For inexpensive seating for an outdoor crowd, nothing beats the classic woven mesh folding lawn chair. These colorful seats have decorated lawns and patios since baby boomers were kids and still come in handy when you want to barbecue for a crowd. Nothing lasts forever, though, and the woven mesh on these chairs will eventually wear out and tear through. The frames last much longer, and you can replace the mesh straps to rejuvenate your chairs and bring them back to life.
1 Remove all the old mesh webbing from the lawn chair and discard it. The strips are connected with screws. Be careful to keep all the screws and washers in a safe place for later.
2 Wash the metal chair frame with mild soap and a plastic scrub pad. Rinse and dry the frame, and then give it a coat of car wax to protect it.
3 Stand the frame up in front of you and measure from the top of the back down to the bottom, and then out to the front of the seat, measuring from screw hole to screw hole. Measure the width of the seat in the same way. Add 3 inches to each of the measurements, and cut the correct number of straps needed. You'll find the right amount by counting the pairs of screw holes. Cut the webbing with a utility knife, placing the webbing on a secure surface.
4 Fold one corner of one of the longer webbing pieces over to create a triangle at the tip. Fold this triangle over halfway in the other direction to create a thicker triangle. Make a hole through all four layers of webbing fabric with an awl. Secure the mesh webbing to the chair by attaching it with a screw into the first screw hole, pushing the screw through the hole you made.
5 Bring the webbing up over the top of the chair frame and down toward the seat. Pull it underneath the bar at the back of the seat. Pull the webbing over the front of the seat, make triangles in the other end, poke a hole through and attach it to the first screw hole in the front of the seat. Attach all the longer webbing pieces to the chair frame in this same manner.
6 Make triangles in one end of a shorter mesh piece and attach it to the first screw hole on one side of the seat. Pull the webbing up over the side of the chair toward the middle. Weave the webbing over and under the vertical straps until you reach the other side of the seat. Pull the webbing over the side of the frame, make triangles and attach it to the first screw hole on this side of the chair frame.
7 Attach the second shorter strap to the chair in the same manner as the first, except alternate the way you weave the straps. If you began by weaving the webbing over the first vertical strap, do this second strap by beginning underneath.
8 Add the rest of the straps to the chair frame in the same manner, making sure to alternate the over-and-under pattern until you reach the top of the chair back.
Items you will need
- Plastic scrub pads
- Car wax
- Woven strapping
- Measuring tape
- Utility knife
- Let each family member choose their own strap webbing color for completely personalized seating. You'll eliminate arguments about kids sitting in each others' seats.
- Experiment with alternating stripes for a plaid design.
- Utility knives are very sharp and can be dangerous to small children. Keep the kids away from you while doing this project.
- Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images