29 Crazy DIY Sauna Plans [Ranked]

29 DIY Sauna Plans

If you want to build an indoor or outdoor sauna, we've got you covered. We've assembled a list of 29 DIY sauna plans from around the internet. Scroll down to begin perusing the different plans.

There are a bunch of different styles to choose from. Some inventive steam-bathers converted a shipping container into a sauna, others built a freestanding outdoor sauna, while others found ingenious ways to hack together a residential sauna.

Whatever project you embark on, saunas provide a relaxing retreat from the stress of daily life.  

29 DIY Sauna Plans

1. The Shipping Container Sauna Box

Do you dream of building your own sauna? Well, this is not as impossible as you might think thanks to this impressive design. Castor offers you a fantastic sauna box equipped with iPod stereo, magnetic truck light, wool toque, and guitar hook-ups to name a few. Moreover, the sauna is self-contained (solar power), and it has a wood-fired stove. You can easily build this traditional sauna into a shipping container, and you can modify it to suit your site.

2. The Iron Fireplace Sauna

A sauna could be the perfect place for relaxation after a hard day of work. And now you can make an outdoor sauna with an iron fireplace insert thanks to this fascinating design. You'll also have to build a hearth to fit the iron fireplace insert and a chimney. You can use concrete blocks and bricks, and the builder advises that you measure everything carefully before starting the hearth. However, keep in mind that there are general instructions how to build the sauna, and you'll have to use your imagination and skills to fill the gaps.

3. The Hacked Bathroom Indoor Sauna

If you want to save some money from sauna visits, you can take a look at this amazing design. It will show you how to turn your bathroom into a wood-fired sauna or an infrared sauna. The most important thing is to choose the location carefully because it has to be well-insulated and away from fixtures and fittings. If you want a traditional sauna, the builder recommends cedar wood because it doesn't expand too much when it gets hot. To create an infrared sauna, you don't have to buy special sauna heaters. Use infrared bulbs instead.

4. The Near Infrared Sauna

You can make yourself a near infrared sauna by following this simple instructable. The builder goes into details regarding infrared sauna benefits and why a near infrared sauna is better than a far infrared one. There is a list of the necessary materials you'll need, but the main component is three 250 W red heat bulbs. What's also great about this plan is that you don't need any special tools - just scissors. The builder recommends small enclosed areas as the best possible location for an NIR sauna.

5. The 4'x5' Outdoor Sauna Kit

This modular outdoor sauna kit is perfect if you want something easy to build. This outdoor sauna has pre-made panels, a door, benches, a heater, and rocks. Its interior measures 4' x 5', white the exterior - 4'8" x 5'8. What's great about this sauna kit is that everything is made from Western red cedar, no plywood or pressboard of any kind. And it's super easy to assemble - the only thing you need is a screw gun. If that's not enough, the sauna kit includes some sauna accessories

6. The DIY Precut 4'x6' Home Sauna Kit

What's awesome about this home sauna kit is that it doesn't require a lot of experience to assemble. It includes custom cut red cedar to cover a 4' x 6' room, a sauna door, three sauna benches, accessories, and a polar heater. If your ceiling is higher than the standard sauna height (7'), you can contact the manufacturer. Keep in mind that this is a pre-cut sauna, and once you have assembled it, you can't relocate it.

7. The 5'x6' Outdoor Sauna Kit

Similar to all other models offered by cedarbrooksauna, this outdoor sauna is easy to assemble with a screw gun. It's also more spacious than the other models measuring 5 x 6 feet on the inside. The sauna kit includes insulated walls, ceiling panels, a roof, a sauna door, three sauna benches, a heater and some sauna accessories. Moreover, you can order the panels to be any width you desire with no extra cost.

8. The 6'x8' Outdoor Sauna Kit

For those of you that want a big sauna for four people, cedarbrooksauna has just the thing. This large sauna measures 6 x 8 feet on the inside, and the kit also includes insulated walls, four 2" x 2" sauna benches, a polar heater with rocks, accessories, and a sauna door with an option for windows. As all the other models, this sauna is made from red cedar with no pressboard or plywood.

9. The Under $100 Near Infrared Sauna

You might have heard about the amazing benefits of infrared saunas, and you want one for your home. But if such saunas are too expensive for you, don't worry. This plan will help you build a near infrared sauna for less than $100. Moreover, the builder provides you with step-by-step instructions, safety tips, and a list of the necessary supplies. The only thing you'll need is a small room 5 x 5 where you can install sauna heaters (stand-alone IR heaters). If you don't have such a room, you can build one. Make it as small as possible so that you can heat it quickly.

10. The Finnish Barn Sauna

The Finnish Barn Sauna

If you have an old barn, you can try this plan and turn it into an amazing sauna. What's great about this design is that the sauna is big enough for two people to lie comfortably and relax. Moreover, builder provides you with plenty of pictures to illustrate the building process, but you’ll also have to rely on your skills and intuition. For insulating the frame, you have to use mineral wool. You will also need to buy special sauna rocks. Ordinary rocks won't do the trick because they can't withstand heat and water.

11. The Trashbag And Logs Sauna

The Trashbag And Logs Sauna

When you're in the middle of the forest, the last thing on your mind is bathing in a sauna. However, thanks to this clever design you can build a DIY sauna in the woods or your backyard quickly and with a few materials. You just need one long log, 2-3 trash bags, a hot stone from a fire, and several small stones to secure the bags. Of course, this is not a real outdoor sauna, but it can be useful if you don't want to bother with complicated constructions. You can reach around 50 C on the inside which is enough to get you sweating.

12. The Wood Fired Sauna

The Wood Fired Sauna

If you want to build a wooden sauna behind your house, this free sauna plans will come in handy. The builder uses 2x6 pretreated wood for the floor, and the base of the sauna measures 8' x 6'6". What's great about this traditional sauna is that it's big enough for four people to sit comfortably and it's built to last. Moreover, the lean to design ensures that snow and rain won't accumulate. The sauna can heat up to 150 F in 25 minutes thanks to the radiant barrier and the insulation.

13. The Wood Burning Sauna

The Wood Burning Sauna

In seven steps you can build an outdoor home sauna that won't cost you a fortune. There are detailed instructions and pictures to help you along, so this won't be a difficult project for someone that enjoys working with his hands. This DIY sauna is made out of cedar with a sled roof, a pine door, and a plate glass window. The builder uses a stove made from propane tanks, but you can use whatever you have on hands and change the design accordingly.

14. The Cheap DIY Sauna

A DIY sauna is not so expensive to make as you probably think. All you need is some creativity, inspiration, and luck. This sauna is made from two half-moon houses joined together. The builder uses mainly recycled material and an old heating unit as a stove, so the end cost is less than $50. Pretty amazing, right? You can take rocks from the bottom of streams, but you have to dry them very well before you start heating them. If you don't do that, the stones will crack from the heat.

15. The Backyard Sauna

When you look at the backyard sauna, you can hardly tell that it's not the work of a professional. In fact, it's made by an average, self-taught woman with a passion for woodworking. The sauna is constructed from cedar with the help of several people, and it has a wood-burning stove with a water tank. And it gets really hot inside, especially on a cold day. However, there aren't any step-by-step instructions, just a general explanation of the building process. But if you are creative enough, you can swing it.

16. The Customized Winter Sauna

Are you looking for a unique sauna design? Then you might have found what you're searching for. This personal sauna box looks amazing, and it will be the talk of the neighborhood for weeks. To build it, you need some old tin from a barn, a lot of log slices, cedar, and an electric sauna heater. However, there are no proper instructions how to build this sauna, only some pictures to help you along. That’s why this plan is more suitable for someone with experience. But you can always post a question to the builder if you're wondering about something.

17. The Sauna & Steam

For people who want to learn more about saunas, for example how to build a sauna or what are the benefits of saunas, saunaplanning.com will be of immense help. You can find not only some detailed sauna blueprints but everything you might need to plan and design your own sauna - from sauna accessories to sauna layouts. However, the instructions are on the thin side so if you don't know how to read diagrams and blueprints, get somebody to help you.

18. The Elevated Woodburning Sauna

In just a week you can build a beautiful wood-burning sauna in your backyard thanks to this fascinating design. The builder uses aluminum foil instead of a traditional vapor barrier and sets the frame on four raised concrete blocks. That means that you won't have to dig holes to lay the foundation. For the stove, he recommends an insulated through-the-roof stove pipe kit. What's also great about this plan is that the benches are removable so that you can clean them thoroughly. And don't forget that you need help to raise the walls.

19. The Portable Bike Sauna

You might have heard about portable saunas, but I'm sure that you've never seen a sauna like this one. It looks like a sweet-pod, and you can take it anywhere you want and transform any place into a sauna stop. You just need a tandem bike and transparent panels. It looks tiny in the picture, but it's much bigger than you can imagine. In fact, six people can squeeze right into it, and there are benches and a stove on the inside for ultimate comfort. You just have to be brave enough to give it a try.

20. The Wikihow Sauna

When you're looking for instructions to build a sauna, Wikihow won't disappoint you. But it's better if you have some experience in woodworking because the instructions will be unclear for a novice. The most important detail here is to choose a spot where you can have access to heating, plumbing, and electricity. That will make installing heaters and water much easier. You also have to leave room for three ventilation points, and you have to decide what kind of sauna you want - infrared or traditional one.

21. The Converted Shed Sauna

If you have an old shed that you don't need anymore to store your instruments, you don't have to tear it apart. You can use this plan and turn it into a sauna house where you can relax. The builder recommends that you use fiberglass insulation, rated R13, for the walls and the ceiling. For the moisture barrier, you can buy special foil barriers. But if that's too expensive for you, you can use aluminum foil instead. Just be careful to put it with the shiny side facing the interior. Otherwise, it won't reflect the heat back.

22. The Backcountry Sauna

When you take a look at this sauna for the first time, you can mistake it for a big barrel. But it's really a sauna, and the builder has chosen this design due to its simplicity. This outdoor wooden sauna is made from Western red cedar (2x6s), and there is no need for any special insulation or roofing. The most challenging part of all is cut the joints into the wood. The builder recommends that you pick your lumber very carefully and that you inspect every piece to make sure that it's not warped. You'll also need an industrial router.

23. The DIY Sauna Kit

Building a sauna from scratch is not easy, and many of you might not feel up to such a tremendous task. But don't worry. There are sauna kits for sale like this one that you can try. This DIY sauna kit is a piece of cake to assemble, and you need only minimal carpentry knowledge. But you'll need a pre-framed and insulated room. The kit contains a stainless steel sauna heater, special sauna rocks, an insulated cedar glass door, full benches with dual height, and aluminum foil barrier. And there are plenty of instructions to help you.

24. The Outdoor Barrel Sauna

If you want to build an outstanding sauna, then you have to see this barrel sauna kit. The unique circular design might seem strange at first, but in fact, it provides superior ventilation/heating than traditional square saunas. And it's very spacious - 7 feet tall by 7 feet long. Another great thing about this kit is that you don't require any special tools to assemble it, and the boards are pre-cut to their exact dimensions, so you won't have to do any cutting. Moreover, you can disassemble the sauna very quickly if there is a need.

25. The Nifty Homestead Sauna

The great thing about this sauna design is that it will give you some much-needed directions when it comes to sauna building. Your first step before starting the construction is to decide where you're going to put the sauna and how big you want it. The builder recommends that you pick a flat spot because you'll have to level the ground. He also gives you some options regarding the foundation and the pros and cons of concrete, wood, and gravel. Read everything carefully, and you'll have a new sauna in no time.

26. The $150 DIY Near Infrared Sauna

Reading about infrared sauna benefits might prompt you to look for one. But if you don't want to spend more than you have to, you can build an NIS for less than $150. You'll need infrared lights, lamp clamps, a stand, a power strip, and eye protection. Optionally, you might get a canopy to trap the heat if you plan on setting up the sauna in a large room. There is a shopping list of all materials that you'll need, so don't worry. The builder also advises you to stay away from cheap infrared saunas sold on eBay because they pose a danger.

27. The DIY Wood Fired Hot Tub

For those of you that prefer seeing to reading, this YouTube clip will show you how to build a simple sauna for your backyard. The builder makes the tub out of a galvanized steel stock tank (6' x 2' x 2'), and he uses a fast setting concrete mix to set two footings so that the tub doesn't sink into the ground. For the heating coil, you'll need copper wire, a five-gallon bucket, and steel bars. To keep the heat in, you can build a lid on the tub. However, be careful when you heat the water. Wood-fired saunas can overheat, and you don't want to be inside if that happens.

28. The Ten Day Outdoor Sauna

This video will show you how you can build a sauna in ten days. However, there aren't very detailed instructions, so this video is suitable if you're looking for some ideas and inspiration. And from the looks of things, you'll need several hands to help you with the construction. It's also important that you place the handle on the right spot so that you can open the sauna from the inside and the outside. The finished sauna looks pretty amazing, doesn’t it?

29. The Accidental Spa Complex

What's great about this spa complex plan is that the builder provides you with plenty of pictures of the building process and enough instructions to make things easy for you. The design is just for a hot tub and a sauna, but you're going to feel as if you're in a real spa salon. However, keep in mind that you'll have to lay the foundation for the deck so make sure that you have a suitable place in your backyard.

Final Thoughts

Researching the positive health benefits of using a sauna as we compiled this DIY sauna list, we came across a couple of good research resources that outline the health and wellness the facts of their use.

The top reasons for using one, according to Finnleo.com, is that:

  1. they're great stress relievers;
  2. can help to soothe joint and muscle aches;
  3. can flush toxins;
  4. can help to cleanse your skin;
  5. help treat sleep difficulties;
  6. provide a social and recreational place for networking;
  7. can actually enhance your heart's cardiovascular performance;
  8. help to burn calories;
  9. combat illnesses,
  10. and last of all they just feel really good. 

These wet saunas do get really hot, but Livestrong.com actually says that there isn't any research proof supporting the claim that they help you release toxins or lose weight.

They do say that the heat will help your pores open, cleansing your skin, and will also promote blood vessel dilation which makes your skin glow.

They also recommend that you drink lots of water before and after you use a wet sauna so that you don't get dehydrated.

Another safety concern is that because saunas are so hot they are ideal for cultivating infectious microbes, things like athletes foot, it's best to wear waterproof sandals and always have a towel on hand.

In our research about DIY saunas we came across a variety of different topics that might inform our next write-up. These include Finnish saunas, barrel saunas, sauna belts; zoning issues related to residential saunas; where to purchase used sauna equipment if you're going to be building your own; the plan dimensions for individual, two, three or four-person steam saunas.