Refurbished Folding Lawn Chair With Repurposed Materials




Introduction: Refurbished Folding Lawn Chair With Repurposed Materials

About: I like making things out of items that would have otherwise been discarded. Check out my other projects!

It's just an hour away from the close of a contest on Instructables.  That means I'm cramming like a freshman student to try and get my project done.  Strangely, that's the first and only introduction that i planned on writing for this project. 

I really should take this more seriously.

But I do.  For years I have been intermittently collecting seat belt webbing with the intent of making a folding lawn chair a bit more permanent.  And this project finally got me to dig them out and mash them up with the belts, webbing, and a few found objects to make the best folding lawn chair this side of the other side of my house.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

  • Drill and bits
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Hole punches
  • Pop rivet gun and rivets
  • An old folding aluminum lawn chair
  • Belts, seat belts, straps, dog collars...
  • Awl
  • Marker
  • Tape measure

Step 2: Strip the Old Frame

Take a faded , old aluminum frame and strip off the old webbing from it with a screwdriver. The one I have appeared to have been in too close contact with some major heat.  The cats loved it!  These are great pieces of furniture.  They can be fixed much easier than a broken plastic piece of what currently passes for lawn furniture.  Ultraviolet deterioration is a major contributor of the degradation of the chairs of this era.  Put a straight bit in your drill and remove the old (and likely rusted) screws from the frame.  Liberate those straw-like strands of plastic.

Step 3: Find the Center of the Chair

Find the center of the front and back bars of the chair.  Mark them with a permanent marker.  We'll be centering the first strap on this one. 

Step 4: Drill Holes in the Frame

You might need to drill new holes in the frame or you might be able to use (or enlarge) the holes that existed.  A really wide piece of webbing like i used for my center one will require two rivets on each end to distribute the weight better.

Step 5: Punch Holes in the Straps or Belts

Depending on the material you'll need different tools to put a hole in the straps.  Leather belts will best respond to a leather hole punch.  A seat belt strap or other webbed strap will work better with an awl.  You can use a store bought one or try to use the "sharp" side of a rivet to drive a hole into the strap.

Step 6: Rivet the Strap or Belt

Use a rivet of the same material as the frame to avoid eventual oxidation (aluminum in this case).  Use the pop rivet gun to secure the ends of the straps tor belts from the awl or hole punch from the previous step.

Step 7: Cut Off the Excess

Use scissors or the utility knife to cut off the extra end of the strap or belt.

Step 8: Repeat a Few Dozen Times!

In my case, half way through the project we went over to a friend's house (hence the venue change in the photos) and i wrapped it up there.  Drill, punch, rivet, repeat!  It really helps to have someone visually plan out the project trying to balance out the colors and materials.

Step 9: Add the Perpendicular Pieces

These shorter but more numerous pieces have to be weaved between the first pieces.   These are great to use old belts for because of the shorter length.  The same drill, punch, and rivet procedure is used. 

Step 10: Finish the Weave and Enjoy It!

Use up those old belts, pieces of seat belt webbing, and other straps to create an eclectic piece of furniture!

I have found that it's really comfortable too.

Betabrand Belt Reuse Challenge

Runner Up in the
Betabrand Belt Reuse Challenge



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    24 Discussions

    Love it.
    Great reuse.
    Great thought/suggestion/rule about keeping your eyes open when biking.
    But the most important part of this Instructable is your way of seeing new, useful uses that you can give the things that thousands of other people pass by.
    Thank you for a fine piece of work.

    i've no seatbelts but yards and yards of 4" truck straps. i was going to cut up some steel folding lawn chairs for rafter hooks but i've got to try this first! thanks for imagination!

    2 replies

    i'm sort of glad it's been a hard winter here. it took me a while to remember why i was going to cut up the chair frames into rafter hooks. when the chairs were still strung they killed my back! one thing with old truck straps, they're strong enough to grommet and lace underneath the chair, saves material and makes them adjustable.

    That looks great! Just what my old beach chairs need!
    Why rivets instead of screws?

    1 reply

    I wanted to prevent oxidation so wanted to use the same material as the frame of the chair. I could have used short screws though. ...and thank you!

    A chair like that was made into a 6 meter transmitting antenna and featured in QST magazine as the "Squallo".

    Shore do wish I could Find some of these old chairs.

    1 reply

    I like it. Unfortunately I cannot find the old fold up frames (new or used.) They only sell the frames already extended. You stack them up for transport. If you want a folding type, you have to get those hideous cloth ones that hurt your back.

    I wanted to say that you did a great job. I remember my Mom re-webbing ours when we were kids. We bought the webbing at TG&Y. Stuff was too expensive to throw away then.

    1 reply

    Yeah, I think many people discarded them long ago. It sure is sad!

    Thank you!

    Great idea!
    Much more stronger then those replacement plastic strips. Got a bunch of old rotted out chairs like that hanging out in the garage.

    Now to find a source of those discarded seatbelts.

    1 reply

    I have the opposite problem - not enough of the old lawn chair frames! But you can bet i'll be collecting them for the rest of my life now. As well as cutting out the seatbelts from every junk car that passes in front of me.

    Great instructable, chair looks pretty good for being repurposed! Its a shame that people throw out these chairs when the frame is still good. At the very least people could use the metal for other things

    3 replies

    I agree. Fortunately we're allowed to salvage from the metal and wood piles here and at least the person discarding it put it in that pile instead of the pile of stuff to be baled up and shipped to a landfill. I actually found another of these chairs the day that I finished this one! Fortunately I still had lots of material to work with so now have a second chair. (Although it doesn't match exactly.)

    Oh, and thank you!

    Sort of. The town's waste is baled up and shipped by barge to Seattle. But metal, wood, glass and recyclables can be separated. The wood is burned weekly. The metal and cars are picked up by a recycler about once a year. For $5 for a day or $50 for the year you can salvage through the wood, metal, and cars. Sometimes it is awesome. Sometimes a letdown. Rarely is it not worth $5!