Once you've built this budget-friendly DIY swing chair, you'll never want to go back indoors. Make one this weekend with our how-to guide.

August 08, 2017
wooden swing, swing, rope

Summertime and the living is easy—especially when you're relaxing in this hanging swing chair. Make one this weekend for less than $100 with hardware store staples and basic carpentry skills. If you don't own some of the larger tools, consider renting them from a hardware store or borrowing from a friend.

Once your creation is complete, hang it from a healthy tree branch that is at least 8 inches in diameter. And to reduce the risk of accidents, hang the swing 3 feet or more from the tree's trunk.

What You Need

  • 2x4 studs (5)
  • Miter saw
  • Circular saw
  • Drill/driver
  • No. 10 countersink drill bit
  • Exterior-rated wood glue
  • No. 10x3-inch exterior-rated wood screws
  • 36-inch (or longer) bar clamp
  • 3/8-inch drill bit
  • Wood filler
  • Random orbit sander with 120-grit sandpaper
  • Exterior primer and paint
  • 3/8×5-inch eyebolts (4)
  • 3/8-inch cut washers (8)
  • 3/8-inch lock washers (4)
  • 3/8-inch nylon lock nuts (4)
  • 3/4-inch-diameter sisal rope (40 feet minimum—your total length will depend on where you hang your swing)
  • 3/4-inch cable clamps (4)

Step 1: Cut Slats and Rails

Cut the 2x4s to the following lengths. You'll need 9 pieces of type A, and 2 pieces each of types B, C, and D.

  • (A) Seat and back slats, 30 inches long x 3-1/2 inches wide
  • (B) Back rails, 30-1/16 inches long x 3-1/2 inches wide
  • (C) Seat rails, 24 inches long x 3-1/2 inches wide
  • (D) Seat braces, 17 inches long x 3-1/2 inches wide

Step 2: Create Side Assemblies

Place one of the back rails (B) and one of the seat rails (C) facedown on a flat work surface. Butt the angled end of the seat rail against the long edge of the back rail, making sure that the seat rail is flush with the end of the back rail. Using a No. 10 countersink bit, drill a countersunk pilot hole into the bottom of the seat rail, making sure to angle the hole toward the back rail. Apply exterior-grade wood glue to the boards where they butt together; press the boards together and drive a No. 10x3-inch exterior-grade wood screw into the countersunk hole and the back rail. Repeat this step for the other side so that you have two identical side assemblies.

Step 3: Cut Seat Braces

Cut the two 2x4 seat braces (D) to 17 inches. Miter one end of each at 45 degrees. Place one brace so its 45-degree end is against the upper edge of the seat rail (C) and the top point of the unmitered end overlaps the back rail (B). Scribe a line on the uncut end, using the back rail where the overlap occurs as a guide; cut the brace along the line you drew. Use that brace as a template for cutting the second one.

Step 4: Attach Seat and Sides

Check the fit of each brace (D) into the side assemblies. Position them so they're flush against the seat rails (C) and back rails (B), drill a 1/4-inch countersink hole at each mating face of the braces and rails, apply wood glue to the ends of the braces, and drive No. 10x3-inch screws through the braces and into the rails.

Step 5: Fasten Slats

Align the side assemblies so they are upright and parallel. Apply wood glue to the ends of one of the slats (A) and position it on edge between the front of the seat rails, flush with the rails on all three sides. Use a long clamp to hold the slat in place between the rails; drill countersunk pilot holes into the rails, and fasten the slat in place using No. 10x3-inch screws. Attach the topmost slat for the back in a similar fashion, making sure it is flush with the top ends of the back rails.

Step 6: Attach Seat Slats

Attach four seat slats (A) to the swing assembly. Use 2x4 scraps placed on edge as spacers for the slats (resulting in a 1-1/2-inch gap). Place the spacers against the inside edge of the front slat that you installed in the previous step, then position a slat against the spacers so its wide face is up and flush to the top of the rails. Drill countersunk pilot holes through the rails and into the slat; glue and screw the slat in place. Continue that process until you have all four slats in place.

Step 7: Attach Back Slats

Attach three back slats (A) in a similar fashion as you did for the seat. Use 2x4 scraps as spacers, but turn the spacers so you're using their wide face to set the spacing (resulting in a 3-1/2-inch gap between slats). Clamp each slat in place one at a time, drill two countersunk pilot holes for each slat end, and then glue and screw them in place.

Step 8: Predrill Holes

Drill four 3/8-inch-diameter holes for the 3/8x5-inch eyebolts through the sides of the back rails (B) and seat rails (C). Drill the back rail holes centered and 6 inches down from the top of the rails. Drill the seat rail holes 2-1/2 inches in from the rail ends and slightly off center to avoid the seat slats.

Step 9: Sand, Prime, and Paint

Swing Chair

Fill any screw holes with wood filler, and then sand the entire assembly using an orbital sander outfitted with 120-grit sandpaper. Prime and paint the swing with an exterior paint of your choosing.

Step 10: Install Bolts and Hang

Swing Chair rope

To hang the swing, install the four eyebolts. Slide a washer onto each eyebolt, insert the bolts through the holes you drilled in Step 8, and then add a second washer, a lock washer, and a nylon lock nut, tightening the nut until secure. Insert one end of 3/4-inch diameter sisal rope through the top eyebolt on one side. Form a loop with the rope, and then secure the rope with a 3/4-inch cable clamp. Loop the other end of the rope through the lower eyebolt on the same side and secure it with another cable clamp. Repeat on the opposite side; tie loops in each rope and secure your swing to a tree branch.


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