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How to Fix Outdoor Chairs

How to Fix Outdoor ChairsI’m always on the look out for chairs that no one else wants.  Chairs that have torn seats, missing parts or wobbly legs are easy to find.  Sidewalks, garage sales, and second-hand stores are wonderful resources for broken down chairs.  If you’re willing to do a little sewing, oiling or putting a fresh coat of Tung oil or perhaps paint, on a chair, you can outfit an outdoor area quite easily and inexpensively.    Repairs required will vary by chair.  Take a look at these chairs to see how easily you might be able to revive a discarded outdoor chair.

How to Fix Outdoor Chairs

First, find yourself a chair.  Chairs with some leftover fabric seats are the best.  You can make a new seat by using the old torn seat as a pattern.  This director’s chair still has the dowels in it, which connects the fabric seat to chair.

How to Fix Outdoor Chairs

Paint the chair, but only if necessary.  The below chair was not painted, just wiped clean and then I sewed a new seat cover and back by using the old torn remnant as a pattern.  Sometimes that’s all you need to do.  Don’t make too much work for yourself.

How to Fix Outdoor Chairs

This chair (below)  just needed all the bolts/connections oiled.  I’m still working on the cover for it.  Unfortunately, the cover was already missing so a pattern will be made of muslin first and then I’ll make a real cover with the good fabric.  Always practice with inexpensive fabric.

How to Fix Outdoor Chairs

In our city, chairs that are set out by the street with signs that read “FREE” are plentiful.  Dumpsters and estate sales are other sources for inexpensive (or free!) outdoor chairs.  All of these chairs were free.

How to Fix Outdoor Chairs

Tung Oil and 3 in 1 Oil are the only products I used on these chairs.  Tung Oil is a wood conditioner and finisher.  It can be applied with a paint brush or a cloth.  The 3 in 1 oil is simple household oil that is useful to have on hand.  A drop on each of the joints of these chairs helps them open and close more easily.

Below is my favorite chair.  I added a foam cushion to both of the horizontal pieces of wood, which make this chair conducive to napping.  The chair also rocks, (or perhaps glides?) even though it’s not a rocking chair.  The fabric is doubled on this chair to make the sling seat extra sturdy.

How to Fix Outdoor Chairs

With little cost,  little effort, and some creative sewing, you too can have a lovely outdoor area.  Our outdoor area is filled with chairs that needed a little TLC but have been easy, inexpensive fixes.

Do you have a chair that needs a little work?  Ever pick up free items on the sidewalk?

Here is a segment from Fusion NW, a local TV program that filmed a segment about how to fix outdoor chairs.

3 thoughts on “How to Fix Outdoor Chairs

  1. I came across two weather beaten wooden folding hammock chairs and took them home. I bit of sanding, some teak oil, and new headrest pillows makes for some really comfortable chairs I use in the living room. I have a minor addiction to design and particularly furniture design. It takes a lot of willpower not to splurge on an interesting piece, but I’ve learned if I wait for it, something I’ll love will come around to serve the purpose with a bit of elbow grease and a few pennies.


    1. Indigo,
      I completely agree about waiting and elbow grease! That is my style, too. I do have several chairs in my basement that are waiting right now for me to fix them up. Thanks for leaving a comment.


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