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How do I build a palanquin/ roman litter?

I am having a surprise party for my mother's 60th birthday and I would like to have her make a grand entrance on a palanquin/roman litter. The theme of the party will be goddess. Here is a picture below; I would like a smaller version of this maybe a chair instead of a bed. Can you help please?
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Posted 2011-06-26T04:08:11+0000  by smann7626 smann7626

Hello smann7626 and welcome to the community.


This sounds like an awesome and fun idea for a party and I'm sure your mother will love it! Your picture doesn't seem to have posted could you try attaching it again? I found a number of different designs for Roman litters but would much rather see what the inspiration for your version is. Get back to us and we'll try and help make sure your mom gets the grand entrance she deserves.



Posted 2011-06-26T14:06:35+0000  by Chris_HD_ATL

Thanks for the quick response . Here is the link again. Hope you can help me :-)‏  

Posted 2011-06-27T08:55:16+0000  by smann7626

No problem smann7626 any excuse I get to help create something fun is a pleasure.


I came up with a general structure for the palanquin that should help balance out ease of construction and safety for the passenger.


A: For the frame/handle structure I suggest using either 1/2" or 3/4" galvanized pipe. Galvanized pipe is slightly heavy but at the recommended sizes you'll have plenty of strength and rigidness without becoming too heavy.


B: The frame is tied together with galvanized tee's, these also will add a bit of extra surface area to help hold the chair portion in place.


C: Chair surface is secured to the frame with u-clamps. Simply match the size of the u-clamp with that of the pipe and secure with wood screws that are just short of the thickness of the chair.


D: The chair itself can either be a old chair with the legs removed or two boards mounted together as seat and back.




I've intentionally left this initial frame idea pretty bare. This gives us a general idea of what it should look like but leaves enough flexibility to easily expand on the idea. 


The frame is actually the easiest part to put together, where this project will really come alive is the decorating job done.  When you look at many of the palanquin references they all boil down to a box/chair/bed on handles. Through the use of textured paints, cushions, ribbons, curtains, etc. This simple structure can become something grand.


You'll also notice I've left off many measurements. The measurements will be determined by your chair section. Determine what your using for this piece and then build around it. For example: If the depth of the chair is 2ft that automatically gives us the needed length of the center section of the frame. Then I suggest making the forward and tailing carrying sections of pipe 3ft to allow plenty of space for the litter carriers.


Once again this project sounds like an insane amount of fun and I'm sure your mother will be thrilled with the royal treatment. Keep us up to date with your progress and if you have any questions please post back. I think a picture thread of the build process and final result would be awesome don't you? :robotwink:




Posted 2011-06-27T14:02:41+0000  by Chris_HD_ATL

Greetings smann7626!


My name is Christine and I work at The Home Depot in Atlanta. ChrisFixIt asked me to chime in with some decorating ideas for your project. 


Behr has a Venetian Plaster paint that will give your piece an Old World look. Click here for detailed instructions on how to apply this paint. Using this paint on the chair, and the base will really give an Old World look to your piece. I have known many people who have had great luck with this paint, and I think it will work out really well for you. Stop into your local Home Depot and check out the colors available. 


Rust-Oleum American Accents Stone Spray is another option for achieving an aged look. This one looks like natural stone when it dries. You may want to consider spraying this on the pipe, because it will adhere better to the metal than the Venetian Plaster.Check your local store for availability. 


Good luck with your project!


We look forward to seeing pictures of your finished piece!



Posted 2011-06-27T16:22:46+0000  by Christine_HD_ATL

Thanks Christine and Chris this helps out a lot ! Ok I am going to give this a try and take pictures of my progress. Did I mention Im a women who never build nothing in my life :smileysurprised: but Ive looked every where to try to rent one and cant find no one so this is my only other option so wish me luck Thanks again !!

Posted 2011-06-30T00:20:34+0000  by smann7626


I did it !!! Im so proud of myself . Me and my uncle finally build the palanquin .


Material used:

(1) 2x4 plywood

(1) 2x2 plywood

(2) 2x4 8ft Lumber boards

(4) Chair legs

(4) Brackets





We first attached the 2x2 plywood to the 2x4 with the metal brackets

Than we attached the four legs on the bottom

Than we added the 8ft lumber boards on each side

Painted bottom area

added foam and fabric


Its was very simple to put together I haven't finished decorating it but here are the pictures. Thanks again for you help. Now all I have to do it get my mom on it :smileyhappy:












Posted 2011-10-05T08:34:49+0000  by smann7626

That is great news smann7626!


I'm so glad that you have checked back in with us and that the project was a success. :smileyvery-happy:


Congrats on your first building project!



Posted 2011-10-05T13:27:05+0000  by Christine_HD_ATL

Hey smann7626 that's great to hear! I see you went with a classic wooden look. Believe or not your post comes up quite a bit around the office, so I'm glad to hear you had fun with it. Sorry you're having trouble posting the pictures I'll see if there's anything I can do from this end so we can show off your handy work ;-)




Posted 2011-10-09T13:29:14+0000  by Chris_HD_ATL

Hi everyone, the boards were giving smann7626 some trouble with pics so she forwarded them along to me and they are incredible. She sent along pictures of the build process and I hope this encourages everyone to try their hand at DIY!


Fantastic job smann7626 and I hope you all enjoy the pics!





Roman LitterPalanquin 01.jpg

Roman LitterPalanquin 02.jpg

Roman LitterPalanquin 03.jpg

Roman LitterPalanquin 04.jpg

Roman LitterPalanquin 05.jpg


Prepare to be amazed!!! :robotvery-happy:


Roman LitterPalanquin 06.jpg

Roman LitterPalanquin 07.jpg




Posted 2011-10-09T18:46:07+0000  by Chris_HD_ATL


Thanks Chris for posting the pictures for me. I am just like a kid with a toy I glanced at the pictures all the time to admire my work :smileysurprised: Now I see the adrenaline men get from this :womanvery-happy: .I couldn’t have down this without your help. I will send one last picture in Jan. at the party when she makes her grand entrance :smileyhappy: and if you know anybody who wants to buy this after Jan. let me know cause I don’t know what I am going to do with it after the party lol Thanks again. #HomeDepotforlife.

Posted 2011-10-10T08:15:04+0000  by smann7626
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