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Flashback Friday: EcoDIY make a chair

Originally published in January 2008.

Harness your creativity to make something useful and keep something else out of landfill. I like the idea of making unique pieces of furniture for my home, and I like not having to pay (or paying very little) for materials to make something that’s worth more than the sum of its parts. Something out of nothing, or something out of rubbish. I’ve collected some ideas from all over the web to bring you some inspiration. Let’s make a chair.

The Octopus

jeansoctopus.jpgThis is the project that inspired me to write this blog post. This chair is made of four pairs of charity shop jeans and polystyrene balls. It doesn’t look like a very difficult project, and you could probably replace the polystyrene balls with a more eco-friendly material. The seats of the jeans are sewn together to form the seat of the chair, and the legs become the octopus tentacles that are the backrest. Have a look at the octopus chair from other angles to get the idea of what needs sewing to what.

The Trolley

Once you’ve watched the video above you’ll have all the know-how needed to undertake the project of turning a shopping trolley into a very trendy chair. I do feel though that I have a moral obligation to remind DIY enthusiasts that stealing trolleys is wrong and not what I’m encouraging you to do here.

The Tractor Seat

tractorstool.jpgIf you have an old tractor seat or lawn-mower seat lying around (or you could put a wanted ad on Freecycle, I’ve acquired an old tractor tyre in this way to make a sandpit for my young daughter) and a broken office chair, you can make this really cool tractor seat swivel chair. Full instructions here. I once bought one of these (with a flimsy plastic seat) from Ikea for my son and was charged a whopping great £19.99. You can make this project for nothing. But even if you resort to buying a tractor seat at a car boot sale or similar, it’ll still be a whole lot cheaper, and more unique, than shelling out for the plastic manufactured alternative (and of course there’s always the karma that comes from keeping stuff out of landfill – priceless).

The Cardboard Stool

stoolphoto.jpgYou’ll need three large bits of corrugated cardboard to make this stool, so would be a great way to populate your new home with furniture once you’ve unpacked the boxes. It reminds me of a Djembe drum, so great for that entho-bongo look, and you could decorate the stool by painting it or gluing embellishments onto it. The full instructions at dangerouslyfun warn not to tilt or lean the stool while you’re sitting on it, or you will seriously shorten its useful life.

Grow your own lawn chair

grass-chair.gifWhile not strictly recycling, this chair is so amazing that I just had to include it here. You could argue that you’re reusing soil and turning a lawn into something useful. And there’s no need to buy the rather expensive cardboard frame and grass seed kit, just study the image shown to create your own frame from old cardboard boxes, then purchase some grass seed down at your local garden centre and decide where you want to “plant” your chair. Assemble your cardboard frame and place it where you want your chair, then fill it with soil and sprinkle with grass seed. Water every few days. For best results, wait until spring before starting this project.

This is the first of what I hope will be a regular Eco-DIY feature here at EcoStreet to include recycling ideas, home DIY projects and eco-friendly crafts Please stay tuned.