Wood Folding Sling Chair, Deck Chair or Beach Chair - Adult Size

Submitted by Ana White on Fri, 06/03/2011 - 12:10
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Folding adult sized wood sling chair, also known as wood beach chairs or deck chairs. Folds flat for storage, opens up for easy relaxation! Adjusts to three positions for customized reclining. Features removable slings.

Child sized plans also available.

I know this chair has been a long time coming . . . it's also been a long time in the making. When you first started requesting a sling chair (also known as wood beach chairs or folding deck chairs) I knew it was definitely a project I wanted to tackle. I just didn't know it would take me four prototypes to finally be able to put this seal on it . . .

And believe it or not . . . it's still not done.  The stain is still a little tacky - thus the slings are pulled tight, and I couldn't find a single volunteer to test it out in a photo.
But I promise, this one is super comfy.  If you've ever sat in a sling chair, all you have to do is close your eyes and you are at the beach.  The way the sling works, you almost feel weightless.
This chair costs and estimated $25 to build.  The best deal I've found on outdoor canvas fabric, 54" wide is $8.98 per yard, for designer brands from Fabric.com...and they have Free Return Shipping too! 
Slings are reversible.  For light colored fabrics with high contrast prints, you may consider lining the slings with canvas duck fabric. 
I used Minwax Gel Stain for this chair frame for a rich even stain.  The strength and durability of this chair is highly Dependant on what type of materials you use and how you build your chair.  As shown and built by me, the Ram (200LBS + and six feet tall) approved of the design and the size.  Your chair could differ depending on the types of materials you use and the building techniques you use.
Dimensions are shown above.


Shopping List

1 - 6' 1/2" Diameter Wood Dowel
1 1/2 Yards Outdoor Fabric, 54" wide
Sewing Notions and Thread
1 - 1x3 @ 48" long
4 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long
4 - 1/4" diameter bolts, 2" long with matching nuts
12 - washers to fit bolts

Common Materials
2 inch screws
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Cut List

Backrest Frame
2 - 1x2 @ 48"
1 - 1x2 @ 24"
1 - 1x2 @ 25 1/2"
1 - 1x3 @ 24"

Seat Frame
2 - 1x2 @ 44"
4 - 1x2 @ 23 3/4"
1 - 1x2 @ 22 1/4"
1 - 1x3 @ 22 1/4"

Prop-Up Support
2 - 1x2 @ 15"
1 - 1/2" Diameter Wood Dowel @ 25 1/2"

Fabric Slings
2 - Outdoor Fabric Squares @ 54" x 22 3/4"
2 - 1/2" Diameter Wood Dowel @ 22"

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Build the back frame very carefully as shown above. The main weight bearing joints are going to be where the fabric slings pull on the headers - so take great care to use glue, carefully predrill holes, avoid splitting your wood, and attach in place. There is a 3/8" gap between the header boards. Drill the holes as shown above for the bolts.

Step 2

Build the smaller sling as shown above, taking great care again to create strong joints for the headers.

Step 3

Once both frames are complete, line the frames up as shown above, and insert bolts, with washers on both sides of bolt, and one washer between the two wood frames to protect the finish on your wood frames. The chair should now swing open, but there will be nothing to keep the chair from staying open. See next step . . .

Step 4

Build the propup support as shown above. Attach with bolts and washers to the backrest frame, in the remaining predrilled bolt hole. Rest between seatframe slats. You will be able to move the prop up to adjust the angle of the chair.

Time to make that sling.

Step 5

Step 6

Using a larger stitch length, topstitch edges along both (long) sides only. A decorative stitch is optional. Finish edges by tucking thread into project.

Step 7

Fold bottom and top over 1 1/2” to create “sleeves.”
Topstitch using same seam allowance as on the sides.
Finish edges by tucking thread into project.

Step 8

By threading the slings through the chair headers, then threading the dowels in the "sleeves" you create a sling that is held in place sturdily, but is easy to remove to wash or change the look up.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.
Project Type


Kalli (not verified)

Fri, 08/05/2011 - 07:41

I bought 54" home decorator fabric and sewed them according to directions, but the fabric is taught. It doesn't sag like the chairs in the pictures. Has anyone else had this problem?

Sherry (not verified)

Fri, 09/23/2011 - 21:03

Want to make one of these for my husband for Christmas. He is 6"4'...will he fit in this chair comfortably??

Aia (not verified)

Fri, 06/08/2012 - 06:35

can anyone tell me how high the front of this sits off the ground? My husband has a bad back and does not like chairs that make him feel like his behind is hovering inches from the ground. I am actually looking to modify this into a double-wide/loveseat. Has anyone modified their chairs into a more upright position vs lounger?

raj_k (not verified)

Tue, 07/24/2012 - 09:26

I am new to this so I apologize if its a silly question. The above picture in Step 1 refers to "fasten the top boards with screw and glue, predirlled"

Do I predrill holes to on the side frame wood( 48") so I can have the screw from the side connecting the top board? Is that 2 inch screws are for?

Phil O'Connell…

Wed, 07/10/2013 - 18:33

This looks like a great chair, and as per usual, easy to follow plans, too!
Next chance we have to build more things, this is on the list for sure! Just have to finish building a fence first!

Cheers from New Brunswick in Canada!


Tue, 08/20/2013 - 14:54

Hi, Ana. I happen to have two of these wonderful chairs from the 1930-40's, and they are so comfy to sit in. I wanted to know what color of Minwax Gel stain you used, and how many coats you applied to get that color? Thanks - for ALL your wonderful plans. Much success on the book - it's terrific!


Sat, 08/31/2013 - 08:12

I beefed these chairs up a bit by using 5/4 stock and 5/8 inch dowels. They held 300 lbs no problem. As one person previously pointed out, a simple way to strengthen the arm / back support is by drilling through the arm support and cutting the dowels long to go all the way through and then gluing the dowels in place. No screwing necessary. These turned out awesome, really comfortable, and super pretty to boot.


Thu, 05/22/2014 - 06:00

Hi Anna!

I cannot wait to try these out! What are the chances of getting plans for a folding sling foot rest?


Fri, 05/30/2014 - 11:11

I love these! Is the supply list for 2 chairs? I need to make at least 4, maybe 6(LOL)

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