Baby and Toddler Swing DIY

BabySwingDIY1Most baby and toddler swings on the market are either plastic or expensive, and I knew I could easily make my own after eyeballing a few of the fabric and wood options I found online. This type of swing is both fun and safe for babies that are strong enough to sit up on their own, and all materials used are built to hold up to 180 pounds. There’s no way a 180-pound human might fit comfortably in this swing, but I know it’ll hold Smith safely well into his second or third year. Bodhi, the darling child above, is almost two and was quite comfortable. It’s a great outdoor option when attached to a tree limb or hooked to a deck beam, but it also helps keep little ones entertained when the weather isn’t so nice.

Baby Swing DIYSuppliesSupplies:
-two 1″ x 48″ oak or poplar dowel rods
-at least 22 ft. of braided 3/16″ rope that holds up to 192 lbs.
-one 2″ welded steel ring that holds up to 200 lbs.
-one 80mm steel carabiner that holds up to 280 lbs.
-2 yards of duck cloth, upholstery-weight fabric, or canvas. If you use a print that has a specific direction you may need more.
-1/2 yard of batting
-decorative wooden beads found at a chain craft store
-heavy duty ceiling hook (optional)

 Tools:
-sewing machine and thread in coordinating color
-power drill with 3/8″ drill bit
-hand saw or circular saw
-canvas weight sewing needle
-scissors
-sandpaper in 150 and 100 grit
-lighter for melting rope ends
-iron and ironing board
-straight pins

Fabric CutsStep One:  Cut two 36″ x 12″ pieces (seat), two 12″ x 11″ pieces (back), and two 6 1/2″ x 11″ pieces (front) from your canvas. Then cut one 12″ x 11″ piece from your batting for the back as well as one 6 1/2″ x 11″ piece for the front. This is for extra padding against the front and back pieces of dowel. If you’d really like to go for it, add batting to the large seating piece as well. For each panel, place your batting down first, then one of your two pieces with the right side facing up, then finally the last piece with the right side facing down. Pin together and move on to the next panel until you’ve done all three.

Sewingsteps1Step Two:  Starting about 1″ from one corner, stitch all the way around the edge of your front panel, stopping about 4″ from where you started. You’ll need the opening to help you turn it right side out.Once you’ve turned it right side out, poke your corners out with a pencil to retain your rectangular shape. Finally, iron flat and stitch all the way around. Repeat with the back panel, but not the seat panel.

IMG_6990Step Three:  Set aside the top piece of your seat panel and center the front and back panels as shown. 

IMG_6991 copyStep Four: Fold the back panel on to the seat panel so that the edges are flush, and pin. Then place the front panel on to the seat panel with one of the short edges flush against the seat panel edge. It’s hard to see with this pattern, but the two panels will overlap. They are only pinned along the edges where they meet the seat panel though. 

IMG_6992Step Five: Place your second seat panel on top of everything and line up the edges. Pin around the edges. Starting about 3″ from the corner of one short end, stitch all the way around until you get a hand’s width from where you started. Remove all the pins. Just like in step two, turn right side out and poke your corners out with a pencil. Remove pins that held the front and back panel in place.

IMG_6994Step Six: Iron your panels flat in this shape, and then stitch all along the edge of the large seat panel. This will reinforce your seat’s strength and will close the opening. 

DrillsStep Seven: Cut your poplar or oak dowels into four lengths of 15″. Measure 1 1/2″ in from each end and make a mark. Drill a hole over each mark. Sand with 150 and then 100 grit sand paper, and then wipe with a damp cloth. 

Step Eight: Fold each end of each panel inside so that a rod will fit snugly. While holding in place, remove the rod and pin. Stitch two lines across as shown to create your rod pocket. Remove pins.

UnfoldedStep Nine: Once all four rod pockets have been stitched, insert your rods.

Step Ten: It should look like this. Pat yourself on the back; you’re almost done!

Rope1Step Eleven: Cut two lengths of rope measuring about 11′ long each, and use your lighter to burn the ends. This will keep them from fraying.

Step Twelve: Pull both lengths of rope through your welded steel ring, and find the middle. Tie a knot. Clip your steel ring onto your carabiner. 

ThreadStep Thirteen: The two dowels that slide through the seat panel will rest on top of the two dowels that make up the front and back panels. Thread beads (if you prefer) to your rope ends before you slide them through your dowels. This can add another layer of interest for babies and give them something smooth to hold on to. Thread one rope down through the seat panel dowel and then down into the front panel dowel, and tie a loose knot. Repeat with the rest of the corners. Once you’ve got your seat level, tighten your knots and trim up any ends that are uneven. However, be sure to leave a little bit of a tail in each knot so things don’t become undone easily.  You may have to melt cut ends again.

 

ToddlerSwingDIYAttachmentAttach your swing to a heavy duty hook that has been screwed into a beam, or clip it onto another sturdy rope that has been tied around a tree trunk. Be sure to test your swing with a few strong tugs, a sack of potatoes, etc. before letting your eager toddler have a seat. Also note that this swing is intended for gently pushing and not the traditional playground under dog.  

BabyToddlerSwingDIYBabySwingUpCloseTo keep your swing looking its best, you may not want to leave it outside in extended bad weather. Otherwise, wipe with a damp cloth to spot clean. The dowel rods have been left untreated, but a great non-toxic option for finishing the wood would be beeswax. If your child isn’t quite filling out the swing, you can always add a folded blanket or small pillow behind him to help prop him up. 

As I was making this, I imagined how fun it would be to make one out of plain canvas and then hand stamp black polka dots or x’s all over the finished seat. Then I’d paint the ends of the dowels in non-toxic neon colors and add colorful beads. Who says baby boys can’t enjoy a little neon, too!  Rachel

5 from 3 votes
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Baby and Toddler Swing DIY

Ingredients

Supplies

  • 2 1″ x 48″ oak or poplar dowel rods
  • at least 22 ft. braided 3/16″ rope that holds up to 192 lbs.
  • one 2" welded steel ring that holds up to 200 lbs.
  • one 80mm steel carabiner that holds up to 280 lbs.
  • 2 yards of duck cloth, upholstery-weight fabric, or canvas.  If you use a print that has a specific direction you may need more.
  • 1/2 yard of batting
  • decorative wooden beads found at a chain craft store
  • heavy duty ceiling hook optional

Tools

  • sewing machine and thread in coordinating color
  • power drill with 3/8″ drill bit
  • hand saw or circular saw
  • canvas weight sewing needle
  • scissors
  • sandpaper in 150 and 100 grit
  • lighter for melting rope ends
  • iron and ironing board
  • straight pins

Instructions

  1. Step One:  Cut two 36″ x 12″ pieces (seat), two 12″ x 11″ pieces (back), and two 6 1/2″ x 11″ pieces (front) from your canvas. Then cut one 12″ x 11″ piece from your batting for the back as well as one 6 1/2″ x 11″ piece for the front. This is for extra padding against the front and back pieces of dowel. If you’d really like to go for it, add batting to the large seating piece as well. For each panel, place your batting down first, then one of your two pieces with the right side facing up, then finally the last piece with the right side facing down. Pin together and move on to the next panel until you’ve done all three.

  2. Step Two:  Starting about 1″ from one corner, stitch all the way around the edge of your front panel, stopping about 4″ from where you started. You’ll need the opening to help you turn it right side out.Once you’ve turned it right side out, poke your corners out with a pencil to retain your rectangular shape. Finally, iron flat and stitch all the way around. Repeat with the back panel, but not the seat panel.

  3. Step Three:  Set aside the top piece of your seat panel and center the front and back panels as shown. 

  4. Step Four: Fold the back panel on to the seat panel so that the edges are flush, and pin. Then place the front panel on to the seat panel with one of the short edges flush against the seat panel edge. It’s hard to see with this pattern, but the two panels will overlap. They are only pinned along the edges where they meet the seat panel though. 

  5. Step Five: Place your second seat panel on top of everything and line up the edges. Pin around the edges. Starting about 3″ from the corner of one short end, stitch all the way around until you get a hand’s width from where you started. Remove all the pins. Just like in step two, turn right side out and poke your corners out with a pencil. Remove pins that held the front and back panel in place.

  6. Step Six: Iron your panels flat in this shape, and then stitch all along the edge of the large seat panel. This will reinforce your seat’s strength and will close the opening. 

  7. Step Seven: Cut your poplar or oak dowels into four lengths of 15″. Measure 1 1/2″ in from each end and make a mark. Drill a hole over each mark. Sand with 150 and then 100 grit sand paper, and then wipe with a damp cloth. 

  8. Step Eight: Fold each end of each panel inside so that a rod will fit snugly. While holding in place, remove the rod and pin. Stitch two lines across as shown to create your rod pocket. Remove pins.

  9. Step Nine: Once all four rod pockets have been stitched, insert your rods.

  10. Step Ten: Cut two lengths of rope measuring about 11′ long each, and use your lighter to burn the ends. This will keep them from fraying.

  11. Step Eleven: Pull both lengths of rope through your welded steel ring, and find the middle. Tie a knot. Clip your steel ring onto your carabiner. 

  12. Step Twelve: The two dowels that slide through the seat panel will rest on top of the two dowels that make up the front and back panels. Thread beads (if you prefer) to your rope ends before you slide them through your dowels. This can add another layer of interest for babies and give them something smooth to hold on to. Thread one rope down through the seat panel dowel and then down into the front panel dowel, and tie a loose knot. Repeat with the rest of the corners. Once you’ve got your seat level, tighten your knots and trim up any ends that are uneven. However, be sure to leave a little bit of a tail in each knot so things don’t become undone easily.  You may have to melt cut ends again.

  13. Attach your swing to a heavy duty hook that has been screwed into a beam, or clip it onto another sturdy rope that has been tied around a tree trunk. Be sure to test your swing with a few strong tugs, a sack of potatoes, etc. before letting your eager toddler have a seat. Also note that this swing is intended for gently pushing and not the traditional playground under dog.  

Recipe Notes

To keep your swing looking its best, you may not want to leave it outside in extended bad weather. Otherwise, wipe with a damp cloth to spot clean. The dowel rods have been left untreated, but a great non-toxic option for finishing the wood would be beeswax. If your child isn’t quite filling out the swing, you can always add a folded blanket or small pillow behind him to help prop him up. 

Note: As mentioned above, please be sure to only use materials that are more than strong enough to support your child, and test your swing before placing a child inside. Rachel Denbow and A Beautiful Mess are not responsible for any loss or harm sustained whilst your child is using this swing. Make this DIY at your own risk, and never leave your child unattended whilst in use. 

Credits // Author: Rachel Denbow. Photography: Rachel Denbow. Photos edited with Billie from the Signature Collection.

  • Oh this is so sweet. Its so adorable!! I love that fabric! We just need a baby to go in it.

  • 5 stars
    Awesome! I actually just took pictures of this exact swing at a friends place so I could figure out how to make it, but this makes it much easier!

  • 5 stars
    Hi! I had a great time doing this project, that I reached through this blog (https://www.ladecasa.blog.br/balanco-diy/), properly crediting you. Just finished, so I am hoping my daughter likes it tomorrow morning on her first run!!

    Cheers

  • Hi
    I have made the baby & toddler swing DIY but i was wondering if you had a pattern for a baby hammock swing?

  • Thank you for sharing the tips, they will be helpful in a big way!

  • Thank you so much for this great DIY. I used an old pair of jeans and it is great! My son loves it so much!

  • This is so cute. I think you’re so creative! Thank you for giving me ideas for my next project. I think I have all the pieces sitting around already!

  • Thank you so much for sharing! I was looking for an explanation like this everywhere… Perfect!

  • Hello! I was just wondering what weight of canvas/duck cloth I would need for the baby swing? I bought 14oz canvas and I think it’s a bit too stiff. I don’t know what i’m Looking for? thank you

  • So cute!! I shared them on my blog and my readers loved them very much

  • Awesome Tutorial. Thanks for sharing.
    I’m wonder for making this. I know another collection for best-toddler-swing.
    top-toddler-swings-reviews-guide-choose-best-toddler-swing

  • Loved the swing, and made one for my great granddaughter. My husband did the dowel thing, while I did the fabric. What fun. What excitement for our granddaughter. She put her baby right in and gave her a swing.
    Thanks for the very comprehensible directions and photos.

  • What a wonder idea for a toddler swing. Thank you for taking the time not only to make the whole thing but also preparing it and sharing it with us. You care for your baby and your readers…

    Cheers
    Chalara

  • Toddler Swings come with the perfect blend of safety and comfort. This seems long lasting. both for indoors and outdoors. Thanx for sharing.

  • I love the idea of making a swing like this for my little daughter. Thanks for sharing your tutorial here and I should give it try.
    Beforehand, I have already a single seat swings that I bought a year ago at debuitenspeelshop.nl and it’s safer to be played by my 4-year-old son. For me the swings can be to stimulate his motoric, courage, and teach my son to play alternately with his friends.

  • This is so cute. And you are such a creative mother. Thank you for this innovative swing.

  • Just made this last week, and my almost 7 month old son loves it! Thanks for the tutorial!

  • Very cute, but you copied the exact tutorial One Sassy Housewife did two years ago.. http://onesassyhousewife.blogspot.ca/2012/07/swingin.html You get upset when you claim people steal your ideas, so why do you steal others without giving credit?

  • So cute and practical! And thank you so much for showing the hardware going into the ceiling. That part of things hanging from the ceilings seems to usually get cropped from the pretty pictures! 😉

  • Just what I was looking for! Not wanting plastic and something to customize with my own colors/ fabrics , thank you! Love the wooden beads too.

  • What a great idea! I am sure your super cute toddler enjoys it as much as you enjoyed making it. Thank you.

  • I’d absolutely recommend a locking carabiner instead – you can get them at any outdoor or climbing store. They’re much safer, especially if the baby is moving at all.

  • This is such a cute idea. I can’t wait to give it a try!

  • Love the look of the swing
    usually those which are selled are ugly and made of plastic

  • Really cool idea. I would have loved to have a swing like that as a child! 🙂

  • How cute! My sister is expecting and I will definitely make this for my soon-to-be neice!
    xox
    somethingheresomethingthere@gmail.com

  • I’ve never seen a DIY like this! Making a swing from scratch? Amazing! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

    http://everydayingrace.blogspot.ca/

  • Anne, I have had it for two years so I’m not sure it’s still available. Try joAnn or Hancock’s upholstery sections or remnants, though.

  • This is so cute !! Love it! 🙂

    xx http://www.fanneyskula.com/

  • Such an adorable swing! I don’t have any littles myself, but I love the idea of making a swing like this in the future. 😉

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • This is sweet…toddlers would love it…even i do 😉

    xo

  • Very cool! I’m not into the baby stuff anymore, since my girls are 18, 15, and 12 now but I still love this concept. Who knows? Maybe for grandkids someday. Many, many, many years from now, lol.

    Sincerely,

    Laurali Star

  • This is so cute I could die!

    http://juliettelaura.blogspot.com

  • I have a nephew whose first birthday is coming up, brilliant. I love the fact that this is so easy to follow.

  • Love the fabric pattern. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I hope you have a beautiful day!!!

    xoxo, the bbb blogger

    http://thebippityboppitybeautifulblog.wordpress.com/

  • This is so cool! I totally want to make one and see if I can fit haha.

  • This is so cute! I love the idea, I just need a baby to go in it!

    XO, K
    KOKAY

  • You could also make a bite sized one for kiddo toys— kids would love one for their dolls 😉

  • How sweet! What a darling addition to a front porch! Love it!

    http://sometimesgracefully.com

  • this is so adorable!! love that fabric!
    xxoo,
    nikki

    www.dreaminneon.blogspot.com

  • Is there anything Rachel can’t make? Super impressed, this is adorable!

  • Nie złe, fajne może kiedyś takie zrobie – czemu nie !

    http://tina-y-wera.blogspot.com/

  • Oh this is sweet. It´s a pitty I am not a child anymore! I would love to have one like this 😀

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