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DCL

We first spotted MIO's Bale Chair over at TreeHugger a couple of years back, and really liked its fun synthesis of artistic expression and DIY ingenuity. Sadly, the chair is no longer available through MIO's Web site, but the good news is you can make your own.

Chances are, you have the bulk of the materials you need at home right now; after all, the chair's structure comes from the books currently collecting dust on your bookshelves. If your spare books-or other stackables, like hefty magazines-pile up high enough to sit on, then you've got the easy part nailed. If you've got a little DIY spirit and are up for renting a few tools, the rest of the design is just a few steps away.The chair exists essentially of three parts: the aforementioned books or other stackables; a seat, back and flat base; and some straps or cords to help keep it level. (You can put them together in a number of different ways.) The seat and back can come from an old chair whose legs aren't quite as sturdy as they used to be; alternately, if you don't have the means to pressure-bend plywood, like MIO did, building your own can be as simple as slapping two pieces of wood together, or as complex as you're willing to make it, depending on your skills with woodworking and your ergonomic desires. Be creative-there's a world of possibilities here.

For the base, a flat piece of plywood or other board will do. Its footprint should be the same size as the seat. To keep the chair level, you'll need four straps-we recommend nylon straps, like the kind used for climbing and widely available at sporting goods or home improvement stores-placed at corresponding spots on the chair (use the picture above as a guide). Leave a little adjustment room in the straps, so you can fine-tune it once you have the books in place.

Once you've got everything together, all that's left to do is add the height, with your books or other chosen stackers. One great thing about this chair: its height can change with your mood and a quick adjustment on the leveling straps. You can mix and match your old books to not only rotate books you're not reading with those you are, but to change the chairs' height for whatever you need it for. It's book storage, recycling, and a fun chair, all in one. Good luck and have fun!

Difficulty level: Moderate to advanced