Hey guys I can’t wait to share this sun lounger project with you! We have FINALLY had ourselves a weekend that almost felt like summer here! I’ve been chomping at the bit to work outside. Joe was doing a stucco job in town last week and I visited him while I was running errands for work and I, quite fervently, wished and longed to be him – outside, working with my hands. I’ve always been more of the construction type then desk jockey type and though I really needed a break after the house renovation my body has been itching in frustration to get out and do something with it! So, this weekend I had plans! Our old barn became a relative’s dumping ground for many years (decades ago) so Joe and I inherited some very strange leftovers. Especially old hunting gear and what-not. And, you know me, I’m trying to find projects and usability every where I can! These chairs my dad proclaimed to be old goose hunting chairs that once came with a blind over top of them. I nodded thinking, Well, that’s cool but now they’re mine! Mahahahahaha! I don’t know about you but my idea of the perfect thing would be a place in the sun after work for a couple of hours, good company (or just myself would be fine too…) and a bottle of wine. I had been working on sun loungers in my head for months when I had stumbled upon these old goose hunting chairs and immediately, I got excited! I pulled them out of the barn Saturday morning and I got to work.
(Hence begins the long arduous hell that was this project – come along for the ride kids and see me waste hours!!!!)
They were GROSS!!! Literally they were totally covered in the excrement of what seemed like hundreds of different kinds of birds and critters. EEEEWWWWW
They actually look better in the pics then they were. (Stinky and oh so nasty.) For a moment I had the thought that I really should just try and save the old fabric and just cover it with the new stuff I had in mind. I probably should have tried to do that for real… I would have saved myself so many hours of hell and heartache. These sun loungers went from what should have been a 2 hour project to a 7 hour project and I am still SO mad at myself. The night before I tackled the frames I pulled out our bag of baling twine from the barn (left over from all the hay bales we fed our horses this winter) and started braiding it for tying the fabric in the back – I had envisioned lacing the fabric to the sun loungers like a corset – the braiding took me about two hours – and this (at the VERY beginning) is where the time wasting began . . . .
First thing I did was cut off the nasty camouflaged fabric and then I used our garden hose and steel wool to scrub the frames as best I could. They were in surprisingly good shape, there was only one that had some rust where the paint was flaking off. I put them on a tarp in our garage and got to work spray painting the frames. One thing I was really stoked about was how BIG they were and how sturdy and heavy as well. These frames are not delicate by any means – they’re designed to support big guys in full hunting gear during really cold and wet weather – so they’re very tough.
I spent $25 at walmart on four cans of rustoleum spray paint in the happiest colors I could find and three outdoor table cloths.
With the frames out in the garage drying I went in the house, removed my poor boots and took a look at my fabric. I already had taken the measurements I needed. (We’re going on about hour 4 now when it comes to time spent including the braiding the night before.) I laid the fabric out and spent some time figuring out how to get as much out of each table cloth as possible. I made one good decision at this point in deciding to double the outdoor table cloth fabric so it would be twice as strong on the sun loungers.
So, I got all of my seats and backs cut out and prepared myself for the long arduous task of putting grommets in. I already knew (just by looking at them and with a seriously sinking feeling) that I had purchased grommets that were FAR FAR FAR too small for the project at hand and I already knew that after all that braiding the night before I wouldn’t be able to use any of it because the braids would be way too big for the grommets. (NOTE: we don’t have a lot of crafty resources in town and my choice of the small grommets was a forced one as there were not enough of the larger grommets available to get the job done – I should have just given up on the grommet idea entirely at that point instead of buying the small ones but I am incredibly stubborn to sticking to a plan and it is always to my own detriment.) So I spent 2 hours putting in grommets and completely hated everything by the end of it. On top of that I wasn’t very good at putting in grommets as they were VERY little and I didn’t have a hole punch so I did what any DIYer would do: I lowered my standards and forged ahead. I can be an idiot. Que the jaws music. (I’m over 5 hours into this project at this point.)
2 hours of retched grommeting later and they ripped out without a moments hesitation. I had a little melt down and I sat there staring at it with that sinking feeling telling me, “I told you so!” If nothing else however, I am resourceful and like all DIYers before me Never Give Up! Never Surrender! I believe I used several four letter words and then changed my game plan. If the fabric wasn’t going to be strong enough then FINE IT DOESN’T NEED TO BE!!! I grabbed my bag of baling twine and wrapped it around the back and the seats lots of times and created a support structure to be hidden under the fabric.
From there I cut new big holes (completely bypassing all of my hours of putting in grommets) and laced my fabric over the twine seat and back I had created and VIOLA! It worked!!
I doubt outdoor table cloths from walmart would have been strong enough to support a person anyway but with REAL outdoor cloth that’s tough and meant for actual use the grommet idea would have worked great but with MUCH bigger grommets! So, it wasn’t a bad idea – I just executed it horribly.
7 hours later (and by some miracle) I actually managed to produce the sun loungers I had envisioned all along.
If you can’t find me you know where I’ll be this summer!
So, if you do happen upon some of these goose hunting chairs and you DON’T make my same mistakes this is actually an easy and quick project that produced outdoor sun loungers that cost me only about $25 . . . and my sanity. Here is to the hope that my other summer projects will go a little bit better then this one!
UPDATE: As requested here is a picture of the back of the chair completely finished! You can see there are no grommets, I just poked holes through the doubled up outdoor table cloth and laced it up the back. Hope that helps guys!