So many of my projects are inspired by my kids and born out of a need or opportunity to facilitate some kind of activity that will either teach them independence or nurture their creativity. This hammock chair DIY is one of those. I made it specifically for my older son who loves to read and often needs a little bit of quiet space away from his talkative sister. Our front porch has often served as a little retreat from the chaos of a family of five and was the perfect place to hang out (literally) and enjoy a book.
While I made this chair for my kids, it could be used by adults as well. I used supplies strong enough to hold up to 200 lbs. so that it might withstand a sturdy plop from either of the older kids, but supplies are available at most hardware stores that will ensure it holds more weight.
-1 1/4″ x 3′ oak dowel (oak is a hard wood and considered safer than poplar for supporting weight. Also, I had mine cut to 3′)
-3/8″ x 16′ braided polypropylene (get this by the foot)
-2 yards of plain canvas
-80mm stainless steel spring snap link (holds up to 220 lbs)
-3/16″ stainless steel quick link (holds up to 660 lbs)
-black fabric paint (my acrylic paint is fabric friendly)
-drill and 3/8″ drill bit
-iron and ironing board
Step One: Fold your two yards of canvas in half and lay flat with the fold on the left as shown. Measure in about 7″ from the top right edge and mark. I cut mine about 12″ in, and it was a bit too much, so I’m suggesting 7″. Using a yard stick or ruler, draw a line from that top mark to the bottom right corner, and cut through both pieces. Open your canvas.
Step Two: Fold your top edge down 1/2″ and iron flat. Then fold it in again 1/2″ and iron flat. Pin and stitch the bottom of the fold as shown above. Repeat with the long bottom edge.
Step Three: Flip your canvas 90 degrees to the left so that the longest edge is on the right. You’re going to create pockets for the rope to slide through on each side. Fold each corner in about 1 1/2″ and iron flat. Then fold the unhemmed top edge in 1/2″ and iron flat.
Step Four: Fold again 1 1/2″ and iron flat.
Step Five: Stitch two lines along the bottom folded edge as shown. Reinforce your beginning and ending with back stitches. Repeat with other side.
Step Six: Make a mark 2″ and 4″ in from both ends of your dowel, and drill through. Sand your rough edges and stain if you’d like. I chose to leave mine natural.
Step Seven: Place your canvas on a large sheet of cardboard, and paint your design on one side. Let it dry, and then paint a design on the other side (optional). If you’re using printed fabric, be sure it’s upholstery weight or outdoor fabric to ensure its strength.
Step Eight: Tie a knot at one end of your 16′ rope so that there is about 3″ of a tail. Melt the end so it won’t fray. Thread it down through the outer hole of your oak dowel and up from the widest corner of one side of your canvas seat to the narrow corner of the top. Then tie a knot about 3′ from your first knot, and thread it up into the oak dowel. Continue to thread it down into the hole 4″ from the other edge, and measure 3′ from the loose end, and tie a loose knot. Thread it down through the other canvas pocket and back up through the last hole before tying a knot with a 3″ tail. If your two sides aren’t even, adjust your knots before pulling them tight.
Step Nine: Find the center of the rope above your dowel, and tie a knot with about 8″-10″ of room above it. Attach your spring link, and then your quick link, and finally hang it on a hook screwed safely into a ceiling beam or large tree branch. Be sure to adjust all of your knots to make sure the seat sits evenly. Test it out by hanging on it before sitting in it to make sure everything is secure.
A soft, round pillow in the bottom of the seat can be added for extra cushioning for smaller sitters. Height can be adjusted depending on the height of your ceiling. Our porch ceiling is lower than the inside of our house, so you can add another loop of knotted rope, or just cut your rope to be about 2′-4′ longer depending on the height of your ceiling. I hope your chair gets as much use as ours is getting! –Rachel
Note: As always, use this tutorial at your own risk. This chair is made for gentle swaying and not actual swinging. Please use with caution. A Beautiful Mess and Rachel Denbow are not responsible for any injury or loss from execution of this tutorial. Safety first, y’all!
Credits // Author and Photography: Rachel Denbow. Photos edited with Paris from the ABM Fresh Collection.