Hammock Chair DIY

Hammock Chair DIYSo 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. 

A Cozy Reading ChairReversible Hammock ChairHammock Chair Tutorial

-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)
-paint brush

-drill and 3/8″ drill bit
-sewing machine
-iron and ironing board

Steps1Step 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. 

Steps 2Step 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.

LastStep 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. 

Hang itStep 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. 

Handmade Hammock ChairReading ChairIndoor Hammock Chair DIYA 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 its writers 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.


  • How wonderful! I wish I had had a chair like this when I was all reading and growing up… I may have to make myself an adult version 🙂

  • This looks like the comfiest, coziest little corner to curl up and read in – loving the pattern you painted too! Xo, D

  • Awesome!! I love hanging chairs, I can’t believe I can make my own! Looks like a fun place to read, too.

  • This is so stinking cute! I may make a larger version for myself – I am moving into a place that has a bay window in the bedroom, so this seems pretty perfect.

  • this is SO CUTE. I’ve always wanted one of these so I bought one from Urban Outfitters for a lot more than I really wanted to spend. I wish I knew this earlier!

    • I wish i could make it but my room isn’t big and i share it with my sister so i cant 🙁 would make it and fall asleep in it

  • I love swing seats! As soon as I’m living somewhere that won’t kill me for hanging something from the ceiling, I will be coming back to this!

  • What a beautiful hammock. Very creative! It also looks very comfy and easy to make. Thanks for sharing from 3girls1apple.com

  • Would you mind sharing the fabric measurements of your hammock chair? This way those that want to make an adult chair can 🙂 Also, for those who want it wider inside: cut the corners off a rectangle of 3/8″ plywood (approx 14″ x 18″ rectangle). Then, glue on pillow stuffing or cushion. Wrap fabric like a Christmas present and staple. Place inside hammock. Tada!

  • This is so awesome! What is the width of the fabric that is needed? Xo Shell

  • Ι fell in love with it from the moment I saw it! What a great idea! thank you so much! When I finally manage to live on my own I ‘d like to have one! xoxo

  • I’d love to make one of these for myself too… Think it can hold the weight of an adult in a bigger size?

  • That is super cute and fun! I’d love to have one of those in the kids’ rooms for a little book nook. Great project!

  • What is your length measurement for the canvas? It’s 2 yards wide and how many yards (or inches) high?
    Thank you!!

  • I would also love to know the exact dimensions, as well as any suggestions for an adult size? I saw a different DIY chair that was way more complicated, this one is easier and also a lot more visually appealing!!

  • This is great! I was just looking, the other day,on Amazon at a neat trailer hitch to hold the chairs. This would be a great thing if you are camping or tailgating. See it here: http://www.amazon.com/Hammaka-4101-HMKA-Trailer-Hitch-cradles/dp/B000YADWII/ref=sr_1_32?ie=UTF8&qid=1403546186&sr=8-32&keywords=hammaka+hammocks

    And if you look at down the page you can by the hanger alone. They also have many good ideas for hanging the chair if you don’t have the means to do it like shown here.

    I am definitely bookmarking this. Thank you so much for sharing. PS Yours is much more appealing than those shown on Amazon.

  • LOL, I just bought myself a hammock chair, with bright yellow cushions to read in!!! I ordered it from Fingerhut….. Sure wish I would have saw your chair first!!!!

  • I love this. Will have brain surgery soon and will have to recup and this would be wonderful. Thanks for the opportunity.

  • Have all the fabric but also need to know the fabric width because that dimension is important! Love this so much!

  • Please tell me when you folded your two yards on the fold, and you measure the fold was it two yards or did you fold it the other way. Please tell me the folded measurement size? I am thinking by your directions that it would measure two yards down the fold and two yards down the selvage side

  • Looking at photo #1, if that’s 2 yards and it’s folded, then it’s about 1 yard along the bottom measurement. The “height” of the rectangle looks just a bit bigger, but not by much, so I’m guessing it’s 45″ wide fabric, not 60″.

  • Hey. Loved this project super easy and fun! Used a drop cloth from the hardware store. For $11 I had enough material for 2 swings. My drop cloth was 6′ x 9′. I just cut a 45″ piece off the 9′ length and made a piece 6′ x45″ or 2 yards x 45″. Tie dyed perfectly! My husband suggested a swival piece at the top so the kid can spin without binding the eye hook. Thanks!

  • I cut in 7″ like you recommended, and I don’t think it was enough. The top/back is very droopy. I’m gonna try 10 maybe, since you said 12 was too much.

    • I made this and love it! I would agree with Tyler, I cut in 7” also and it’s droopy. Next time. I’ll cut in 10”. Thanks for the pattern, this is a super clever idea!

  • I love this!
    I will change the design a little bit so there aren’t any loops in the ropes that could cause entrapment, other than that it’s wonderful!

    Paranoid Parent from AZ

  • I’m looking at my folded fabric and the math doesn’t add up. The top where your head rests is the same width of the 3′ dowel and yet when I layout the 7″ from right to angle cut to bottom, that would make the head area 58″. (72″ which is 2 yards – 14″ which is the 7″ you cut in from edge). That’s very saggy for the top area. Am I doing something wrong?

  • Instead of using canvas ied use a hole bunch of old pillow cushions in diffrent coulors (maby make a pattern out of your fave coulors).

  • Ok so these instructions don’t quite turn out as the picture, 2 yards is a lot of fabric, I had to pleat the top and a little in the bottom corners as it wasHUGE! I also hung off of 2 hooks rather than one from ceiling to prevent spin.

  • Hi! Quick question. How wide was your canvas because the width of mine is already 2 yards so did you just used a square piece?

    Thanks 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing! This is a simple and great idea. I have so many items on my to-read list this semester that I need something like this. Sadly, I can’t do so in my dorm room…

  • Hi Dannielle– We try to respond to every question, however, we don’t always get to the ones from older blog posts (this one is from 2014, and was written by one of our contributors). Do you have a specific question for Rachel?

    • Yes! Lol. Thank you. I have the same question that everyone else has been asking. What is the width of the fabric?

    • Please tell us the exact measurement of the fabric you used to make this chair

  • Please tell us the proper size to use. I have done it twice now and still don’t have the measurements right.

  • Thank you for this awesome diy how to! I am in the middle of making this and am having a difficult time threading the rope through the oak dowel holes. 😱 did you find it to be difficult? Or am I doing something incorrectly? Thank you!

  • I’m 13, and was wondering if you could use some sort of wire like material in the edge of the fabric to make it a certain shape, and use word to create a stand, so that you don’t have to hang it on the ceiling, and if you were to make a stand like this, what material, wood most likely would work best, but I don’t really know, I just want to make one if those cool egg hanging chairs, and they’re super expensive, and was hoping I’d be able to make my own, and this already seems to have the base of what I’m looking for, I just need more details to make it more egg shaped and such

  • Hi, I loved your idea and decided to make one for my boys room. When I finally got it hung up and sat in it I kept sliding out. Did I do something wrong or is there a simple solution to prevent one from sliding out. I also tried my 3 year old son in it and it was a little better but he also had trouble not sliding out.

    • First, try adjusting how much of the seat fabric is pulled forward vs behind. This you can easily adjust with this design. Another thing is it may have to do with the type of fabric you used? If it’s something that just has less friction than the canvas type material Rachel used here that may make a difference? But I’m not sure what you used, so maybe not. Hope that helps!

  • Wow! This hammock chair is awesome. I think I’ll be making some floral designs or birdies on the canvas for my baby girl.

  • I just made two of these to hang in the trees for my kiddos.
    I followed your directions exactly and they look like huge bizarre insect pods. Enormous, uncomfortable and rather ridiculous.
    Anyone else have this challenge?

    • Mine doesn’t look right either. I followed it step by step. It doesn’t look anything like the photo. I also have to take about half the rope off.

  • Hi,
    I have made this now twice.
    I read the directions step by step very carefully.
    I used 2 yards of outdoor fabric, 54”wide.
    Mine looks like a bunch of fabric hanging on a pole.
    Did you leave something out in the instructions?
    Mine was going to be a birthday present for a little girl..
    I still want to do this, but I don’t want to buy more fabric.
    Please help.

    • Tina, I loved this comment, was shaking with laughter, a bunch of fabric hanging on a pole, hilarious! I can so feel the disappointment in it after the initial excitement, it’s like a comedy.
      However, as I was about to make one myself, I am very glad you shared a solution and I don’t have to look at a similarly misshapen result.
      Thanks for that.

  • Hey everyone that is having issues with the size!!
    After struggling and feeling as something was wrong with me, my husband and I figure it out today!!
    If your fabric is wide, 54”, then you NEED TO CUT AT LEAST 12”!!!!!!
    If not IT WILL SAG!! ( trust me, been there done it)
    Actually for the head area you could even
    go in 2 more inches
    I used outdoor canvas,, 2 yards at 54 “ wide.
    Now, if you use plain regular canvas,, it’s going to be about 45” wide. This is important because it’s going to determine how much you cut. So with 45 “ you can safely cut 7”.
    But 54” wide, cut 12-14 off.
    I hope this helps you .
    Just remember, outdoor fabric is going to be 54” wide, so cut more..
    Regular fab or canvas is around 45”,,so you can cut 7.

    If you have any questions, on what I did, you may contact me here [email protected]

  • I did a similar chair in my dorm room few years ago. It was a real struggle, I wish I had found your guide earlier.
    As you said in the article, this is the best place to relax and enjoy a book)

  • So, I made this piece and warned by all the comments, I first pinned the cloth together and hang it to see how it would turn out. Turns out, the description is not very useful when you use different measures to make an adult version as the proportion change. So here some hints…
    Based on the comments that the measures were for children and that adult versions needed to be bigger I used a thick cotton fabric of 230*155cm. I think 180*130cm is probably the minimum you should aim for. Mine is a bit big for a normal sized person but with some cushions it’s actually quite comfortable. Now…
    The bar is about 1m wide and the strings on which the chair hangs are about 80cm apart. This should also be about the width of the top end of your finished piece, 75-90 cm. Let’s say 80cm in this example, meaning that the folded cloth needs to be cut at 40 cm from the crease PLUS about 10 cm on each side for the rope pockets. So in total you need to measure 50cm on the folded cloth’s top margin. You can be more generous with the rope pockets, the fabric falls nicer if the rope has more space in the pocket.
    Now you fold the fabric but not to the bottom corner but to a point 50 cm from the bottom. These 50cm will be your seating space. If you cut to the bottom corner you are more likely to get an inclined seat from which you slip to the floor.
    Good luck.

  • I’d definitely suggest using a bigger eye-hole than that little thing. And I’d recommend using two of them, even if it ruins your ability to swing in a rotating fashion. I love the idea of a unique hammock chair, and yours looks wonderful! The pillow, the fabric used, these all make for a very personalized look that I really enjoyed! Thanks for the inspiration!

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