How to Make Swivel Patio Chairs

What You'll Need
Tape measure
PVC cutter or hacksaw
Rubber mallet
2-inch PVC pipe
Four 2-inch PVC caps
Two 2-inch, 5-way PVC cross fittings
PVC glue
Plastic 1-piece seat and back
Mounting bolts
Assorted wrenches or screwdrivers

If you want to build swivel patio chairs, the best advice is to purchase a swivel chair kit. Kits contain all of the necessary hardware for making the chair, and complete instructions for putting it all together. But if you are determined to build your own swivel patio chair, PVC might be the easiest material to work with. The steps outlined below will assume that you have a ready-made seat that you want to attach to a swivel frame.

Step 1: The Chair Design

PVC swivel patio chairs are relatively simple. You will need 4 chair feet, an upright that can turn freely, and 4 supports on top to mount the chair to. The final result will be a stool-type chair that can be disassembled for compact storage. After making one or two chairs, you may decide to try alternative designs, such as a PVC box with a short swivel upright. If you do, use graph paper to draw out your design ideas, and get all of the required materials together before you start, including 90-degree elbows, T connectors, or any other special fittings.

Step 2: Cutting the Pieces

Cut four pieces of pipe 18 inches in length. Cut four more pieces 12 inches long. For the upright, cut a single piece that is 24-inches long. Use sandpaper to remove any burrs or rough edges on the cuts.

Step 3: Prepare the Swivel

The upright will fit into a vertical opening in the base, namely one of the 5-way connectors. In order for the upright to swivel, it needs to be sanded down a small amount. Sand along the bottom 2 inches of the pipe until it fits snugly in a 5-way and turns smoothly. Be careful not to remove too much PVC material. If the pipe fits too loosely, it will wiggle about and cause damage to the cross connector.

Step 4: Assemble the Chair

Glue the 18-inch pieces into one of the cross connectors. Glue the 12-inch pieces into the other one. Allow the glue to dry for at least 1 hour. Insert the unsanded end of the upright in the cross with 12-inch arms. Point that end up and place the sanded end into the other 5-way connector. The assembly should turn smoothly. Insert a screw through the top cross connector and into the upright.

Step 5: Install a Seat

Place the seat on the top of the assembly so that the arms form an "X" for it sit on. Attach the arms to the seat mount using the appropriate tools for the seat design. If this method is not stable for your particular seat, install a square piece of plywood to the arms, and then attach the chair seat to the plywood.