 1 ½-inch wood screws
  • 2 ¼-inch wood screws
  • Finishing nails
  • Circular saw or table saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Router
  • Sander
  • Pencil
  • String

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut two pieces of plywood to 2 feet by 2 feet.

  2. 2

    Lay one piece on top of the other and sketch the side panel design of the rocking chair. Look at a rocking chair from the side and mimic its shape, but instead of many pieces, you will make one all-inclusive piece.

    Draw a vertical line, 5 inches from the left side, 20 inches long. From the end of this line, sketch an upward curved line to the left edge of the plywood. Across the bottom of the plywood, sketch a curved line 4 inches below and parallel to the first curve, only extending it all the way to the right side of the plywood.

    From the top, sketch another vertical line 4 inches to the right and parallel to the first line, only 7 inches long. Sketch a horizontal line from the end of this line that is 9 inches long. From the end of this line, sketch another vertical line downward, 13 inches long. Sketch an upward curved line to the right of the end of this line to mimic the one on the left side.

  3. 3

    Perfect the curve at the bottom edge of the plywood using a large, rounded template or a string secured to the top centre edge of the plywood at one end and a pencil tied to the other end, whose point just reaches the centre of the bottom edge. Swing the pencil to the right and left and mark the curve for the rocking chair's bottom onto the plywood. This will make the rocker rock very smoothly.

  4. 4

    Make all of the corners rounded for a soft, child-safe appearance. Sketch a decorative opening between the curved bottom and where the seat will go.

  5. 5

    Install a screw through the wood that will be cut away to secure the two pieces of together.

  6. 6

    Cut out the shape of your rocking chair panels using a jigsaw, and then cut out the inner decorative opening.

  1. 1

    Cut a 1-foot-by-1-foot piece of plywood for the seat and a 12-inch-by-15-inch piece for the back.

  2. 2

    Cut two pieces of 1-by-2-inch wood to 12 inches long to support the seat from underneath.

  3. 3

    Draw and cut out a decorative pattern through the rocking chair's backrest using a jigsaw.

  1. 1

    Use a sander to sand out any rough cuts to smooth the edges of all the rocking chair parts.

  2. 2

    Use a decorative router bit to router a rounded edge along all of the edges of the side panels, the top edge of the backrest and the front edge of the seat.

  3. 3

    Use the sander again to smooth the edges.

  1. 1

    Lay the seat upside down on the work surface with the front edge toward you. Stand one of the 1-by-2-inch wood pieces horizontally on its side across the front edge of the rocking chair.

  2. 2

    Pre-drill two countersunk holes 2 inches in from each end of the 1-by-2-inch wood.

  3. 3

    Apply a bead of wood glue between the 1-by-2-inch wood and the underside of the seat. Screw the pieces together using 2 ¼ inch screws.

  4. 4

    Attach the other strip of 1-by-2-inch across the back edge of the seat in the same manner.

  5. 5

    Lay one side panel on its side with the outside facing down, and mark the positions of the seat and the backrest onto the inside of this side panel. Position the seat about 1 inch from the bottom of the rocking chair.

  1. 1

    Stand the seat panel onto its side and pre-drill and countersink a screw hole on an angle and down into the 1-by-2-inch wood and the side panel of the rocking chair--through the front seat support and the back seat support. Apply a bead of wood glue between each part and screw together using the 1 ½-inch screws.

  2. 2

    Lay the other side panel on the work surface and position the other end of the seat onto this side panel. Attach the side panel to the seat in the same manner as the first.

  3. 3

    Stand the unit up and slide the 12-inch-by-15-inch panel in between the upper parts of the side panels to make the backrest of the rocking chair. Make sure the decorative edge is positioned upward.

  4. 4

    Apply a bead of wood glue between the seams and tap 2-inch finishing nails through the side panel and into the backrest panel. Reinforce the backrest with a 12-inch piece of 1-by-2-inch wood across the backside of the top edge or middle of the backrest. Apply wood glue between the piece and the backrest and at each end.

  5. 5

    Lay the rocking chair on one side and pre-drill and countersink a screw hole through the 1-by-2-inch wood and the side panel. Screw together and repeat at the other end of the backrest support.

    Finish the rocking chair with a natural finish, stain, polyurethane or paint.

Tips and warnings

  • Work in a well-ventilated area.
  • Wear goggles when working with power tools.

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