PVC Furniture - Make Your Own Beach Chair
Making PVC Furniture
PVC pipe makes a great material for construction of lightweight, durable and interesting furniture. It is easy to work with and is readily available as both pipe and as fittings to join that pipe together. It is easy to cut and joining multiple pieces is normally done with glue designed just for that purpose.
The directions here are for making a simple beach chair from PVC pipe and a little cloth. It has no joints and only one cut is necessary. The basic framework was completed in just minutes; it took longer to gather the materials and tools than it did to make the frame. Covering the frame took about as long; just a few minutes of simple sewing.
Although the chair presented here was designed for a small child, it is easy enough to make it large enough for an adult - a little larger pipe coupled with a little larger frame and you have a chair for larger children or adults.
Making the PVC Chair Frame
The chair pictured here used 3/4" PVC pipe, bent into a U shape. The base of the chair is about 12" long, making a gentle curve upwards for another 18" before curving back down and then flat once more to sit on the ground. If you are unfamiliar with how to bend PVC pipe the link will take you to another article explaining the process.
With the pipe bent and cut, smooth the ends of the pipe with sandpaper or a file so that small legs won't be scratched.
While this chair is intended for a small child, larger versions can easily be made for adults. 1¼" pipe is recommended as well as additional ground support so that it doesn't tip over backwards (adults tend to want to lean back more!). Supports can be added by cutting the back off, adding a 45° fittings pointing to the ground, and bending one more piece of PVC into another U shape so that it can be inserted into the fittings and just touch the ground. If this is done, the material used to cover the back will need to be slid over the pipe before gluing the fittings together.
Beach Chair FrameClick thumbnail to view full-size
Upholstering Your Beach Chair
The "upholstery" is a very simple piece of heavy cloth or light canvas with tubes sewed into the sides just large enough to slide the pipe into. Cut the cloth long enough to slide completely over the lower portion and almost to the top curve.
Wrap the side of the cloth around the pipe and pin it so that it is snug but not tight on the pipe. Sew a tube into one side so that it will slide completely over the pipe.
Repeat the process for the other side, making the cloth the same width as the chair frame. If it is too narrow it will simply pull the pipe together but if it is too wide it will sag too much. Depending on the material used you may want to add a hem at the top and bottom for a nice finished edge.