DIY Blogger House Tutorial: Hanging Daybed Swing

DIY Blogger House Tutorial: Hanging Daybed Swing

I am so SUPER excited to post a tutorial for our “Hanging Daybed Swing” thing-a-ma-gig.  This little number is a cross between a hammock and a porch swing that has all the benefits of BOTH and the drawbacks of neither.  I’ll be honest, it’s kinda killing me to leave this baby at the DIY Blogger House- I want it for MY pergola!


Hanging Daybed Swing Tutorial

Imagine spending an afternoon reading to your kids on the hanging bed or an evening lazily watching the stars as you sway gently in the cool breeze and relax.  Are you feeling it yet?  Wouldn’t that experience SO be worth all the pain of building your own hanging daybed swing?  I’ll be honest.  This is a rather large project and takes some time BUT it requires minimal tools (mostly just a drill and miter saw which most homeowners have access to).

To make the swing, you’ll need the following materials in a suitable outdoor wood.  Redwood and Cedar will both work and can be purchased at home improvement stores.  I will confess to using  a little bit of standard lumber on the interior parts of the swing that are not exposed to the elements to save money.  If you want to make it fancy, you could try using Teak or Ipe but that will increase the cost significantly.

Materials List:

Hardware:

  • 3″ Outdoor screws
  • 2 1/2″ Outdoor screws- a BIG box!
  • Counter-sinking drill bit
  • 4- 1/2 inch diameter by 6 inch long eye bolts
  • 8- 1/2 washers
  • 8 1/2 nuts
  • 4- 1/2 inch by 4 inch lag eye bolts
  • 8- carabiners which can be screwed closed
  • chain- total length depends upon where it will be installed.
  • Protective plastic for chains

Wood:

  • 3- 2 x 6 x 8 boards (we used redwood)
  • 2- 2 x 4 x 8 boards
  • 2- 2 x 4 x 8 studs (or use redwood- this is for the interior)
  • 4- 3 x 1 x 8 boards (we used regular fir- this is for the interior)
  • 7- 2 x 2 x 8 boards

Cushions:

  • EITHER an old twin-size mattress OR
  • 3 foam camping pads
  • 5 yards of outdoor fabric for the mattress cover
  • 2 yards of outdoor fabric for the bolster pillow
  • 12 yards of pre-made piping (we used rope style piping from the Walmart sewing section)
  • 6- packages of sew-on velcro because we didn’t want to mess with giant zippers!
  • Matching thread
  • miscellaneous outdoor pillows

Overwhelmed by the list yet? No? Good! Let’s get busy!  The first thing you’ll need to do is measure your twin mattress.  There can be slight size variations.  The mattress I intended to use (spare twin size the kids don’t need) measures 75 inches long by 36 inches wide, which is the most common standard size.  All measurements used in this tutorial are based off this size so if yours is different, you’ll need to adjust your measurements accordingly.

Building the Base:

We didn’t really have a pattern for this swing- we (Dad and I) made it up as we went.  However, I used the tutorial created by the ever-awesome Ana White as a place to start.  Ana’s version is easier to construct but does not have sides or a back.  We wanted the added safety of sides and a back.  I also think our alternate hanging hardware will be stronger- and since our hanging bed is a lot heavier, it needs it. You can see Ana’s tutorial and excellent drawings HERE.

Side note- I got to meet Ana at the SNAP! Creativity Conference and I can confirm she is a one-woman dynamo!  If you’re an aspiring Do-it-yourselfer, you NEED to get to know Ana!

Let’s begin! Make the following cuts:

  • Cut 2 of the 2 x 6 x 8 boards to a length of 76 1/2 inches.
  • Cut the remaining 2 x 6 x 8 board into two boards which are each 34 1/2 inches in length.

Pre-drill screw holes for the 3″ long screws using a “counter-sinking drill bit” available at Home Depot, Lowes and other hardware stores. This will save A LOT of time!  You’ll want 3 holes located 3/4″ from each end of the 76 1/2″ boards.  Screw together the base, use wood glue on the joints.  Use a carpenter’s square to make sure that your base is perfectly square.  When screwed together, the base should be no more than 1/2″ bigger than the mattress on each side.

Next, cut the 2 regular 2 x 4s to a length of inches.  Mount these on the INSIDE of the frame, 1/2″ below the top of the base, you want to leave just enough room so that when the slats that hold the mattress are installed (one of the last steps) the will be totally flush with the top of the frame. You don’t want the mattress to fit inside the frame or it will hurt the backs of your knees when you sit on it.

Adding the Back and Sides

Now we’ll prepare the parts for the back and sides.  We chose to use 18″ long slats for the arms and back of the swing because we’d be able to get exactly 6 slats from each 2 x 2 x 8 piece of lumber.  Adjust this for yourself as desired.  Based on the spacing we used, it required 7 slats for a side x 2 plus 11 slats across the back.  Make the following cuts:

  • 25- 18″ long pieces of 2 x 2 lumber, miter the bottom ends of each to a 45 degree angle
  • cut 1- 2 x 4 to 79 1/4″ then miter the corners opposite directions and toward the inside so that the long side remains at 79 1/4″
  • cut 2- 2 x 4  pieces to a length of 45 1/2″ then miter ONE end of each so it will join with the piece along the back.
  • cut 1- 2 x 2  board to a length of 75 3/4 inches. This will support the back rail. Do not miter.
  • cut 2- 2 x 2 pieces to a length of  37 1/2 inches.  These will support the upper rail. Do not miter.

    Prepare the slats for the sides and back, mark all screw locations at once to save time and ensure uniform locations.

The pieces are ready, now it’s time to pre-drill the screw holes with the countersinking miter bit.

Drill all at the same time with a countersinking drill bit.

Start assembling by adding the 2×2 supports to the top rails.  We will not miter both pieces as having one joint mitered (top) and one a “butt” joint (tee hee) makes for stronger construction and helps support the top rail.

Prepare the top rails by adding the 2×2 supports.

 

The corners will be assembled as shown above. We did this a little out of sequence as we completed the entire back first but it works either way.

Now we’ll add the slats to the back:

1. Use a 2 x 2 as a spacer to ensure each slat is equidistant from the bottom. 2. Screw slats to the bottom. 3. The back is finished!

 


To complete the side slats, screw the first to the back of the arm assembly. Screw the second to the very corner end then evenly distribute the slats between the spaces. We used a spacing of 6″ on the back of the hanging bed and 5″ on the sides. It doesn’t matter if the back and sides are slightly different from EACH OTHER so long as all the slats on one side are equally spaced.

Hanging Daybed Swing Tutorial

Here’s a photo of how all the slats are attached and where.

  And nowHanging Daybed Swing Tutorial

And with that, you’re done with the construction phase! The next step will be to stain or paint your swing- which is going to take awhile! So long it was too dark to get a photo of it!

Tomorrow I will post “Part 2″ of this tutorial which shows how the great folks at Bangerter Homes hung the swing (this baby is HEAVY) and how to make the cushions and pillows that make it so deluxe!  All of the work will be worth it when you’re relaxing like my youngest is here!

Hanging Daybed Swing Tutorial

As you can see, this project is best for someone with moderate skills. It’s detailed and time consuming but it isn’t that HARD. As the daughter of a Master Craftsman, I had some idea of how to build this going in but Dad taught me all sorts of little tricks the pros use- which I tried to share here. If you are local to the “Wasatch Front” and you REALLY want one of these but REALLY don’t want to make one, you can contact Terry of Terry Nielson Design and see if he’ll build you one as well.  Below is the link to “Part 2″.

DIY Blogger House: Hanging Daybed Swing Tutorial, Part 2

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We are proud to have this project featured on the “45 Great DIY Projects for 2012” on the Tatertots and Jello blog! Woo! Check out the link for more awesome ideas!

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!

Comments

  1. Hey friend! You did such an INCREDIBLE job. I’m totally working on my parents to build that swing! It is TO DIE FOR!

  2. I love it so much! Fantastic job.

  3. Brenda Jones says:

    GORGEOUS. Thank you for sharing the “how to’s.” Can you tell me how much this bed swing would weigh? Thanks so much.
    Brenda

    • That’s a good question Brenda, I haven’t weighed the swing. I suspect it would be around 150-200 lbs. It is best to install a swing this size on a pergola that has posts which are in concrete in the ground rather than surface mounted. I would also recommend that the posts be 6 x 6 rather than 4 x 4. It takes a beefy structure to hold up a swing of this size- especially when you load the swing with people. The carabiners used for the chains and such are rated to 2,000 lbs. so the “weak link” would really be the structure.

  4. Hello Cynthia, can you clarify something on the swinging daybed tutorial? In the Building the Base section, the paragraph just above Adding the Back and Sides, you say to “Next, cut the 2 regular 2 x 4s to a length of inches.” How many inches? The tutorial looks very informative and I’m ready to plunge into this project. My husband is also getting impatient for me to complete it, and he usually doesn’t get this excited about home projects! I think the nap potential of the daybed is driving his interest!
    Thank you for checking this and clarifying, as I don’t want to make extra cuts if I can help it!

    • Carolyn,

      I just saw this comment. Sorry! It got lost in a sea of spam (apparently my spam-blocker is no longer working). In any case, it’s been so long since I wrote the tutorial I am not sure of the exact number of inches. It just needs to fit INSIDE the frame (frame-in-a-frame). These 2 x 4s will hold the slats that hold the mattress. If your mattress can fit down into the frame a couple of inches, that is ideal. You’d mount the regular 2 x 4’s inside the frame so that the top of the 2 x 4 is 2-3 inches below the top of the bed frame. This will allow the mattress to settle in and not slide off. I wish I still knew the length for the boards but, unfortunately, that daybed swing is hanging at someone ELSE’S house, not mine. I still have to find the mojo to make one for myself at some point. It’s hard to get excited about a project a second time! LOL!

      • Thank you for the wonderful detailed plans. We are just finishing this project today and it looks great! I wanted to give you our measurements for the two 2x4s that support the slats: ours were 73-1/2″ long. The slats themselves are 34-1/2″ long and we made about ten of 1×4 stock. For our project, the 2×2’s that support the back and upper rails were not the right size – we think the back rail should be the longer one so that the side upper rails would butt up against it (this way the end grain is covered in the final project). That would require a back rail 2×2 of 76-1/2″ and two side upper rails of 36″ on our project. Because our back rail was about an inch too short, we butted it the other way (longer side upper arms) but then had to get some metal flat angle braces to join the butts and the corner vertical 2×2 slats in a strong way. Finally for the two front arms you will need two pieces of 2×4 that are 18″ long, plus a little for the mitered corner braces.
        For assembly, what worked for us was making the base, then attaching the 2×4 vertical arm supports to its 2×2 front corner slat and attaching that L assembly to the base on each front corner. Then we attached each of the 2×2 back corner vertical slats so we had all four corners done. This allowed us to attach the 2×2 upper and side rails and go from there keeping everything as square as possible. Great beautiful design and thank you again for the detailed instructions!

        • Thank you for the additional information! I am so glad that others are making and enjoying this project and I’m sure the information you shared will help others!

  5. Does the arm end piece screw into a slat as well as the base? I can’t quite tell from the image, it sort of looks like it might.

    It is a most excellent swing, and I will definitely give it a go in the spring next year!

    (UK has gone the way of winter, brrrrr!)

    • yes…we made a “L” with the front-most side slat and the 4″ wide vertical first. Then we wrapped that “L” around the front corner of the base (similar to putting on the rest of the slats, so use a 2×2 to raise it up from the bottom)

  6. Hello! I love this project! I have a question about hanging it. My pergola is about 10″ wider on both sides than the swing would be. In order to hang it from the posts sunk in concrete, the ropes/chains would need to be coming into where they attach on the daybed at an angle. Would that affect how well it would swing? I realize the swing action would be subtle, more like a glider than a swing, so I think it might be ok?

    • I would affect how it would swing, but if it’s only 10 inches, that’s fairly minimal. So long as the wood on the structure is appropriately sized to hold the weight of the swing fully loaded with people AND in motion, you should be okay. I don’t want to make a judgment call on it for you though- check with a professional if you’re not sure whether or not the structural members can support the weight.

  7. Tammy Smith says:

    We want to do this bed swing on our screened backporch. Is there any additional support we need in ceiling to accommodate the swing/people?

    • I wouldn’t be able to answer that as I don’t know what you have as framing members now. I would say a doubled 2×6 for each end is probably the smallest I’d go because this is a heavy swing. You may want to have a professional look at it for you and verify that it would hold the weight.

Trackbacks

  1. […] old doors! And the landscaping will save the home owner 40% on water bills. And she also has a FAB tutorial on how to make that bed swing – I plan on making one this coming […]

  2. […] DIY Hanging Daybed Tutorial @ Jordan Valley Home and Garden Club […]

  3. […] Making a Hanging Daybed Swing […]

  4. […] This little beauty is something between a hammock and a porch swing that has all the benefits of both and the drawbacks of neither. It is a large project but it’s absolutely worth the pain of building it, just imagine watching the stars, wrapped in a blanket as the cool breeze caresses your face, or lazily falling asleep on a warm spring afternoon on your own hanging daybed. […]

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