How to build a five dollar chair with a bucket

This easy 5 gallon stool is made with little more than concrete and dowels. If you’re a fan of minimalist design, you should definitely give this a try! A 5 gallon bucket provides a mold that sets the concrets, holding the dowels in place with enough strength that it can hold the weight of a person.



Required materials

The materials you need to produce this five bucket stool are as following:

  • A five gallon bucket
  • A 1″ Diameter 48″ long Wooden Dowel (link)
  • Some 1” Pipe Caps (link)
  • Some washers (link)
  • A good concrete mix (link)
  • A decent saw

If you have some left over material of these supplies in your house, you can build a cheap chair out of them, otherwise we recommend ordering the supplies online by following the above links.


The instructions as seen in the video below are relatively simple to follow, but I’ll repeat them here:

Step 1: Take your 48” long wooden dowel and cut it into three separate 16-inch pieces.

Step 2: Pour concrete in a bucket, add water, and stick the three pieces in so that they point towards the center of the bucket.

Step 3: Wait around 20 hours for the concrete to dry.

Step 4: Pull the chair out of the bucket.

Step 5: Use sandpaper to smooth the rough edges.

Step 6: If the legs of your chair are not equally long, use some pipe caps and some washers to fix the difference.

Variations on the bucket chair theme

A drier concrete has a higher tensile strength – so using slightly less water while mixing it may make a stronger stool. That starts to address one of the main concerns of this stool, that concrete isn’t as strong when suspended in this way as it would be in – say – a driveway. After too much use, the concrete around the dowels may begin to crumble if not properly reinforced.

If you don’t mind something a little more low rent, some simple bucket seating is cheaper and easier. Of course you won’t get as many comments from friends about your modern artistic flair.

There are of course alternative options you can consider too. You could pour epoxy into the bucket and base seat chair on that. You may have to cover the inside of the bucket in paper or aluminum foil first, to avoid ending up with the epoxy stuck to the bucket itself.

The source for this tutorial is Homemade-Modern, where you can find many more pictures detailing every step of the process.



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