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!
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
The pieces are ready, now it’s time to pre-drill the screw holes with the countersinking miter 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.
Now we’ll add the slats to the back:
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.
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!
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”.