Folding Deck, Beach or Sling Chairs, Child Size

Submitted by Ana White on Fri, 05/20/2011 - 12:54
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Build your own wood sling chairs, also known as deck chairs or wood beach chairs, in a child size. Featuring removable slings for easy washing, simple styling, and easy instructions, this foldable wood beach chair is affordable and cute, perfect for a perfect day at the beach.

We've been on the beach this week, and my daughter has been enjoying her very own beach chair, also called a deck chair, sling chair, and if you were to ask me, the most simple chair ever.

I started working on this chair a few weeks ago. For a child's chair, I wanted to build something as simple and easy to use as possible, but sturdy and cute at the same time.

As it turns out, it takes a lot of time to make something this simple. In fact, I spent three days thinking about this chair, building prototype after prototype, sitting in it, having Grandma sew sling after sling . . . and finally, I believe that we have created the best child's sling chair or deck chair possible. And this is why:

Cheap to build. A couple dollars in lumber, a yard of fabric, two bolts, six washers. A three foot long dowel. Each chair in totally should run you under $10. Build four, and you've saved $200 from Pottery Barn Kid's Sling chairs.

Fast. You won't believe how easy to build these chairs are! We built all four in about an hour. Grace's Grandma sewed the slings, and she estimates each sling to take about twenty minutes to sew.


 Simple. I spent hours and hours trying to create a means for these chairs to open simply, without latches or catches or other things that might discourage a toddler from using the chair. This chair simply folds open, and that's it. When your done, it folds flat.

Removable slings. Beach chair + Kids = must have easy to remove slings. With this chair, we used dowels so that keeping the fabric fresh and clean is fun and easy to do. Just remove the dowels, and the slings are free to wash or change!

The Ram sat in it. And Grace climbed on top. I'm not putting the weight limit at 250 pounds, but the little chair did hold up to it!



Shopping List

2 - 1/4" bolts, 2" long
2 - 1/4" nuts
6 - washers for bolts
1 - 36" long 1/2" dowel
2 - 1x2s, 8 feet long
1 yard outdoor fabric
thread and sewing notions

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

Back Frame
2 - 1x2 @ 32"
1 - 1x2 @ 19"
2 - 1x2 @ 17 1/2"

Seat Frame
3 - 1x2 @ 15 3/4"
2 - 1x2 @ 22 1/2"

1 - 1/2" Dowel @ 15 3/4"
1 - 1/2" Dowel @ 17 1/2"
2 - Outdoor Fabric @ 17" x 34"
For light colored fabrics, consider lining the sling with Muslim cut to the same size.

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
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

Backrest Frame. Build the backrest frame as shown above. We used glue and 2" finish nails to assemble, but you can also use the Kreg Jig, or countersunk screws. I found pocket hole screws on the tops slats was a little much for the wood and caused the wood to split, so we went the nails route. Just don't forget the glue.

Use a 1/4" drill bit to drill holes.

Step 2

Now build the second frame as shown above. Drill holes as shown with a 1/4" drill bit.

Step 3

Line the smaller sling up with the larger, as shown above, so holes are aligned. Slide bolt through, with a washer on each end of the bolt, and one in between the two wood frames (to protect your paint job). Tighten washers.

Step 4

And let'er fold open!

Now it's time to do a little bit of sewing.

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

Weave sling into chair and insert dowels into sleeves.

Step 9

One more photo so you can see how the sling attaches.

Step 10

Enjoy your day at the beach.

Step 11

And for those of you with a Kreg Jig :)

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.


Guest (not verified)

Sat, 05/28/2011 - 16:33

Me too! I'm ready to go to home depot to get supplies as soon as an adult version is created!

Guest (not verified)

Sun, 05/29/2011 - 07:47

I don't know if I am missing something, but I built the chair and have the fabric on with the doll rods and the chair will not stay up. When I open it up it just falls all the way back laying flat. Any help would be great!!

Dolores (not verified)

Sun, 05/29/2011 - 14:19

Guest - Just go over the plans step by step and make sure everything is measured and positioned right. I had a similar problem - when I opened my chair up it went almost flat. After checking step by step I found that I had positioned the bottom piece on the first frame 1.5" too low. After moving it all worked perfectly.


Mon, 05/30/2011 - 00:48

Here's something I'm finding helpful... Before you start assembling things, cut a bunch of spacers - 3/8" thick slices of any size scrap board. Then put spacers under the cross-pieces when you're assembling, to raise them up just enough so that they're centered against the side pieces. It also makes it quick & easy to keep the top parallel pieces straight and evenly spaced.

Guest (not verified)

Mon, 05/30/2011 - 15:40

Just a note- It's muslin fabric, not Muslim fabric if you want an extra lining. This is an awesome plan! Thanks!

Guest (not verified)

Mon, 05/30/2011 - 17:08

Could money be saved by not making the fabric reversible, or is a double layer of fabric needed for the strength of the seat portion?

Guest (not verified)

Wed, 06/01/2011 - 20:01

Love this - my husband is out making mine now. He'll do the woodwork, I'll do the sewing. I will say that the measurements are off for the amount of wood we needed -- if you add up all the cuts you get 118 inches for the back and 92 1/4 for the seat (total of 210 1/4 inches and 2 8 foot long pieces is only 192 inches total.) So unless we are reading this wrong, it would be better to get the 3 1x2x6 pieces (like another commenter said.) Nonetheless, I am excited about getting these made. Don't know where everyone else is getting their wood or if its because my husband wanted to buy better wood pieces, but it will cost us more than $10, but still much less than PB. :) Plus I think they'll be cuter, my girls can pick their own fabric and I can embroider their names -- they'll have the cutest chairs on the beach. Thanks!!

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