a stuffed beaver sits in a miniature Muskoka chair in the Tablelands


How to build your own miniature Muskoka chair

May 31, 2018

Have you ever noticed a pair of red chairs while visiting your favourite Parks Canada place with your family? The location of these chairs is not randomly chosen. But do you know why we place them where they are? 

It’s to invite you and your young ones to sit there and take time to observe the landscape and surrounding scenery. Because after all, it’s not every day we get the chance to visit places such as national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas. These places are there to be discovered and appreciated, but for that, you have to set aside some time to take a break!

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The first red chairs were born in Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Gros Morne is a unique and magical place to visit. It has a wide array of landscapes to offer with its fjords, mountains, beaches and the famous Tablelands.

Hence the red chairs! We felt the need to show people whether to stop to let the beautiful scenery sink in. 

If you and your kids may not get the chance to visit a Parks Canada site in the near future, you can create your very own mini red chair, perfect for dolls or stuffies! Before you get started, here's a quick safety note: this project requires a hot glue gun and wire cutters, so we suggest assisting the little ones on this project. 

What You'll Need

  • 21 wooden sticks (plus a few extra sticks, just in case)
  • Wire cutters
  • Protective glasses
  • Red paint
  • Small paintbrush
  • Hot glue sticks
  • Glue gun
  • Ruler
  • Pencil

How It's Made 

First, you're going to cut your wooden sticks. Wearing protective glasses, take your wirecutters and cut sticks into the following lengths for each section of your chair:

  • Backrest (5 full sticks, 1 x 7.5 cm piece, 1 x 7 cm piece and 1 x 5.5 cm piece)
  • Arms and feet (4 full sticks and 2 x 6 cm pieces)
  • Seat (7 x 6.5 cm pieces) 

Now that you have your sticks ready, it's time to assemble your chair part by part. Let's start with the back of the chair. 

Place the 5 full sticks on a flat surface, leaving a gap of about .5 cm between the top of each stick. Glue the 5.5 cm stick horizontally at the bottom of the backrest.

Once it sets, flip it over. Glue the 7 cm stick horizontally about 1.5 cm from the top, and glue the 7.5 cm stick 6 cm from the top of the backrest. Set aside.

Next, you're going to work on the legs and seat of the chair. 

Place a full stick horizontally on your work surface. At the left end, glue the center of a 6 cm piece by tilting it to create an angle of roughly 80 degrees.

Place another full stick horizontally on the work surface to repeat the step above, however this time you'll be placing the 6 cm piece on the right end of the full stick. 

Ensure that your 80-degree angle is identical, so that your chair rests evenly.

Place the two legs parallel, making the 6 cm pieces (the legs) are facing outwards. Glue a 6.5 cm piece between the two legs, pressing it against the ridges formed by the 2 complete sticks.

Glue five 6.5 cm pieces towards the back, following the path the previous stick outlined. Glue the last 6.5 cm piece to the front of the seat, creating the part where your legs would hang from.

OK, you have some pieces. Now it's time to put them together. 

Retrieve the backrest you had previously constructed, and insert it so that the side with the single piece of wood at the base is facing inwards (the side with two pieces should be facing out). Place the end of the seat base against the edge of the piece of wood at the bottom of the backrest.

Adjust the backrest of the chair so that it sits perpendicular to the seat — it will form more or less a 90-degree angle. Generously glue the underside of the chair to fasten it to the backrest, and keep them firmly together until the glue dries. 

To finish the chair, glue the last two full sticks to form the arms. You will do this by gluing them over the legs and at the ends of the 7.5 tip in the middle of the backrest.

Now it's time to paint!

And then let it dry! 

Now you've got a seat for a favourite plushie to sit on this summer!

Article Author Club Parka, Parks Canada
Club Parka, Parks Canada

Club Parka is a Parks Canada program for preschoolers at national parks and historic sites across the country. Kids can take part in the program online, too!

Visit parkscanada.gc.ca/Parka to download activity pages and get to know Parka, the busy little beaver who helps kids explore the world around them.

You can watch Parka weekday mornings on CBC TV following each episode of Chirp.

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