I was asked if I would have a go at making a chaise lounge for a friend but did not think it was something I would be able to do. I can not build to plans or even follow plans, I can only make it up as I go along.
Because this was something I had never done before I used all recycled materials. The idea behind this was that if the project flopped it would not have lost any money. But the results were so great that it now has pride of place in my front room window. I don’t have the full step by step instructions because this was supposed to be just a test run. But hopefully, this will give you an idea how to make it.
Like all projects you make up as you go along things can go wrong, and for me it was, I did not add enough support straps under the cushion. And after a few years of the kids jumping all over it, the straps started to give in. So I took the chaise lounge apart again to repair it and took so photos to show you how I made it.
How to make a Chaise lounge from recycled materials
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Making the base
The base box was made from recycled wood that was glued together in a rectangle shape. For extra support, I added some cross beams, but I did have to remove the top one because you could feel it through the cushion once you sat on the chaise. If you are using two layers of wood as I did you will need to glue them together and add support hinges.
The legs were off an old table, I repurposed the tabletop to make this cool personalised wine barrel table. I just cut them shorter with a handsaw and sanded them down and stained and varnished them.
It did not matter about all the damage to the legs because it would not be visible once put together. The legs were glued as well as screwed into the base.
Making the arch of the Chaise Lounge
The arch was the hardest part of building this chaise. I used this image as a guide.(Not my image). You need to cut two shapes in a shape similar to the one in the image. You can use 10 mm plywood for the arches. My supports between the arches were 20mm thick, cut from scrap wood. These are not visible so no need to waste good wood. I attached the supports to the arch using a pocket hole jig and pocket hole screws.
To attach my arch to the base. My arch was made out of 10 mm plywood so I used a router to remove a 10mm section from the top outside of the base so that the arch could be screwed into the base.
In the image above the arch support is level with the base now. This image already has a thin layer of foam under the white sheet. You can cover the foam with an old sheet to hold the foam in place. This will also give your finish a smoother look once the fabric is added.
Covering the arch
I used a recycled foam mattress to cover the arch (minus the cat) and added a layer of wadding to smooth it out. To hold the foam in place you can cover the foam with an old sheet.
Once the foam has been stapled into the position you want, you can smooth it out with you hand.
Adding support to the seat
As you can see from the image above, this was the support strapping I added when I first made the chaise. But there was not enough support for such a large open area.
To add more support I needed to add more strapping . The new strapping was weaved across the base to support the mattress. This is where I made my mistake which led to me having to strip it down again and add more support.
If you are going to try and make you own chaise lounge I would highly recommend buying a Webbing Stretcher. It made it so easy to pull the strapping tight while you staple it into place. Once the trapping has been stapled into position, you will need to fold over the end and staple the strapping again. This will give the strapping extra support and will also stop the stapping from fraying.
Before I added my final fabric I added this foam to the top front edges of the base. It came off another couch that I stripped down and it is attached to the edges to soften the corners of the wood. (I think). The hard foam was attached using upholstery tacks.
Just as added strength I added nail tacks to hold the webbing in place.
This is a view of what is under my fabric, foam for edges, foam mattress, sheet and final fabric.
Covering the chaise
The base and the arch were covered on fabric and stapled in place, no sewing required. I made the back support for the chaise using the top of an old desk. To get the shape I wanted I drew the shape using a pencil first, then cut it out with a jigsaw. I then used the shape of the arch as a template to cut the fabric.
The back and front panels can now be sewed together to fit over the back. You can add a thin layer of foam under the fabric on the back arch. The back was not sewed all the way down the top side because I still had to attach it to the arch. Once the back is screwed into the arch the fabric from the back will be stapled around the arch. To tidy up the base you can add some sheeting. Thrift stores are great for sheeting and cheap as chips
Making the seat cushion
For the cushion, you need foam that is fairly firm. I used an old mattress which was too soft on its own. To make the mattress firmer I added a few layers of wadding. Before you cover the mattress it will be easier to cover it with a sheet to keep the wadding in place.
To make you cushion cut your fabric to the size of the cushion and sew all the seams together. I tried to get a bit to fancy by adding some piping to the cushion which was a nightmare. It took me longer to make the cushion cover than to make the whole chaise lounge.
Making the piping
To make the piping you need to cut you fabric into strips of 20 mm wide. Join them until you get the length that you need. Using rope or piping cord sew the rope inside the fabric like the image below. You sew the piping between the two seams of the cushion.
Making the arch padding
This is the padding that will hide all the staples and fabric ends at the front and back of the arch. You need to cut some thin plywood to the shape of the arch.
Add a thin layer of foam to the arch and cover with fabric and line with piping.
To attach the padded arch I used these back tacking strips attached to the back and hammered it into the front and back of the chaise.
Attaching the last panel
The panel under the arch is the last one to be added. Now you can tuck in all the excess fabric from the back and sides so they can be hidden under this panel. To keep the seams tidy and to stop them from pulling down, you can use a strip of cardboard and staple it to the underneath of the arch. To attach the sides you can use the tacking strips shown above. Wrapped the fabric in the tack and hammered it into the wood.
Pad the feet
To prevent the legs from snagging or damaging your floors or carpets. You can add some self-adhesive felt. To close up the bottom of the chaise you can use weed mat stapled to the bottom.
I know it will not be easy for everyone to make this, I just wanted to show that it could be done with basic woodworking skills.
My house does not have the best light so the photos do not do the fabric justice.
If you want to try and make a mini version first they make great beds for your lazy cats.
More great projects
Barn Quilt made from scrap wood.
MichelleNovember 2, 2016 at 3:38 pm
Brilliant, brilliant!!!! I’m at a loss for words. Stunning. I don’t care how good you are with photography, you did and amazing job with this Anita. You should be proud, I’d be over the moon. Love it!!!
Terry PheasantSeptember 26, 2019 at 10:11 am
Yes Anita! I agree with Michell! You must have the patience of a saint! Lol. Absolutely Beautiful and Amazing work!
Anita HollandSeptember 26, 2019 at 1:11 pm
Thank you so much, It is one of my best projects.
Samantha EguiaOctober 4, 2017 at 2:10 pm
GREAT JOB! I’m interested in designing and building furniture. This is on my list but on the difficult side. I know I’ll need a good time window to start and stay focused to finish. Love the cat chaise too. I have a 5lb chihuahua who I think will love it too!
Anita HollandOctober 6, 2017 at 2:27 am
Thanks you Samantha, It was not that difficult to do, looks harder than it was. It took more time to sew the cushion than it took to build the whole thing. I have no training, just a home DIYer so worth having ago. Maybe start with a little one for the chihuahua. Good Luck!
NancyOctober 4, 2017 at 2:30 pm
Wow! Great job!
Anita HollandOctober 6, 2017 at 2:17 am
Thank you Nancy
Tina GAllagherOctober 4, 2017 at 3:03 pm
That’s beautiful. Well done.
Anita HollandOctober 5, 2017 at 4:57 am
Thank You Tina
Cricket RoseOctober 4, 2017 at 3:07 pm
Wow. So great
Anita HollandOctober 5, 2017 at 4:56 am
Dianne ElliottOctober 4, 2017 at 3:58 pm
Damnnnnn . . . you certainly have earned your bragging rights; an absolutely stunning piece of furniture.
Anita HollandOctober 5, 2017 at 4:54 am
Thanks it turned out greater than I thought it would for a beginner.
Dianne YonanOctober 4, 2017 at 4:08 pm
Absolutely love that chaise. It is just what I need for my corner.
Anita HollandOctober 5, 2017 at 4:52 am
Thank you, Looks good in my front window.
Deidre WasyliwOctober 4, 2017 at 4:54 pm
Wow! you certainly should be proud of yourself. I have thought of trying to make a chaise, and I think now it will actually get done. You did throw me off a little, though, with your picture of the bare-wood frame. The arch seems to be in the wrong place, on the side instead of the back, and there is no pattern for the side/back (lower) arch. I can figure that out, but maybe clarify for others. Again, this is absolutely beautiful, and I adore it. I admire your talent & abilities!!
Anita HollandOctober 5, 2017 at 1:19 am
Thank you for your kind words. The bare frame image was not mine, I just used it as a guide to make my arch. I did not have any plans just made it up as I went along. Sorry for the confusion I put that information on the photo above by mistake. I only wanted the arch on the one side and just used an old plywood desktop to cut a flat piece for the back. It was really not that hard once I started. And knowing it was all recycled materials made it so much easier, because I knew if I made a mistake it would not cost lots of money.
JoniOctober 4, 2017 at 8:28 pm
I love it! (And love that no cats were harmed in the making! LOL)
Anita HollandOctober 5, 2017 at 1:08 am
Thanks, The cats love to hang out in the shed while I build.
Stephanie BennettOctober 5, 2017 at 11:31 am
This is amazing Anita! I adore chaise lounges. I’m blown away by your talent, you definitely should be proud of yourself! You should sew a tag on somewhere stating it was handmade by you and when. This is the kind of piece that gets handed down for generations!
Anita HollandOctober 6, 2017 at 2:16 am
Thanks you, very kind of you to say. I did not sell these piece, one of the few I have made that I kept for myself. The kids can fight for it later lol
MarceMarch 20, 2018 at 8:25 am
Wow, really good work for a beginner. Most won’t attempt something like this because it LOOKS so hard. I have been picking up dumped furniture at the side of the road for years. Take it home redo it like you did and then find a home for it to help keep stuff out of the dump.
You can get good bones cheap at thrift stores too. Bought a white microfiber covered parsons chair for $2 at Goodwill. It was clean and in great shape. Only thing wrong was that the insufficient padding on the seat had shifted which made it hard to sit on. Just took seat off, shift foam back, tack down with a LITTLE more padding and reattach seat cover. Like you, I have a cat (had to laugh at yours under the foam – my cat does that too), so made a fabric cover for it that I can throw in washer periodically. White and cats are not a good mix.
You can redo anything. Get books from library, dismantle piece in reverse order it looks like it was put on (refer to books for help with this). They say to make a pattern from the old fabric but that never works for me because like you, I always add more foam.
Tip: sometimes you will see furniture at side of road or next to a dumpster that you would not want or can not redo. Check the cushions, grab them, take off fabric and batting. If foam is not shredded or does not have black mold, you can wash it in tub and reuse. Foam is so expensive. Put hottest soapy water you can stand in to just cover foam. Work it in with feet – think grape vats for wine. Drain tub, kneel on foam as you roll it up like a sleeping bag to get water out. (From back end of tub facing drain helps ) Repeat two to three times with clear water till no soap or dirty water comes out. I stand it on an end on a tub chair for a couple of days to dry with a fan blowing on it. Flip it front to back periodically for better air circulation. Do NOT flip it top to bottom ( water will stay in middle and mold), don’t use bleach, alcohol or peroxide! To check to see if it is dry, lay on floor (the cushion, not you), place paper towels on top and step on it. If still wet inside it will show on the paper, just give it more time. If it is a sunny, warm day you can put in sun to help dry.
I also like to look through drapery and old comforters at thrift stores. You can sometines get good fabric for covering, and when washed, comforters make good batting. No one is going to see the ugly fabric no one else wants!
This may sound like I am some kind of expert, but not so. I have lived on less than a thousand a month my whole life, now 66. Husband was military and after divorce I worked as a bookkeeoer. So I have always bought on sale, used, made it myself or did without.
All that said, I would like to thank you for encouraging me to go after my chaise. Picked it up at a yard sale. It has just the end, no back and I hate the fabric. Went through three years fighting cancer and now in remission and rebuilding my strength. Think I am about ready to tear that thing apart and put a back on it. Picked up some great fabricat a yard sale I want to use.f
Anita HollandMarch 20, 2018 at 8:55 am
Thank you for taking the time to post your comment, All I can say is WOW we are twins, you are just me somewhere else. I do all the thing you suggested. Nearly all my projects are made from recycled, repurposed and reused. I like to try and show not everything that is thrown away is rubbish, and great things can still be made from them. And by the popularity of my projects, people do agree it can be done. I did do a post on how I get my materials for free. There might be a few ideas you could use.I have honestly spent next to nothing on my materials in years.
https://uniquecreationsbyanita.com/how-to-get-your-diy-materials-for-free/ And must say great news about beating your Cancer. Would love to see some of your projects. Take Care Anita
Rima featherstoneMarch 1, 2019 at 10:02 pm
You are incredibly talented. I am absolutely stunned by what you do. I always thought that I was good at refurbishing and creating things, but now, after seeing the work of someone truly gifted, I’m rethinking that!
Anita HollandMarch 4, 2019 at 4:50 am
Wow Thank you so much, that is truly a lovely compliment. I think we all have different ideas in our heads some work out and some don’t. My husband wishes I would learn to cook rather than playing in my workshop all day. I am sure you are very gifted too.
LislMarch 1, 2019 at 11:50 pm
Wow, you SHOULD be proud, this is absolutely stunning! That you used all (or even near all) recycled materials is simply tremendous! And cherry on top – the pattern. I love maps and I know I’m not alone, so this will surely be admired by many.
Anita HollandMarch 4, 2019 at 4:46 am
Thank you so much Lisl, it really does mean a lot to hear how others enjoy my projects. I think I will always stay building from recycled materials now because I think it takes away the pressure to succeed, I find I will try new things because if I fail I just turn it into something new.
Jeanne VogelAugust 4, 2019 at 4:47 pm
Such a fabulous chaise! The fabric is really spectacular too! I would have used it as well. Great instructions on how to build even though you didn’t have the pictures of the project as you were making it, I think anyone could figure it out. I have many projects where I didn’t take progress pictures and when I write about them, it takes longer to recreate the steps in my mine so KUDOS for being able to explain this to us 🙂
Anita HollandAugust 4, 2019 at 9:40 pm
Thank you so much. I was asked by one of the websites to try and make some sort of tutorial. It was only that I had to add more support that I did a reserve one. It was a very basic design, which turned well.
Debbie-DabbleSeptember 28, 2019 at 1:50 am
Stunning!! Thanks so much for stopping by!!
Anita HollandSeptember 29, 2019 at 9:24 am
Thank you Debbie
Dee | Grammy's GridOctober 2, 2019 at 3:46 am
Very creative!! Thanks so much for linking up at the #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 5. Shared.
Anita HollandOctober 4, 2019 at 5:20 am
Thank you so much.
Autumn is here! WWOctober 9, 2019 at 8:11 pm
I noticed someone called you a beginner!?! I surely don’t think so. Girlfriend, you are a pro for sure. I mean you could probably sell that for $300 starting point! I mean dang absolutely so professional. Great job. Thank you so much for sharing! CONGRATS. Oh, and thank you for sharing!
Anita HollandOctober 10, 2019 at 8:17 am
Thank you, I was my first ever build from scratch. I have played around with upholstering furniture and seemed to get it right.
Amber FergusonOctober 10, 2019 at 2:24 am
What a fabulous job! It looks beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing at TFT!
Anita HollandOctober 10, 2019 at 8:13 am
Thank you so much, it was a labour of love.
Rebecca JonesOctober 12, 2019 at 6:50 am
I really like this. Your pattern looks like it would be good for an office or den. I love those old Victorian ones that look like velvet too, it looks great.
Anita HollandOctober 14, 2019 at 10:36 pm
Thank you, I made it up as I went along.
CeciliaOctober 14, 2019 at 4:46 pm
WOW–I am so impressed! Brilliant! Thanks for sharing your gathered repurpose at Vintage Charm!
Anita HollandOctober 14, 2019 at 10:32 pm
Thank you so much for the lovely comment.
MichelleOctober 14, 2019 at 4:48 pm
You are so talented! Fabulous!
Anita HollandOctober 14, 2019 at 10:32 pm
Thank you so much Michelle, very kind of you to say.
Katie MansfieldOctober 15, 2019 at 9:29 pm
Holy cow! Great job. This is amazing. Thanks for linking to Keep In Touch.
Anita HollandOctober 16, 2019 at 6:20 am
Thank you so much for the lovely compliment.
Julie BrionesOctober 20, 2019 at 11:07 pm
That is one amazing project, Anita… and it’s just lovely! So blessed to see you at Tuesday Turn About!
Anita HollandOctober 21, 2019 at 12:05 am
Thank you so much, It was one of the few pieces I made that I kept for myself.
Debbie-DabbleOctober 22, 2019 at 12:13 pm
Just stopping by to thank you for your visit!!
Anita HollandOctober 24, 2019 at 4:21 am
You are very welcome.
CarolOctober 25, 2019 at 10:38 am
Your skills are amazing – I’m at a loss for words.
Anita HollandOctober 26, 2019 at 8:21 pm
Thank you so much Carol, I surprised myself with this project.
MartiOctober 28, 2019 at 3:59 pm
This is fantastic! I wish I had the special tools needed to do upholstery. You made it look do-able for a beginner like me.
Anita HollandOctober 28, 2019 at 9:15 pm
Thank you Marti, I have been doing DIY for about 5 years now so have built up my tools over the years from the sales of my projects.
Debbie-DabbleNovember 5, 2019 at 3:08 am
Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by again!!
Anita HollandNovember 6, 2019 at 12:21 am
You are very welcome, I love the parties.
Debbie-DabbleNovember 6, 2019 at 2:08 pm
Thanks again for your visits!! The red trucks are really big here in the US and are a big part of the Farmhouse decorating Trend. I liked them for the Fall but that is about the extent of it…I am a Victorian soul…
nancycNovember 11, 2019 at 2:50 am
This is such a great up cycling project!
Anita HollandNovember 11, 2019 at 7:56 am
Thank you so much, it is one of my favourite projects.
Karren HallerNovember 19, 2019 at 12:25 am
I would never attempt to make a piece of furniture, your chaise turned out beautiful!!
Thank you for sharing on #ohmyheartsiegirl
Hope to see you again soon!
Anita HollandNovember 19, 2019 at 4:07 am
Thank you Karen, I thought the same a few years back, but using free materials makes you brave. You have nothing to loose if it does not work out.
MariaMarch 19, 2020 at 3:19 am
Omg you are son talented amazing job.
Anita HollandMarch 21, 2020 at 11:37 am
Thank you so much, that is very kind of you to say.