Build your Own Porch Swing!

Build your own porch swing (click through for more before and after pics Remember on Wednesday when I had you imagine that you were swinging on your porch, having the time of your life? Some of you might have been saying to yourself, “Man, I wish I had a porch swing right about now.” Well, I knew you were going to say that!  I’m going to show you how to make your very own porch swing right now.

Supplies:
-four 2x4s
-3/4 hardwood plywood (a 4′ x 4′ project panel will be enough)
-5/8″ wood screws
-twenty-six 1 1/2″ U brackets
-chain or rope (I used rope. make sure the weight rating is substantial. The one I chose is rated for over 600 lbs.)
-two heavy duty screw hooks
-two 1/4″ welded rings

 Tools:
-circular saw
-jigsaw
-miter saw
-table saw
-pocket hole jig
-drill
-measuring tape
-circle compass
-rulerAbeautifulmess_porchswing_diagram-(click-to-learn-more)Build your own porch swing plans (click through for more before and after picsAfter much planning and mathematics, I came up with a plan that I think will be easy for you to follow. Let’s get started!

Step One: Rip the 2x4s into 1 1/2″ by 1 1/2″. I ripped them in a way that kept the curved edges of the 2x4s on both pieces. After you’re done rippin’, you can go ahead and cut 4′ lengths. You’re going to need 13 total.

Build your own porch swing measuring out armrest (click through for more before and after picsBuild your own porch swing measuring out armrest (click through for more before and after picsBuild your own porch swing measuring out armrest (click through for more before and after picsBuild your own porch swing measuring out armrest (click through for more before and after picsStep Two: Take your time on this step. Measure and plot out your cut marks as accurately as possible (follow the diagram shown above.) You may choose to cut the whole thing with your jigsaw. I used the circular saw to get straighter lines. Once you have the pieces cut, sand, then mark on the side pieces where you are going to attach the U brackets (refer to figure 2).

Build your own porch swing armrest assembly (click through for more before and after picsBuild your own porch swing armrest assembly (click through for more before and after picsBuild your own porch swing (click through for more before and after pics Step Three: Attach all brackets in nice straight rows. And this point, you can drill holes for the rope, drill pocket holes, and cut notches in the armrest pieces.

Build your own porch swing armrest assembly (click through for more before and after picsBuild your own porch swing armrest assembly (click through for more before and after picsBuild your own porch swing armrest assembly (click through for more before and after picsStep Four: Attach wood slats. I inserted all of the pieces before screwing them into the U brackets. They fit pretty snugly, so I screwed a piece of scrap wood on one end of my work bench so I could hammer the other end of the swing.

Build your own porch swing armrest assembly (click through for more before and after picsBuild your own porch swing armrest assembly (click through for more before and after pics)That ol’ box was the perfect size to put the bench on to sand and paint; you can borrow it if you want 😉

Build your own porch swing armrest assembly (click through for more before and after pics)Build your own porch swing armrest assembly (click through for more before and after pics)Build your own porch swing armrest assembly (click through for more before and after pics)
Build your own porch swing armrest assembly (click through for more before and after pics)Build your own porch swing - hook assembly (click through for more before and after pics 6U8A2010Build your own porch swing (click through for more before and after pics Step Five: This is probably the most crucial/important/safety counts, of all the steps. After you decide where you want to place your swing you just made with your bare hands, find a sturdy stud to screw your hooks into. Pre-drill holes with a bit that is a few sizes smaller than the screw you’ll be using. The box came in handy again, because it was basically the exact height that I wanted the swing to be (you seriously need to get yourself a good box for this project). I set a roll of tape in the front, so the swing sat at an angle for maximum sitting comfort. Cut enough rope so that you have enough to tie two huge knots and it can reach the hook. For me, it was about 10 feet for each side. I didn’t use any fancy sailor knots, just your run-of-the-mill square knot (the one you make when tying your shoes) and tied as many as the length allowed. There were probably around five knots per end.

Here’s the sequence I used:

  1. Tied knots to back of the swing (I taped the ends of the cut rope to keep it from unraveling).
  2. Put metal ring on hook (I did this so the the ring was the one grinding against the hook and not the rope.)
  3. Tied length of rope from back to ring (keeping rope at taut as possible).
  4. Took remaining length of rope and tied to front of swing, keeping it taut as possible. 
  5. I initially used zip ties to to keep ends of rope secured, but moved to an outdoor tape.

There you have it, one comfy porch swing to swing your nights away. It felt great (and a bit scary) when I sat on the swing for the first time. After two of us sat on it, I knew it was good to go. I hope you give this a try. It really only takes about a day to make, so if you start tomorrow morning you could be swinging by tomorrow evening! 

Build your own porch swing (click through for more before and after pics Build your own porch swing (click through for more before and after pics Build your own porch swing (click through for more before and after pics Happppppy building! –Josh

Credits // Author: Joshua Rhodes. Photography: Joshua Rhodes and Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with Piper from The Signature Collection.

  • Josh you have been killing it lately with all of these big projects. I really enjoy the variety it’s added to the awesome DIY/home decor posts you guys already had going on. I feel like I need to step my game up and buy myself some big girl tools to keep up!

  • Some advice from an old porch swinger: add a set of porch swing springs for a truly comfortably ride.

  • I’m curious… Do you have a guess as to how much this lil lady cost you to make? Minus labor and all that jibberjabber, of course.

  • I love swings…and to have them right ton my porch, its my dream! You have done a fab job here..love the structure and design.

    xo

    agoldentulip.blogspot.com

  • I, too, love a good porch swing. Wonderful design. Looks comfortable. Just need to add a cup holder.

  • This is so wonderful! I have fond memories of swinging and swinging on my grandparent’s porch swing while I was growing up.

  • Love this!

    Quick question; why not get a sturdy (secondhand) wood garden bench and take the leggs off? This would maybe be a bit less daunting for the people (me!) who aren’t very DIY-confident.. Could it be done?

  • Step One: Rip the 2x4s into 1 1/2″ by 1 1/2″. I ripped them in a way that kept the curved edges of the 2x4s on both .

    Hello
    Can you please explain what ” rip” means and how to do it?
    Thank you!
    Anna
    Calgary , Alberta
    Canada

  • I love this! I love all of your projects. Don’t know if it would be too much of a hassle, but it would be cool to do a price breakdown on these types of posts. I’m always curious to see if it would be less expensive to DIY.

  • Good question Katie. I was able to look up into the porch overhang and judge whether or not the joist would support the weight. If you doubt that you can tell for yourself, ask a carpenter. I know that’s easier said than done!

    -Josh

  • Hey Anna, great question! What I mean by ripping wood, is a long cut along the grain of a piece of lumber. I usually use a table saw for ripping.
    -Josh

  • Did you build the railing surrounding your porch, or was that purchased. Just realizing that I love that too!

  • This looks like a nice swing. I have some questions/comments please. There seems to be a bit of information lacking for a beginner/novice like myself . I get feeling rather panicky when I get somewhere and don’t know the answers to such questions as the ones that follow. How long are the 2x4s to buy and what type of wood do you recommend or NOT recommend? How many 5/8″ wood screws are needed (4×26 plus 8 for the arms?), what size (#6, #8, #10), and are they flat-head screws? I would imagine that brass wood screws are NOT to be used. There seems to be a whole wall of screws at the store. For the plywood, if 4’x4′ is all that is needed, you could change that to a half-sheet of plywood. I think most home stores such a Home Depot and Lowes sell whole-, half-, and quarter-sheets of plywood. Also, do you recommend what grade of plywood and type of wood to use? On the arms, the piece-layout photo shows a notch cut in each. What are the size and placement of the notches. You don’t give the layout of the pocket holes. I guess a bit of math could resolve that, but not everyone is good at math. Also, there are no instructions for the placement of the holes for the rope/chain. Won’t sanding need to be done on the ripped 2x4s and at least the edges of the cuts on the plywood? I apologize for so many questions. I don’t want to get to the store and have to guess. Too many options and I am easily confounded. Thank you!

  • Just FYI, on your diagram where the bottom of the bench is marked 6” is clearly wrong according to the finished project. I don’t know what you actually did, looks more like 12. Had to do the whole thing over again 🙁 I know this is a very old post but hey. Just so people know.

      • Thanks for your reply Jacki Moseley but The link to the U brackets show a Bracket that is $5/piece X 26 pieces which puts the project way over in price…brackets alone would be $130 and not the same thickness or holes per bracket as shown. Brackets in picture look like aluminum with 2 holes per side….any help would be appreciated in locating a site that sells brackets used. Thanks.

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