DIY Blogger House Tutorial: Hanging Daybed Swing, Part 2

DIY Blogger House Tutorial: Hanging Daybed Swing, Part 2

Are you still with us? I know, I know, this is a BIG project.  Do you need a reminder why it’s worth it?

Hanging Daybed Swing
Complete this project and you can be relaxing in this kind of space!

Where to Hang:

One of the most important things is hanging this on the RIGHT structure and in the RIGHT way.  Have I mentioned before that the swing is heavy?  It’s easily 100 pounds.  It can potentially hold an entire family so consider how much weight that is in addition.  Also, weight in motion behaves differently than weight which is merely suspended.  This is very important to understand to avoid injury from improper installation!
Clearly this whole project hinges on having the right ‘structure’ to hold it.  If you will install it on a pergola, you will need one that has 6 x 6 heavy duty posts and is constructed out of quality materials.  At a minimum, the structure must be bolted down but it’s ideal if at least 2 1/2 feet of the 6 x 6 post is below grade and secured in concrete footings.  If  bought a pre-fab pergola at Costco or Walmart etc., I can pretty much guarantee it will not hold this! 

This pergola has 6 x 6 posts, 2 x 10 bottom rafters and 2 x 8 upper rafters. The rafters are topped with 2 x 2 lath. Posts are bolted down but it would be better if they were encased in subterannian concrete footings.

Alternatively, you can hang the daybed from the ceiling of your covered patio or porch provided the structure can hold the weight.  How do you know?  If you have an existing structure, have a professional advise you on this matter.  It may require the addition of several doubled 2×6 or greater beams in order to provide adequate support.  YOUR individual situation may vary, please consult a professional if you are unsure.


We deliberately chose to suspend the “swing” with 4 chains in a 4-point connection rather than a two-point connection for the following reasons:
  1. The structure is large and bolted down BUT it does not have footings.  It could not handle major swinging action.
  2. It’s not safe to have the hanging daybed swing vigorously- especially when kids or the general public will use it.
  3. It’s hard to get on a ‘swing’ that moves significantly.
  4. It’s much more difficult to install this as a 2-point system. You must get the weight balance of the front and the back just right or it will tip.  Tipping is bad (in case that isn’t obvious!)
  5. A 4-point connection distributes the weight of the hanging daybed more evenly across the structure and allows for more weight on the  hanging daybed itself.  It’s also easier to install.
  6. A gentle swaying action is still soothing but not dangerous or disruptive- a 4 point connection allows for SWAYING rather than SWINGING and avoids the pitfalls above.

On our structure, the builder doubled the 2 x 8 beams that will hold the weight of the hanging daybed.  Overkill? Maybe but we’ll have up to 8,000 people come through this house in a 3 week period during the “Parade of Homes”- that’s A LOT of people jumping on and off this swing in a very short time.  We need safe and durable.

To install the upper chains, use a 5″ eye bolt with a lag screw end.  They look like this:

lag screw

a 4 or 5 inch long lag screw attaches to the doubled rafters on the pergola.

These are usually screwed into the underside of a beam- we will be installing it in the SIDE, about half way from the top like this:
How to attach a swing to a pergola
Note that the chain is attached to the eye lag screw with a carabiner which can be screwed shut.
To hang the bottom of the swing, attach a 6″ eye bolt through the base near each corner.  You will need to secure it with 2 washers and 2 nuts, one on either side of the frame and they should be tightened to secure the bolt to the frame without enabling it to move.

You'll need 4 of these but with 2 washers and 2 nuts per bolt- you don't want the bolt to be able to slide around. The double screws will secure it both inside and outside the frame.

Hanging Daybed Swing Tutorial

The bolt projects out just far enough to cause the chain to miss the top rail and then it's secured from both sides of the frame with washers and nuts.

To hang the bed, attach lengths of chain to the upper eye lag screw. The chain should be left longer than you think you’ll need it. Do this for each corner. and cut the chain to the right size (ours ended up being 82″ long), place a 5-gallon bucket where each corner of the swing will go then lift the swing on to the buckets. This will hold the weight and ensure that swing is reasonably even. You’ll then decide how long the chain needs to be and make each chain the same length. Before securing the chain, we recommend you add a length of plastic safety tubing- especially if you have children- we don’t want pinched fingers. We also firmly recommend chain NOT rope as rope can fray and lose structural integrity.

Creating the Cushions:

As you learned in Part 1, the hanging daybed is sized to accommodate a standard twin-sized mattress.  I have a spare twin size mattress at home which I had planned on using for this project.  However, I also decided that I WILL be making one of these again for myself so I selfishly held on to the extra mattress!  Instead, we opted to use 2 of the medium density foam “camping pads” which we purchased from Home Depot on closeout for $19.99. It’s pretty decent foam for the money.  They will be stuck together with spray adhesive to create one thicker cushion. We also bought a 3rd camping pad which will be rolled up and used for the bolster pillow along the back.

Hanging Daybed Swing Tutorial

This photo was taken in the near dark of a very long day. It will at least give you an idea of how the camping pads work to create the cushions. Note: We decided to add another to make the seat a double layer.

 I used whatever string I could find to wrestle the bolster into rounded submission.  As a one woman sport, it was a bit like alligator wrestling.  I would recommend a helper for this step!

creating a bolster pillow from a foam camping pad

Attempting to wrestle the foam into a rounded shape. Yee haw!

To create the cover for the seat cushions, simply lay your fabric over the foam then cut the fabric to fit ADDING 1/2″ to each side for the seam allowance.  I am too lazy to put in zippers so I planned to simply use velcro for the closure on this- much easier! 

sewing cushions

Leave an extra 1/2 around all edges for the seam allowance.


cushions for hanging daybed

cushion top with piping sewn all the way around, 1/2" inch from the edges. Make 2 like this so the cushion can be flipped.


At this point, I was completely worn out AND  I had jacked up my sister’s sewing machine (mine was previously jacked up, I am hard on machines).  Enter Club member Jeanette Parker, a REAL seamstress, who saved me by sewing the rest of this contraption together! She did a much better job than I could have. 

See how you bring the opening on the cushion around the side? Also, note the way the end of the bolster looks- just a circle with piping (but a bit tricky nonetheless). Also note that the cushion comes up short of the back. A camping pad is not as wide as a twin mattress. If this were a twin mattress, it would go all the way to the back.

It was Jeanette who took the foam bolster and wrapped it in plastic shrink wrap to keep the shape and smooth out the foam- genius!

Wrap the bolster in tight-fitting plastic wrap to ensure it holds its shape smoothly. The ties are still on beneath the shrink plastic. Eventually the foam will hold the shape naturally and you can remove the plastic wrap if you want.

We used inexpensive rope piping from Walmart for the trim and a zipper foot to allow us Jeanette to get the thing sewn tightly together.  Make flaps for the back of the cushion that come around the corner (that helps get the foam in).  If the picture doesn’t make that step clear, go pull one of your couch cushions and look at the construction.  It’s pretty straightforward and very easy to achieve if you aren’t morally opposed to the use of velcro! 

Bolster is sewn together across the bottom with 1/2- 1/3 of the area left open- hint, it's easier to sew on the velcro BEFORE you sew the bolster into a round.

Create a circle template for the end of the bolster that also allows a 1/2″ seam allowance.  Sew together.  For the long back seam, sew it closed 1/3 of the way on each end leaving 1/3 in the middle as an open slit to insert the pillow that can be closed with more of velcro- friend of hack sewers everywhere!

By this point we were BOTH ready to call it a day with this project so the rest of the throw pillows on the hanging day bed are outdoor pillows purchased by the Interior Designer for the house, Brian Clark of Brian Clark Designs.  All fabrics used for this bed were selected by Brian.

All told, I would say this project took us about 30 hours to complete.  Expect to spend $300- $600 for the wood, hardware, foam etc.  The variability in cost is based on the cost of your chosen outdoor fabric and number of throw pillows you add.  Expect to spend $1,000- $1,500 to have one built- again the cost is dependent on your fabric choices and number of pillows.  This is certainly a project that is “Do-able” by a do-it-yourselfer but it is a bit time consuming.  Well worth it for the end result!

Special thanks to Jeanette Parker for her mad sewing skills.  Bangerter Homes for allowing us to do something so crazy for their “DIY Blogger House” entry in the 2012 Salt Lake Parade of Homes AND for letting us show people how the ‘experts’ would hang this daybed.  Finally, a HUGE thank you to my Dad, Terry Nielson, for his tireless work teaching me the skills needed to pull off a project like this.  If you’re local and have read BOTH tutorials, feel overwhelmed and would rather just buyone, contact Terry and he just may hook you up with a fabulous hanging daybed swing all your own! terry dot nielson at gmail dot com.

Link to Part 1 of the Tutorial

Related posts:

About cynthiab

Cynthia is a landscape designer who recently ditched her consulting biz for the opportunity to work for a local botanical garden where she gets to teach others about all the things she loves and connect with people of similar interests. She believes the joy of a garden is not in the product but in the process- and sometimes her process is messy!


  1. Hi There. I totally love this idea. I really would like to try the pergola with daybed in my backyard. What is the minimal dimensions that the pergola should be to safely accomodate the swinging day bed? Thanks

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