How to Build A Tiki Bar in 18 Easy-to-Follow Steps

Although we’re conditioned to buy most of our furniture in one piece, or at least have it ready-to-build IKEA-style, there’s something special about creating something from scratch. Building something from its raw materials lets you see its journey from start to finish, with you learning about the craft it along the way, whether by yourself or with friends. The team at ArchDaily is sharing our very own built Tiki Bar – complete with instructions. Read on for some summer nostalgia you can build in your own backyard through a step by step Tiki DIY guide:

How to Build A Tiki Bar in 18 Easy-to-Follow Steps - More Images+ 23

Materials you will need:

2 x (2400 x 1200 x 15mm) sheets of Plywood
Roughly 30 meters of 90 x 45mm exterior treated timber
14 lengths of rough sawn 20 x 50 x 1400mm timber
90mm galvanized or stainless Framing nails (roughly 40)
28mm exterior screws (roughly 50)
50mm exterior screws (roughly 10)
Wood Glue

Decorative (Suggestions):
Cladding material (customized to your preference)
Straw fence (can be purchased at most garden centers)
Fence palings
Decorative Plywood
Tiki Torches (also can be purchased at most garden centers)

Tape measure
Power drill
Circular saw or jigsaw
G clamp

Safety: Remember to always be safe when using power tools and ensure all the correct safety measures are taken.

© Manuel Albornoz


Step 1: Place the two plywood sheets one on top of the other and ensure all edges are flush and fit together. Decide which of the faces you’d like to use for the top of your bar - make sure it is the one facing down. Once all the edges are in line, clamp both sheets together with the G clamp.

Step 2: Place your tape on the short edge of the sheet and measure down the long side 1800mm. Once you have this measurement, cut off the excess 600mm.

Step 3: You now have two sheets at 1800 x 1200mm. Ensure you keep these sheets clamped together. We are now looking to make a U shape to form the top of the Bar. Measure in from the 2 short edges and from one of the long edges 500mm and cut out the rectangle that this forms.

Step 4: You now need to make the holes for your studs. From your four exterior corners, measure in 250mm to find the center of your holes. Once you have found the center you need to measure out both ways from the center point half the dimension of your timber stud; so, if your stud is 90mm by 45mm you will need measure from the center 22.5mm one way and 45mm the other. Ensure all 4 studs are facing the same way with the 45mm edge facing toward you.

Step 5: You now need to use the jigsaw to cut out your four holes to allow the studs to be able to slide through. Allow a little bit of extra room with the cut to allow the stud to slide through without being forced.

Step 6: You now have the top of the bar ready and it is time to construct the frame. From the 90 x 45mm exterior timber cut the following lengths:

Front Studs: 2 x 2100mm
Back Studs: 2 x 2300mm
Under Stud: 9 x 1000mm
Top & Bottom plate sides: 4 x 610mm (or the distance between your front and back stud holes if your studs are not 90 x 45mm)
Top & Bottom plate front: 2 x 1255mm (or the distance between your left and right stud holes if your studs are not 90 x 45mm)

Step 7: Once we have these lengths cut we can form the frames. Begin with the side frames. Take 3 under studs (1000mm) and a top and bottom plate (610mm). Assemble as shown below using your hammer and the 90mm nails. Once you have the two side frames construct the front frame with the remaining 610mm under studs and the 1255mm top and bottom plates.

Step 8: Nail the 2100mm studs to each side of the front frame.

Step 9: Nail the 2300mm back stud to the side frame. Ensure you fix the stud with the 45mm edge facing toward the front of the bar. This should ensure all 4 studs are facing the same direction. Next, fix the side frames to the front frame ensuring all edges are flush both beneath and on the sides.

Step 10: Once you have the frame built it’s time to get the bar top in place. Separate the two sheets which you have clamped together. Slide the 4 studs into the holes we made in the first sheet. Slide the sheet all the way down until it is touching the top plate of the frames. Next, use your 50mm screws to fix the sheet to the top plate of your frames.

© Manuel Albornoz

Step 11: Spread the wood glue evenly out over the top surface of the sheet of ply. Then slide the next sheet into place over the studs. Ensure all exterior edges of the two sheets line up. Then use the 28mm Screws to fix the sheets together from underneath the bar to ensure you will not see the screws in the finished product. (Tip: The clamp may come in handy here as well.)

Step 12: The next step is to put your cladding around the framing below the bench top. As well as looking nice this will also offer added support and strength to our structure. If you are looking to use the straw fence as a decorative cladding we recommend to also use a plywood backing for support. If you are using fence palings ensure to space them out evenly for a nice look.

Step 13: It’s now time to get the roof in place. It is always important to remember safety with this step as you will be working at a height. The first step is setting the pitch of the roof. Run your string from the back corner of the back stud (2300mm) and place it on the front corner of the front stud (2100mm). Mark the angle this makes with a pencil and cut off the resulting triangles from the top of the studs. Repeat on both sides.

Tip: Lay the tiki bar on its side to be able to work on ground level.

Step 14: You should now have the angle for your roof cut into your studs. The next step is to fix a cross beam to support your rafters. Measure between your two front studs outside to outside, (the distance should be 1345mm if your studs are 45mm wide) then cut a piece of 90 x 45 timber to fit. Repeat for the back studs. Next, nail the cross beams to the tops of your studs as shown below.

Step 15: Now it is time to attach the Rafters. Grab 4 of your rough sawn 20 x 50 x 1400mm lengths. Place them running between the two cross beams. Make sure the back of the rafter is flush with the back of the back cross beam. Measure a 200mm overhang from the front of the front cross beam and cut the rafters to length. Then fix the rafters to the cross beams spacing them out evenly as shown below.

Step 16: The final step of the structure not only helps with decoration but also adds structural support. Grab the remaining lengths of rough sawn 20 x 50 x 1400mm and fix them around the top of the studs. We recommend you run 2 around the sides and back and three in the front which will help create a sign.

Step 17: Once we have the roof structure in place we can now put on the roofing. Get creative with your roofing material; we recommend straw fencing or long grass fencing, both of which can be purchased at many gardening stores. Spread the material out over your roof and fix down with screws through the wire of the fence. If needed, for extra support fix chicken wire directly onto the roofing structure and lay the roofing material on top.

Step 18: The tiki bar structure is now complete. It is time to decorate your bar: paint a sign on the front cross bracing, hang fairy lights, place your tiki torches around (making sure they aren't in a position where they could set fire to anything, especially the bar's roof). Get creative with this step and have fun. Now enjoy your tiki bar!

Tiki Bar design and construction courtesy of Kirk Murray, ArchDaily's Business Development Manager.

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Cite: AD Editorial Team. "How to Build A Tiki Bar in 18 Easy-to-Follow Steps" 18 Jul 2017. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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