As Father’s Day quickly approaches, I’m reminded of my annual pilgrimage to the department store in search of that perfect gift for dad. But thirty-something years later, I’ve exhausted the “Best Dad Ever” boxers and accompanying mug, and I’m pretty sure he has two of every grill accessory made. This month on Upholstery Basics, we turn an inexpensive luggage rack into a catchall outdoor chair perfect for your next camping trip or Father’s Day gift. —
Read the full how-to after the jump…
- flat-head screwdriver
- measuring tape
- 2 yards of fabric (54″ wide)
- white or yellow chalk
- zipper chain and pull
- sewing machine and thread
- non-stretch seat webbing
- hand stapling plier or T-pins
- (2) 2″ bolt, lock washer, and nut
- drill and 3/16″ drill bit (optional)
- wire cutters (optional)
Striped fabric: – These outdoor fabrics are bleachable!
1. Start by removing the metal attachments that hold the straps to the frame. Use a flat-head screwdriver and a pair of pliers to get under the head and continue lifting and prying until it pops off. These buggers are resilient, so don’t give up!
3. The original luggage rack is a bit taller than comfortable seat height, so I widened the distance between the top bars to lower the height. Use heavy duty outdoor fabric for extra strength and stain resistance. These Sunbrella fabrics are bleachable! Draw and cut out your pieces using the diagram below.
5. Then we’ll connect the right and left sides to the front and back sides. As you stitch the front to the right and left sides, be sure your zipper pull is attached to the chain and place a small piece of doubled-over fabric over the zipper to reinforce the ends.
6. Cut three strips of webbing long enough to reach from the front to the back of the seat with an extra 5″ on either end for attaching it to the inside of the loops. Stitch the webbing to the backside of the top fabric within 1/2″ of the cut edge. Stitch over the webbing a second time to reinforce the connections.
12. Repeat steps 8-11 to attach the loop to the backside of the top.
13. Just like a boxed cushion, we’ll attach all four sides to the top and bottom of the bag. With good sides facing, align the top edges of the sides with the perimeter of the top piece. Use T-pins or a hand stapling plier to hold the fabric together as you sew around the edge.
15. To make the edges of the camping chair crisp, pinch off and topstitch 1/4″ of fabric along every seam. Start with the seams around the top and bottom faces. Then stitch the vertical seams between the sides. Pull through and double knot threads at the ends of stitches to keep them from coming out.
19. Place the end of the bolt through the other leg and put the lock washer and nut on the end. Tighten the nut on the bolt by holding the nut steady with the pliers while using the screwdriver to tighten the bolt.
Camping Chair Tips
- If your dad or the sitter is extra jolly, reinforce the frame by threading galvanized wire rope between the front and back legs (see supplies at the bottom of the Materials list). Drill holes from the front to the back of the legs near the bottom where the frame is perpendicular to the floor. Cut the rope to size with wire cutters, thread it through the holes, and tightly clamp stops to the ends with strong pliers. a great video with tips for drilling through steel.
- To make this a durable fishing or boating chair, use vinyl instead of fabric for extra liquid resistance.
- Use a canvas drop cloth to construct the seat and have kids and grandkids personalize it with permanent markers.
For more DIY upholstery and inspiration, visit the Upholstery Basics page or the . Happy Father’s Day!