Summer is short and I LOVE the outdoors, hence why you have not heard from me in awhile. That and we have been super busy over here at the riverside house. What with 4 kids on summer holidays, a deck renovation, dock work, a garden to grow, and a chicken shed to build! Plus, making the most of the summer by packing it full of memorable riverside swims, campouts, biking, a zoo day, visiting family, BBQs, Grandparent sleepovers…!
We have been busy! But I was able to carve out some time these last few weeks (thanks to those Grandparent sleepovers) to work on this chair and a hammock (which I will share in another post). And now I have finally drawn the line! I sent my husband out for a guys night and have sat down to write this overdue post.
Driving by a Muskoka furniture store 2 years ago a gorgeous slingback chair caught my eye. I liked it so much that I made my husband turn around so I could get out to look at it. Of course the first thing I checked when I came close enough was the price tag…and like most things in Muskoka, it was not in my budget! Looking up close at the chair I saw the frame was only made of bamboo and the thought that crossed my mind was ‘I think I can make this!’ And so, I resolved, to head home and find out how to make my own slingback chair for a fraction of the cost!
Now fast forward almost 2 years and the story gets even better… one day on one of my many dump day stops what do I come across but an old school style chair with a wood frame. It was ugly, even I was not sure if it was salvageable, but I determined that if it would not work I could always burn it.
Okay so now we are pretty much up to present day. We have begun our side deck project and our dock is in need of extra seating, so I decide NOW would be a good time to decide the fate of this chair. After scouring the internet for unique outdoor fabric patterns and asking for opinions from my Facebook following, I ended up opting for classic black. Conveniently it was 1/2 off at our local Fabricland! I am in love with tribal patterns lately, but I thought it may be overwhelming on the fabric and since I was not sure where the chairs final resting place would be, I decided to keep it classic with black. I did add some tribal looking pattern detail on the frame of the chair, which I totally dig!
Using an orbital sander I sanded down the frame to bring it back to its original wood colour. Then I used a Polyacrylic clear matte to seal the wood. I picked up a wooden dowel from Home Depot and cut two pieces that fit between the frame to hold the fabric on the chair. This way the fabric is easily removable to allow for easy cleaning. I needed 20″ wide for the fabric to fit in between the frame. My fabric was wide enough that I was able to fold it in half for double thickness. Sew down the one side to create a long tube and turned it inside out so the unfinished edge is on the inside. Allow extra fabric at each end so I could fold the fabric over and sew tubes in the fabric for the dowels to fit in. I drew the tribal pattern using Sharpie pen, a bit of a stencil as well as freehand. Then I gave it a top coat to seal the permanent marker.
As I got the chair from the dump I really just had to make it work, which seems to be how most of my DIY projects are. So as you probably don’t have the same frame to work with I am going to spare you the step by step details. Instead I hope this piece inspires you to go looking for a piece that, until now, you may have overlooked. Go ahead get creative. If you have never done anything like this before don’t let that stop you. There has to be a first time for everything and you can always ask for help!
After finishing the slingback chair I decided its warm worn wood, hammock like seat, and easy foldability determined that it belongs down at the river. I love relaxing in this chair reading a book or watching the kids swim. It is WAY nicer than the one I had seen years ago driving by that Muskoka store and I made it for a fraction of the cost. And it is a one of a kind!