Make It New - Lawn Chair

I am so happy to introduce you to our newest guest contributor Mattea! She is an advocate for thoughtful consumerism and has a special skill for taking items that are "beyond repair" and giving them new life. Welcome Mattea!

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I’m excited to present the very first “Making It New” blog post! We believe that part of responsible consumerism is not buying more things new when you don’t need to. This prevents buying things from companies with a plethora of poor business practices, and also keeps more stuff (often still useful) out of landfills. This means taking things from thrift stores, garage sales, curbside free piles, or just things that you yourself have had for a while, and making them new. Are you excited? I know I am! Here we go!

 

Summer isn’t over yet. And frankly, fall is still beautiful and I love sweatshirts and fires, so the need for lawn chairs isn’t over yet! I’ve found a fairly simple way to re-strap some old lawn chairs and make them last for many more years to come! Not to mention, you get to add your own color and design flair. Choose your colors wisely, these chairs are here to stay...

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What you need:

  • Aluminum lawn chair, aluminum frame intact and with all screws.

  • Screw driver or wrench - depending on what your chair needs.

  • 1 inch webbing. (See notes below on webbing)

  • Scissors

  • a movie or two, good music, or book on tape to have on in the background. It’s not a super quick project.

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Notes on webbing: This type of webbing is used for a variety of things, often by climbers and other outdoorspeople. It comes in 2 types, tubular and flat. Both are beyond strong enough for this project. I went with tubular, as that is what we most often use at our house for our personal outdoorsiness, but I don’t imagine a major difference in performance for this project. 2 inch webbing exists and will look more like the original width of that straps, but doesn’t have as many color options readily available. 1 inch was still plenty comfortable in the end. Expect to pay between 30-50 cents per foot. (it’s not the cheapest re-do ever, I admit, but these straps will easily outlast the aluminum frame! And this webbing has a bajillion other uses, so having extra is not a bad thing) I got my webbing new from REI in order to get some more color options, but most local outdoors stores will have some of this webbing available. You could also check with climbing gyms, but they likely won’t give away anything used as there can be liability on them. If you hear of any climber folk looking to get rid of theirs, take it!

 

I used 36 ft total, 18 ft of each color. Make sure to measure your own chair, as not all aluminum lawn chairs are created equal. Your chair may have different dimensions, and/or different numbers of straps, therefore a different amount of webbing, and I’m not gonna do that math for you. You probably don’t want me to. But, be sure to account for at least 3 extra inches per edge of each length of webbing you need, or your chair will be short a couple straps.

 

Alright, once you have your pile of webbing, start unscrewing your chairs. (If you are worried about remembering how to wrap the webbing, take a picture of your chair to reference later.)

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As noted above, there isn’t always consistency in what kind of tool you will need. The green chairs I chose to re-web just needed a simple slotted screwdriver. You can see my other orange chair will need a hex.

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You can either put the screws back in the chair like I did, or maybe put them safely in a bowl. I may or may not have had a screw or two fall out and may or may not have lost one for an evening… If that happened, I did find it back later, but learn from my mistakes

 

Pull off all the old webbing. Now your poor chair is naked. Let’s fix that!

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Take one end of your webbing and fold over at least an inch with the striped side facing out. Folding the webbing makes it much more stable and durable.

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Poke a hole through both pieces of webbing in the middle of the fold with something smoother than a screw. I simply used the screw driver, my husband preferred using a large nail. Either way, this helps make an easier path for the blunt screws to go through. (You COULD drill a hole in the webbing. I chose not to do this because I think breaking as few of the threads as possible will help with longevity of the chair.) This is probably the most annoying and time consuming step of the whole process, but you start to get a rhythm going after the first couple are done.

 

Screw the folded piece onto the frame. Keep the fold pointing to the back/inside of the chair, and the loose end underneath the long piece. The webbing will wrap around the frame to the front, then stretch across the front of the opposing frame edge and back around… not easy to understand directions. Look at the pictures you took of your chair, and at these pictures. It’s important to go around the frame that little bit because it makes the whole chair stronger. Let’s not hurt ourselves, friends.

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Once you’ve done one, congrats! You get it! Now, do it a bunch more.

I did all of my long straps first, then moved on to the short straps. Remember, over-under-over-under… that’s all the help I’m giving you on weaving basics.

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Then, put some wood on the fire and get your s’mores stuff together (with your favorite fair trade chocolate of course), because even though it’s after labor day, we’ve got some fun nights with friends left!

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