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.

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