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



Fri, 06/03/2011 - 12:54

I love these chairs! We do kayaking and sailing camping expeditions in the Bahamas and the traditional, but cheap, camping chairs are so expensive and rust so fast, plus they are so ugly compared to these! I'll be working this summer on getting a stock of these chairs ready so our guests will have true 'luxury' camping in the islands :) THANKS ANA!!!!

Guesting (not verified)

Fri, 06/03/2011 - 13:16

assuming you wanted to make this for someone heavier - what would you suggest to make it stronger?

Also, you might put a hair pin cotter pin (spring type cotter pin) to make sure the dowels don't fall out during transport.

In reply to by Guesting (not verified)

Ana White

Fri, 06/03/2011 - 13:58

To make these chairs stronger - use hardwood for the frames, use 2x2s and 2x3s for the headers, use larger bolts. For an even stronger chair, you would use wider width boards for the frame, but at a certain point - the weight is going to be too much for the sling itself.


Fri, 06/03/2011 - 15:28

And I was worried that I may have to figure out how to scale the kid's sized chair to fit an adult. Thank you Ana for doing it AND running it through the Ram test.

I'm thinking the only addition that would make it better is a small pillow with a pocket along the top for a dowel so it can be fit in the like the sling covers. Leaves you free to use either side of the sling cover with your pillow.

Guess it's back to blue (was there once already today) to get supplies.

Stephanie (not verified)

Fri, 06/03/2011 - 17:25

When I made the kids chairs I got fabric for $2 a yard in the clearence section at Joann's. If I would have known this pattern would be up so soon I'd have bought enough for these chairs as well so they are a matching set! But their clearence is the best place to look...

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