How to upcycle a deckchair

Breathe new life into a dilapidated deckchair with an injection of colour

HS Crafts_002

A lick of bright paint and a smart new fabric sling is all you need to give a tired deckchair a whole new lease of life.

  • Old wooden deckchair
  • Sanding block
  • Coloured wood finishes – we used Royal Exterior wood finish in Passionate Plum, Teal and Lime Green, £4 for 125ml, all Protek
  • Paintbrush
  • 2.5m deckchair canvas – we used The Stripes Company, £14.50 per m
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Upholstery studs – we used The Stripes Company, £6 for a pack of 50,
  • Hammer
  • Scissors
  • 1m red and white striped woven cotton tape, £4 per m, The Stripes Company
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Soft toy wadding
  • Needle and thread
  • 1m x 2.5cm pompom trim – we used Karting Pink, £10 per m, The Stripes Company
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Step 1

Carefully remove the old sling and studs from the deckchair frame. Use a sanding block to remove any old paint or varnish and smooth the surface, then wipe clean with warm soapy water. Allow to dry completely.

deckchair upcycle

Step 2

Paint the deckchair frame with two coats of exterior wood paint, leaving it to dry thoroughly between coats. You can choose to paint the frame all one colour, or get creative and use three different colours, inspired by the shades in the new sling fabric.

deckchair upcycle

Step 3

Cut the new sling fabric to the same length as the old sling – this is usually around 150cm. Fold one short edge of the sling fabric over by 1cm to hide the raw edge. Attach this folded section to the underside edge of the top bar of the deckchair using a few staples to hold it in position.

Starting at one edge, insert an upholstery stud on the underside of the bar and gently hammer it in. Put a stud in the centre, hammer it in, then put a stud at the other end and push it in place with a hammer. Fill the gaps between with the remaining studs – you should need around 10 studs in total.

Fold the other short end of the fabric over by 1cm and feed this end around the bottom bar of the deckchair. Attach it with staples and studs in the same way as you did the top of the sling.

deckchair upcycle

Step 4

To make the headrest, cut two pieces of fabric, each measuring 45 x 28cm. Cut two lengths of pompom trim, each measuring 45cm long.

Cut two lengths of red and white tape, each measuring 50cm long. Lay one piece of fabric down on your work surface and place a length of pompom trim along the long edge with the pompoms facing inwards. Repeat with the other long edge.

Fold each length of red and white tape in half and place the folded end 5cm in from the outer edges of the fabric, with the ends of the tape facing inwards. Place the second piece of fabric on top and pin into place. Carefully stitch a 1.5cm seam around three sides, leaving one short side open

deckchair upcycle

Step 5

Remove any pins and turn the headrest right side out. Using soft toy wadding, stuff to your desired firmness. Fold the open edge of the fabric over to the inside by 1.5cm and slip stitch the end closed using a needle and thread. Use the red and white tapes to tie the headrest to the deckchair frame with dramatic bows or elegant knots.

deckchair upcycle
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Top tip: You can use any leftover fabric and tape to make a simple hanging pocket for the back of your deckchair – perfect for holding magazines and sunscreen.

For more fab upcycling ideas, check out our upcycling page.

Feature, project and step photos Anna-Lisa De’Ath Main photo Sussie Bel