If you made a new years resolution to use that exercise ball & plethora of fitness magazines, here is your chance! These Super easy chairs are made with simple supplies and minimal skills. Any average joe/mario can do it! They are perfect for reading nooks and themed rooms. The theme I've chosen is Super Mario Bros (for my nephew) but the concept and techniques in this instructable can be adapted to suite your own unique style or theme.
Provided are instructions for:
Easy Scoop Chairs (chain chomp & piranha plant)
Easy Pillow Top Chair or Ottoman (1-up & koopa shell)
Easy Toy Container (Bob-omb)
Step 1: Your Design
I wanted to enter the furniture contest but I have very little wood working supplies and tools in that department, so I stuck to what I do have a lot of, and that's garbage. In general these chairs are constructed out of a fabric coated paper mache scoop, a plastic base, and some detailing. Before selecting your supplies however, you'll want to have a game plan. Since I wanted to leave your minds open to your own Ideas I decided to include some design tips that I've learned along the way. (This project was definitely a trial & error process)
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
~The hight of the base~ If you want the chair to be used primarily for children use a shorter base (like on the chain chomp). For adults you will want to use a taller base (piranha plant) This makes it easier for them to climb in and out of.
~The bottom width of the base~ Be sure that the base you choose is fairly wide to prevent tipping. (top heavy) If it is not you can add some width with a plastic serving plater or lid like I did.
~The shape of the scoop~ If you are designing it for children you can have a fuller sphere like I've done here. If it is going to be for an adult a more open shape/hemisphere works better for comfort purposes.
*If you are still having trouble getting past the Mario Bros theme here are a few design adaptations I had in mind for a hemisphere scoop: Flowers, Watermelon, Orange, lemon slice, Cereal/ soup bowl, & patch work/ quilt scoop. These are just a few to get the ball rolling in your mind.
Step 2: Easy Scoop Chairs: Supplies
To construct the scoop chairs you will need:
Large exercise ball (65cm)
sta flo liquid starch (1-2 jugs)
paper (newspaper, magazines, paper bags etc.)
base( bucket, pail, garbage can etc.)
Cotton fabric in the color you desire. (I used old sheets) TIP: If you use old fitted sheets you can also salvage the elastic.
duct tape (to secure & decorate the base)
paint, felt, fleece etc. (what ever you want for detailing)
Spray on laquer or clear coat (water proofing/durability)
OPTIONAL: Lid to extend width on the bottom of the base.
bowl for the starch
Step 3: Building the "Scoop"
To build the scoop you will use paper mache. It's one of my favorite mediums because it is easy to work with, versatile, and sturdy. There are probably 101 ways to do paper mache but I prefer using sta flo starch as my "paste." It is easy to work with and not as messy. Plus the end result is more flexible rather then brittle, making it a perfect candidate for this project.
NOTE: If you are doing these as a gift allow yourself at least 1 week due to drying times between layers.
*Inflate your exercise ball. (This will be our form) and place it on the base, using it as a temporary working stand.
*Cut your fabric & tear your paper product into small strips or chunks. I did about 4" squares.(If the material doesn't spread out smoothly on the surface of the ball your pieces are too large)
To work a layer:
*Pour some starch in your bowl.
*Dip a piece of the material (depending of which layer you are working on) into the starch & use your fingers to squeegee out the excess.
*Apply the piece to the ball & smooth it out.
TIP: Try to think ahead and arrange your work on the ball so that the plug is left uncovered. This will aid in the removal of the ball later.
* Repeat this application until the shape you want is formed & you have completed all of the following layers. (If you don't mind some markings on your ball you can use a sharpie to draw your shape first or just wing it like I did.)
1. Inner fabric color
2.- 4.layers of paper material
5.- 7 layers of paper material
8.- 9.Build neck & add layer with paper material (see next step)
10.Outer fabric color
*Notice that you work only about 2-3 layers at a time then allow 24 hrs to dry completely.
TIP: The more variation in the size and direction of your pieces, the stronger the end product will be. Due to the lack of obvious paths for cleavage. In other words, try to be more random about placement rather then methodical.
Step 4: Attaching the Base
Once your layers are dried you can attach the base. Your work will remain on the ball for this.
1. Orient the base so the widest end is on the bottom.
2. Take your hot glue and attach the scoop in the position you prefer best on top of the base. TIP: try to keep the front lip relatively low so that people can get in and out easily. Keep in mind this is only a temporary hold, to secure it you will build a neck. (Don't try sitting in it yet because this bond will not be secure enough yet. Like I said, trial & error.)
3. Using your paper, fill in the gaps between the scoop and the base so that it transitions smoothly.
4. Using your paper strips, add the last paper layer covering the joint. This creates a neck on the scoop. Be sure to work down the base about 4" allowing plenty of area to be covered with the duct tape.
5. Now let your addition dry.
6. Work the FINAL outer fabric layer.
Step 5: Detailing
Once that final fabric coat is dried you can remove the ball & decorate it.
*To remove the ball take the plug out and drain enough around until you can pull it away from the sides.
*Paint any details on the outside and/or inside of the scoop.
*Let your paint dry.
* Now spray the scoop with your clear coat finish.
*Let the clear finish dry.
*Take your colored duct tape wrap around the "neck" and down the entire base. (This permanently secures the scoop & decorates)
*Using felt & hot glue you can add things like teeth, or petals etc.
*Using some fleece and some stuffing you can sew some fun shaped pillows.( I did some nice pink tongues)
Your SUPER easy scoop chairs are done!
Step 6: Easy Pillow Top Chair or Ottoman: Supplies
Out of the collection this chair was the family favorite. It's even easier then the scoop chairs! It is comfortable for people of all sizes & it also doubles as a secret storage container for extra blankets, clothes, toys, or whatever else you want to stash away.
You will need:
54" square piece of fleece (In the color you want for the pillow top)
1 tub rope container
36" of 1/4" elastic
Felt for detailing
some paint (I used left over indoor paint & some acrylics)
Some soft filler (blankets, pillows, plastic bags)
OPTIONAL: a garbage can lid. If you want to store irregular shaped or hard items ie. toys then you will want a large disc like a garbage can lid, or ufo sled etc. to act as a divider between the pillow top and storage.
Sewing machine & notions
Step 7: Pillow Top: Construction
To construct the 1-up chair:
*paint your design on the tub & top it with a clear finish.
*Cut your 54" square into a 54" circle.
*Cut out 5 felt circles (or whatever details fit your design)
*Top stitch your felt details onto the large fleece circle
*Fold over about a 1 inch hem and sew the edge around the entire circle leaving about a 1 inch opening for the elastic.
*Thread your elastic through the opening completely around the circle.
*Sew together the ends of the elastic to secure them.
*Sew shut the 1" opening (optional)
*Fill the base & mushroom top with your soft stuffing material & the base with your storage stuff.
OPTIONAL: Fill just the top and add the garbage can lid as a divider if you are storing irregular shaped things or leaving the bottom empty.
*Flip the top onto the base and pull the elastic down around the rim of the tub.
I designed it this way so that the filling is easily replaceable and accessed, and so the chair is dually purposed.
*The koopa shell ottoman is done by using these same techniques on a rectangular storage tote.
Step 8: Easy Toy Container
I find this design very fitting because I'm always saying that it looks like a bomb exploded in the kids room! This simple toy container is worked exactly the same as the scoop chairs only with a fuller sphere shape, and an added lid.
*You will need the same materials as for the scoop chairs plus a few things for details
2 yellow oval totes
small bowl for the base
large bowl for the lid
yellow duct tape
Work the layers the same as you would the scoop chairs.
Leave an opening slightly smaller then width of your lid. (be sure to leave the plug exposed)
Once all your layers are dried, remove the ball by draining the air.
Paint on any details and spray inside & out with clear finish.
*You can attach the base just as you did on the scoop chairs.
For the bomb I used a cool whip container to work the "neck" on.
Then glued two oval totes on as shoes.
To make the lid:
paint a bowl, and spray it with clear finish.
add a piece of rope as a wick. (I used a rope from one of the tubs used for the pillow top chairs)
line the rim of the bowl with pieces of velcro,
line the lip of the bomb with velcro
*This is what I did for the bomb but you can use a bowl, or a plater, or whatever else might fit your design scheme.
Step 9: Power Up
When I constructed my first scoop chair I was skeptical of its strength because I had originally designed it for small children. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they seemed to have SUPER strength and flexibility too. I think I ended up using it more then anyone else! I wanted to test it's strength a little more so I had my husband use it as well, and it surpassed my expectations. As for as it's absolute weight limit I don't know yet, but I can say that ours supported up to 250 lbs. successfully. The flexibility helps also because obviously an adult will not fit into the curve of the sphere, so it was helpful that the back portion could flex open more for large people. The only really issue I found was due to how light weight the materials are. I found that you kind of have to hold them down when getting in or out or they will tip over. I think that if you want to "power up" this weakness perhaps add some weight to the base are inside the base.
I hope you can enjoy this project, and just have fun coming up with your own unique designs!