I blame Pinterest for the state of my craft room. It’s a mess. Not the kind of mess that says “I’m productive”, but the kind of mess that says “I’ve got a problem”. From Sun Prints, to Rag Rugs to my latest obsession, learning how to weave a chair seat. You know, a rope bottom, hand woven seat for those fabulous kitchen chairs you’ve rescued from a garage sale or thrift store? Yep, I went out and bought 6 chairs, spray painted them a variety of colors, ripped out the too worn, nearly falling apart original woven seat, and then raced to the hardware store to by clothes line cordage with this great idea that I was going to macrame the seats in a weekend. Then it stuck me, my skill set and those of the talented artist who shared the pin are just not that similar. But I was a Girl Scout, so I can weave. And if I can weave, it should be pretty simple….or so I thought. Fast forward 6 weeks and I have 2 chairs, that if I am honest, are just not that comfortable but look amazing. So be warned, I might be sharing how to make a seat cushion soon.
But really, in all honesty, they take time, but very little skill and they look pretty damn fun once they are done. I just need to stay on track, finish the other 4. As I said, “I’ve got a problem” and a craft room to prove my magpie approach to craft projects. If you are just doing one, and not 6 set aside an afternoon, 3 hours at most for the start to finish project and then book a manicure for the next day, your hands will thank you for it.
Supplies for a woven chair
- 200 feet of clothes line cordage, you can easily get it at any Home Depot or Lowes for $20
- An old wooden chair, I bought mine at a garage sale for $2 each, plan to pay anywhere from nothing to $20 per chair
- A bottle of really good spay paint
- A match or lighter to seal the cordage
Directions for how to weave a chair seat
- Remove the seat from the old chair and lightly sand away any old paint that might already be on the chair for a smooth finish;
- Wipe clean and spay pain the chair. I allowed mine to dry in the sun and then did an second coat to ensure a really clean result;
- Once dry, tie the cordage to a corner of the chair bottom so that the knot is under the chair. Leave around 2 inches of cordage on the knot and then burn it with a lighter to seal the cordage and prevent any unraveling.
- Loop the cordage across in one direction in an under/over patter from one end of the chair bottom to then next. Taking the time to ensure that they are evenly spaced by twisting the cordage around the base of chair 2 or 3 times. This will not only ensure that they spacing is even, it will wrap the cordage around the base of the chair seat for a finished look. This is the part that takes time. You need to carry the entire length of cordage across each “pass”. That means, lots and lots of time preventing knots and twists in your cordage bundle with each new loop on the chair.
- Once one direction of you cordage is in place, tie a knot under the chair to complete the base of your weave and then repeat the process across the other direction to create the weave. Again, this involves carrying the bundle of cordage across each line of cordage to create the weave, and lots of time preventing knots and tangles. With each new weaved line that is in place, use a wooden spoon to push that line down; the more lines you create, the harder it gets to push it down and the harder it gets to carry the cordage across the weave. But you will soon find a rhythm.
- Once the weave is in place, loop back the cordage to wrap around any exposed seconds of the chair base so that you have wrapped finish. Once done, tie the remaining length of cordage under the chair into a knot, leave 2 inches and then burn the end of the knot to seal off the cordage.
The entire weaving process took me 2 hours on the first chair, and an hour an a half on the second – mainly because by then I had figured out what I was doing and found my groove. If you want a more natural look, hemp and jute rope make a great alternative. Or you can go bold and dye your cordage for a colorful woven chair seat. I’ve got 4 more chairs to finish…. my plan is to get them done at some point before the summer ends… but if you stop by for breakfast in the Fall and I offer you a table with a muddled chair collection, don’t judge me.