Aluminum Chair Makeover

Woven Aluminum ChairI have a hard time saying no to vintage aluminum chairs. They are such a summer icon and can come in some great colors. Sadly, some of ours have had so much use, the webbing had become threadbare and brittle. I wasn’t sure one of them would last another summer, so I decided to see how I might give it new life. Macrame seemed one of the few options, but I didn’t know if I wanted to mess with all the knot tying, and I’ve been on a weaving kick as of late, so I ditched the knots and settled on a fun geometric pattern in vintage-inspired colors.

PlayTimeWoven Chair DIYSuppliesSupplies:
-aluminum chair (mine are child-sized)
-paracord and macrame cord in varying colors but similar in size (150′-200′ total, depending on chair size)
-scissors
-flathead screwdriver
-rubber band

UndoneStep One: Remove webbing from your chair by cutting the straps and then unscrewing the posts on the back of your frame.

Step Two: Decide which color you want to start with, and tie a double knot around the seat of your frame at the edge of the flat front. Leave a tail of about 5″. I used a rubber band to loosely hold my paracord and macrame cord together as I wrapped it to keep things from getting too tangled.

WeaveitStep Three: Wrap your cord under the central bar at the bend of the chair and up and over the top of the frame. Then wrap back under the bend of the chair, and wrap over the bottom edge of the seat frame next to where you started. 

Step Four: All of your rows should wrap from the front and over the back of the frame edges. Continue until you wish to switch colors or run out of cord. Tie a double knot around either the top or bottom frame edge, depending on where you end up, and make sure you have enough cord left to tuck in when you’re done. You can also tie onto the next color or strand of cord as shown below.

WeaveonStep Five: Weave until you are near the other end of the flat part of the frame. There will be a slight negative space in the rounded corner, but don’t fret. It’s supposed to be that way.

IMG_7475Step Six: To start weaving in the other direction, just tie on the side of the frame with a double knot and leave about 5″ of tail. To make the triangle pattern, take your cord under the first four rows (two top and two bottom to get four total), and then come up and over with your cord. Tuck it back under so that you have four left on the other end. Wrap your cord over the top of the frame on the other side, and go back the same way you came as shown above.

IMG_7476Step Seven: Wrap over that starting side of your frame, and come up under those first four plus the next two so that you’re skipping a total of six. Mimic that same amount on the opposite side, and then come back the way you came again.

IMG_7477Step Eight: Keep repeating this pattern of reducing two rows every time you go across, and then follow back the same way you came. This will create a triangular pattern. Keep going with that cord until you finish or need to tie on another end of the same color.

IMG_7484Step Nine: This is what it looks like to switch colors with each new triangle. I ended up with three on the bottom and three on the top for this size of frame. If you use an adult-sized chair I would suggest using a thicker macrame cord to make quicker work.

IMG_7478Step Ten: Trim your loose tails so that they are just long enough to tuck in and rest inside. If this were a macrame project, your loose ends would be better hidden, but we’re just weaving and leaving the fancy knot-tying to another project.

Woven Chair TutorialThis was one of the more time-intensive projects I’ve done lately, and it may be a while before I can finish another one, but after Sebastian saw this one he put an order in for a red, white, and blue chair with a large ‘X’ on the top and bottom. We’ll see.

I learned a lot through trial and error on this project. If you pull too tightly on the first round of woven rows, you’ll end up with a chair that won’t stay open after it’s been woven even tighter with a second layer. Also, if you get your rows too close to the rounded edges, they’ll slide over and mess up your neatly-spaced pattern. Finally, thin cord comes in prettier colors, but it also means a lot more rows to weave. Worth it? I think so.

Kick BackFavorite ChairI’ve never been so enamored with a chair before. Time will tell about how well it holds up to the energy of a four-year-old. I may just hide this one away so it doesn’t get dirty! –Rachel

Credits// Author: Rachel Denbow. Photography: Rachel Denbow. Edited with actions from the Signature Collection.

  • Looks like UO took some inspiration from this ???? https://www.urbanoutfitters.com/shop/woven-outdoor-lawn-chair

  • I’m late seeing this post… but gosh! How do y’all come up with these awesome ideas!? It’s like never ending awesomeness. This is such a great idea to redo those nasty old chairs everyone has hanging out in their garages http://www.aluminium-sheet-hw.com/

  • Congratulations on the text. Great post. Thank you for sharing with us.

  • Hi
    I love your blog! I have learned a lot from your articles. You give great tips and has a unique viewpoint on style that I love. Whenever I return in search of new subjects. Thanks for sharing and wish your audience grows increasingly. Success!

  • Been doing this for years. They last forever when they are finished. Love them.

  • omg! thank u for this. i’ve been totally into weaving lately… i’ve started with small baskets but this is so perfect! my next project for sure. thank u for sharing. not to mention i’ve been eying those woven chairs at cb2 and especially this chair http://www.enfemenino.com/casa/decoracion-de-verano-d52974.html

  • This is beautiful. Does the chair fold shut (to store it) once it is completed?

  • I’m late seeing this post… but gosh! How do y’all come up with these awesome ideas!? It’s like never ending awesomeness. This is such a great idea to redo those nasty old chairs everyone has hanging out in their garages

  • This is soooo cute!! I love it!

    Nicky
    zeeblikesit.blogspot.com
    xx

  • Oh wow, what you’ve done is amazing! So creative and what an awesome unique piece it is now!

  • I’ve seen full size chairs like this at a neighborhood get together, and was racking my brain trying to figure out how she did it. Now I have hope I can do this too.

  • This is AMAZING! Love it so, so much. Off to find some aluminum chairs to re-weave!

  • This is such a cool diy! I would have never thought of doing something like this in a million years, but it looks great! so glad you shared this project! 🙂

    http://everydayingrace.blogspot.ca/

  • Love this project! So pretty! I wonder how it will hold up. I’d love to know!

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • So pretty! Great job!

    I bought these vintage aluminum rocking chairs at a thrift shop. My husband said they were hideous, but I bought them anyway of course!

    http://www.womaninreallife.com/2012/05/hideous-chairs.html#.U4zAQvmwJcQ

  • Love this a lot!! Have been eyeing my old aluminum beach chair – thanks for the inspiration!

  • What a great idea! Brilliant way to update instead if throwing out. Thanks for sharing!
    Lisa
    http://www.creagirl.com

  • this is amazing!!

    http://wethinkthereforewecreate.blogspot.com

  • These look so cool, it’s so simple to as well. I don’t know how you came up with this
    Lauren
    livinginaboxx

  • This is one of the coolest projects you’ve done, which is saying a lot considering all of your projects are cool! I never would’ve thought to do something like this and I love trying to upcycle things! Thanks for the great idea!

  • It’s truly amazing what you guys come up with! Love the colors on the chair! <3

  • This so awesome! I am assuming its fine for children but I would be worried I would break something like this. Especially since it is so pretty, I would hate to break it.
    Carlee
    http://thelittlesloth.blogspot.com/

  • This chair is super fun. Love it!

    X
    Courtney

    http://nikitaandvesper.com/

  • What a brilliantly colorful idea. I never would have thought of this, does it hold weight well?

    http://xfallenmoon.blogspot.com

  • Love these and haven’t seen these types of chairs in years! Great job 🙂

  • I love this! Way cuter than your typical lawn chair, that’s for sure! I love the look of a good aluminum vintage chair.

    Sincerely,

    Laurali Star

    http://www.thesecretsurprisinista.com

  • This is so so great! I’m always trying to figure out what to do with these old chairs! Love this!

    http://sometimesgracefully.com

  • I love this…I need new furniture…..so far haven’t seen anything that I like…so I might try and make something instead..
    http://vodkaandarose.blogspot.co.uk

  • This is genius! I’ve just moved house and I have a big beautiful bay window in my room and I’ve been looking for a chair for it. You have given me hope it’s not going to cost hundreds!

    http://www.annadorabel.com

    xx

  • Such a cute idea. I like inspiring work like this that gives old things a new spark 🙂

    Lisa – AT LEAST BLOG

  • This is an amazing idea! I gasped when I saw it! It turned out absolutely beautiful.

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