Monday, 18 April 2011

Four Modern Chairs for under £10

Okay, so I'm on a bit of a mini-making frenzy at the moment. Inspiration, like buses, tends to come all at once or not at all with me.

This is a really simple design that you can copy or put your own stamp on. Enjoy!

Things you'll need
  • A sheet of aluminium I bought mine here
  • Four BBQ skewers (round or square profile, doesn't matter which)
  • A steel rule
  • Heavy duty side cutters or a hacksaw
  • Two clamps (the ones in the picture are 'G' clamps but anything that can hold the work is fine)
  • Strong glue (such as two-part epoxy resin like araldite)
  • A strong work surface (I'm using an Ikea chopping board) 

 First ~ remove both ends of your BBQ skewer with either your side cutters or a hacksaw

Lay the skewer next to your steel rule and find the centre. You can mark your measurements with a biro will rub off no problem when you're finished. From the centre mark you need to measure 3/4 of an inch either side. From those measurements mark at 1 and1/2 inches either side. From those measurements mark another 1 and 1/2 inches. Rub out the initial centre mark.
You should now have five measurements of 1 and 1/2 inches.

Now here's the fun part. You need to clamp the 

skewer firmly, by placing it under the steel rule and tightening the clamps over the steel rule and onto the chopping board. The steel rule will act as strong edge with which to achieve a 90 degree angle. Start at one of the marks closest to the centre of the skewer and align that mark with the edge of the steel rule. Carefully push upwards until you get a nice 'L' shape in the metal.  

 Do exactly the same thing from the opposite side.

This is what you should  will have at this point.
                             =0) your work flat onto the board and clamp it at the next two marks that you measured (1 and 1/2 inches along from the corners that you've just bent). Again, bend both parts of the skewer up to make a 90 degree 'L' shape.

                                  This is what you'll have now

Okay, this is the last bends you need to make for the frame. Clamp your work as shown in the picture above, at the final two marks. Again, bend both ends of the skewer up into a nice 'L' angle.

When you're finished this is what you will have. Using your side cutters or hacksaw, measure and cut the excess off 1 1/2 inches from your last bends.

This is the leg frame of the chair

Now the seat. Measure and cut an 85mm x 45mm piece of the aluminium. You can use any type of aluminium..not necessarily the perforated type, as long as it's sturdy enough to hold it's shape. If you're using the perforated type, it's easy to cut along the holes with kitchen scissors. Use a piece of sandpaper or nail file to take the sharp edges off the metal (aluminium is soft but a shard of it in your skin hurts like a *@)£"%*)


Find the centre and, you  guessed it, bend it up so that you're left with an 'L' shape. Use the steel rule as a guide to get a precise bend

 Use the back of a tea spoon to gently push about 2mm at each end of the aluminium, over the edge of the steel rule. This technique is 'Burnishing' 
Because the back of the spoon is polished it doesn't scratch or spoil the aluminium

*When I learned that technique from a teacher like a gazillion decades ago I thought when on earth am I going to need that in my adult life...he will be soooo smug now*

 This is what you should have now. Using a little and I mean little amount of your glue, smear across the frame and set the seat into place. Keep it weighted down until it is set solidly

And this is the end product
I hope you enjoyed. Til next time,
                                                       Pepper =0)


  1. what a simple and elegant tutorial!!! thank you sooo much for sharing! and welcome to blogland :D I LOVE YOUR WORK!!

  2. This is wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
    Neomi( Israel)

  4. Thank you Shopping Sherpa, you're too kind

  5. Thankyou Snowfern...I love your work too!

  6. LOVE this! I will be making some myself as soon as I can spare $15. :) Fabulous tutorial. Thank you for sharing it!!

  7. Very cool tutorial, the chair looks great!
    Thank you for sharing Pepper!

  8. Thanks CallSmall, you're very kind

    Thanks Lyssa and I hope you do try it and let me know how you got on. Oh, and keep a look out for anything you can recycle rather than buying. Loads of my stuff comes from old containers, bottle lids, broken electricals etc

    Thank you Pubdoll and its a pleasure to do the tutorials. I'm actually blown away by all the lovely comments and warm reception I've had from other miniaturists
    *hugs all*

  9. OMG Pinch of Pepper! THANK YOU SO MUCH for starting a blog. I have admired your Flickr photos for so long, I'm SO GLAD you've joined the other side. ;)
    What a fabulous tutorial, those chairs are incredible! I will definitely try to make some (well one of these days). Congrats, so excited to follow your blog!

  10. I'm horrible at making things but I might give this a try...Oh, you're so very cool, man!

  11. Hey there Mini Dork. I'm really happy to do the blog (now I have my head around these computer thingamyjiggies)So does the other side have cookies? =0)

    Thank you Modern MC. Best compliment I think I've ever had *grins*

  12. Thanks Otterine. I love you're blog. You are the master of re-purposing =0)

  13. Aaaaaaah! Brilliant!!
    Now that I have some more space (and the time will come... I guess) I need to try that out!
    Thank you so much. Modern mini chairs are so difficult to find.

  14. Thank you PetitPlat Food art

    Modern anything is hard to find but thankfully there are some great miniaturists popping up on the net to even the odds a little =0)

  15. "Modern Furniture's are great, do what they say when they say it. unlike many others........."

  16. Un tutorial ingenioso, una obra magnífica!!!
    Un abrazo de una nueva seguidora

  17. I only just found this and am so excited about your suggestion of bbq skewers, I have been looking to do something with metal like this on a different piece of furniture and have been screwing my nose up at the cost of 'hobby' wire and metal tubes!
    Thank you so much!!

  18. ¡Genial!Gracias por el tutorial...Un beso

  19. I really enjoyed this tut. I also like the way you explain things and the pictures.
    Thanks a lot! :-)

  20. A wonderful totorial thank you, I might try it with a leather seat, thirties style.