Introduction: Backward Build Chaise Lounge Chair (100% Rescued Materials)

About: I'm a life-hacking reuse junkie who loves to create, even if all I'm making is a mess. I love hammers and rocks and history and hand planes. I hugged trees before it was cool but can still operate a chainsaw. …

All of my builds are made from 100% reclaimed material. Why? Because it's fun, inexpensive, challenging, and I'm a tree-hugger. It just takes a little imagination and some reverse engineering. The traditional build has plans and calls for materials. My builds have materials and call for a plan.

This lounge chair is one of those backward builds. I found the chaise cover in my local IKEA's salvage department a few years ago. It took a fair bit of bin digging for compatible pieces, but I found the three that make up my upholstery at a total cost of $3. Nice score, even for a black belt cheapskate like myself. I chose it from the materials stockpile recently and this chaise is what I built to fit it.

This is a nice and easy one you should be able to whip up in an afternoon. Negligible finishing is involved. Let's face it: finish work can get a little tedious and sometimes you just need an instant gratification build (or at least I do). On that same vein, as long as it's square, the frame can be ugly under all that nice fabric, so the project gets high marks for scrap-busting. My legs all match, but the rest is a jumble of leftovers.

Note: in this Instructable, I'll be sharing the materials/tools I used, and steps I followed. This project, like most, can be customized to fit your set of circumstances. There's more than one way to do everything. My way is right. So is yours.

Another note: in case you are curious, my IKEA heaven is no longer. The last few times I've hit the "as-is" room, there were items still in their original packages. Nothing was severely damaged or strewn about. Gallon bags of hardware for a dollar are nowhere to be seen. I saw a chair cover similar to the one I used. Priced $75. I'm glad I stocked up while the gettin' was good.

Step 1: Gather Tools & Materials

saw(s): compound miter saw, table saw
drill, driving bit, countersink bit
staple gun 
tape measure
speed square

(mixed species) 2x4, 2x2, 1x4, 1x2
1/2" plywood

Other Materials
Wood glue
Screws (various lengths)
chair cover
fabric in coordinating color (for better coverage of the plywood seat platform, optional)
4" (for the seat) and 3" (for the back cushion) firm foam pad or other semi-dense "stuffing" plus enough thin flexible foam to provide some roundness under the upholstery around frame corners

Step 2: Measure, Mark, and Cut

Measure chair cover to determine measurements.

My overall measurements are 30 x 60 x 30, so we'll use that for the cut list.

Measure, mark, and cut:
2 x 4 - 2@30" & 2@57" (seat frame)

2 x 2 - 4@27" (seat supports)
            2@24" (leg supports)
            2@11" (front legs)
            5@29" (back legs & back rest rear)

1 x 4- 1@30" bevel one long edge at 15º (back rest top)

1 x 2- 4@29" (back rest front)

1/2" ply- 2@7" x 17" (back rest sides), On each of these pieces, mark the center point on the top edge (short side) and a point 4" from bottom on one long side edge. Cut the line between these 2 points. 
               1@56 7/8" x 26 7/8" (seat... I actually used some fence boards for the seat, but for simplicity we'll pretend I used 1/2" plywood, if that's okay with you?) notch 1 1/2" squares from both corners on one short side to accommodate back legs

Step 3: Glue and Screw

Time to join it all together. 

Assemble the pieces per the attached images. Predrill, countersink, and join with plain ol' wood glue and screws. Save the plywood seat panel for the next step, as this will be covered with fabric before putting into place.

All the joints in this project are butt joints. Because this kind of joint isn't as strong as some of its more complex counterparts, it's important to make sure your screws are up to task. Mix in a few 1/4" lag screws at frame corners and points of high stress.

Check for square as you go.

Note: if you anticipate your chaise will be subject to heavier than average loads (or teenage boys) it's not a bad idea to modify these instructions for 2x4 legs

Step 4: Staple, Stuff, Cover, and Sit... Ahhhh

Staple foam to front side of backrest and around the frame, giving most attention (and padding) to any corners.

Wrap coordinating fabric around the plywood seat panel and staple in place on the underside of the panel. Set the panel into the seat frame. As long as your panel isn't bowed, fastening is unnecessary. Covering this part is optional, but will give a more professional look to the project, as sitting on the cushion may cause it to shift slightly to reveal a bit of not-so-pretty plywood. Covering only the outside few inches of the panel would also be sufficient. 

Pull base cover securely around frame and secure with staples.

Stuff seat and back cushion covers and place on lounge.

Now sit down and kick up your feet, 'cause this chaise is done. Nice building!

Note: Finding the correct padding may be the trickiest part of this project. For my seat pad I used a combination of 2 smaller sofa cushions wrapped in an thin egg carton type pad (carton side inward). I used foam flooring underlayment (doubled at corners) under the base chaise cover around the backrest and the seat frame to fill in the contours of the cover and give the chaise a less rigid look.

Foam pads are so nice to have around but they're hard to REsource. I always keep my eyes open for dumpster-bound furniture with cushions, especially if it was made in the last 20 years or so. A lot of times I find that even if a "free" couch looks beat, there's usually an extra layer of protection under the outside upholstery fabric that keeps the foam cushions beneath plenty useable if not downright pristine, provided they haven't been seriously worked over or peed on by an inconsiderate cat (ick).

Step 5: Oh, and One More Thing

I personally take a nap on each chair I build immediately upon completion. I slept an entire night on this comfy little guy. While I was sleeping, I had a WONDERFUL dream. I dreamt that I was flying around on an enormous chartreuse velvet unicorn and he gave me an umbrella because it was raining gold flakes and he didn't want my hair to get messed up which is completely silly on account of my hair was already messed up because of all the flying and also because it still had sawdust in it. But anywaaaay, when we landed, the unicorn said that he would give me one wish (which, incidentally, is why they're called unicorns... I always thought it was the horn, but I stand corrected). He said I could wish for anything at all. So I wished for the most awesome thing I could think of: an EPILOG Zing (to be continued...)

Epilog Challenge V

Participated in the
Epilog Challenge V