We’ve always wanted a porch swing for our 1900’s farmhouse home, but haven’t been able to decide where to place it. As we walk around our neighborhood and travel other places with lots of porches and swings, we have gotten some great ideas but they always seemed to either a bit too small or far too large to suit us and our porch. Was it time to DIY our own porch swing?
After our youngest moved out of her crib, we had her $250 organic mattress just sitting in our spare room collecting dust. One morning, while I was scanning Pinterest, I came across this post from Plank & Pillow on how to build our own swing using a crib mattress. The idea was perfect for our situation, so we decided to give it a shot on our own DIY Crib Mattress Porch Swing.
DIY Crib Mattress Porch Swing
This was our first attempt at making a DIY crib mattress porch swing, but it was surprisingly easy and very cost effective. Even if you are not super comfortable with building, I feel like you can still complete this project and feel great about it. We used the Plank & Pillow post to guide our project but we made some modifications to really make it our own. I’ve also made the instructions more detailed and user friendly for those of us that are new to DIY’s Here’s how we did our porch swing…
What you will need for your DIY Swing:
- 4pcs 1″x 4″x 8′ Clear Pine
- 6pcs 1″x 3″x 8′ Clear Pine
- 3pcs 1″x 2″x 8′ Clear Pine
- 4pcs 1″x 6″x 6′ Clear Pine
- 2pcs 2″x 3″x 8′ Frame Lumber
- Cordless Drill
- Finish Nailer
- Circular Saw
- Miter Saw
- Tape Measure
- Stud Finder
- Longer screw driver
- 2″ finish nails
- 1 1/4′ finish nails
- 3/4″ Drill Bit
- Wood Glue
- Wood Putty
- Light Stain
- Sand Paper
- 3/8″ eye screws
- 3/4″ rope – 2pcs double the height from porch floor to porch ceiling
- crib mattress
Step 1: Build the Porch Swing Frame
First you will want to build the frame using the 4pcs of 1″x4″. Cut the smaller pieces to 26 1/2″ and butt them to the insides of the longer pieces cut at 52″. Glue and use the 2″ finish nails to secure. Good time to recheck the fit of your crib mattress.
Step 2: Add the Swing Seat Supports
Here you will take 2pcs of 1″ x 2″ and cut them to 26 1/2″ then add them inside the ends of the frame 3/4″ from the top. This is so you can lay the seating lattes on top of them to sit flush. Then add another support beam to the middle of the frame by cutting a 1″ x 3″ to 26 1/2″. This beam will be flush to the bottom of the 1″ x 4″ and be 3/4″ from the top. Secure these with wood glue and 2″ finish nails.
Step 3: Laying the Swing Seat for the Mattress
Cut 4pcs of 1″ x 6″ at 50 1/2″ for the seat lattes. Lay the four pieces onto the supports and space them equidistance apart. Then glue and nail the lattes to the seat supports you built in step 2 using 2″ finish nails. The spacing lets you see the run of the supports to assist in nailing.
Step 4: Build the Porch Swing Posts
Cut 8pcs of 1″ x 3″ to 20″, this is for the posts of the swing. 2pcs of 1″ x 3″ will make up each post, a total of 4 posts. For each pair, take 1pc and add a bead of glue to the 1″ side of the board, then take another piece and line the 3″ side up with the glued edge of the other board. This should form an ‘L” shape. Once they are flush nail them together with 2″ finish nails and repeat for all four posts. (shown in photo below)
Step 5: Attach the Posts to the Swing Frame
Take your four finished posts and attach them to the frame using 1 1/4″ finish nails and wood glue. Be sure that the end of the posts are flush to the bottom of the frame and feel secure. (also shown in the photo below… I’ll get better at the photo opps next time)
Step 6: Adding the Top Rails to the Swing Posts
Using the 1″ x 3″s, cut 3pcs. 2pcs at 28″ and 1pc at 50 1/2″. First attach the 2pcs you cut at 28″ to the inside of the side posts at the top so that they are flush with the top of the posts, secure with glue and 1 1/4″ finish nails. Next take the 1pc cut at 50 1/2″ and attach it to the inside of the back 2 posts and inside the 2pcs of 1″ x 3″ you just added. Secure it in the same way and be sure all rails are flush to the top of the posts.
Step 7: Create the Swing Side Panel Crosses
Each cross is made from 3 pcs of 1″ x 3″ wood. The longer piece is attached first then the smaller 2pcs to create the cross. Cutting the angles for the 3 pcs was easier done by scribing them first and then using the miter or circular saw to cut. Depending on the accuracy of all of your previous cuts, this could vary the exact measurement. (trust me, nothing will be exactly square)
Just cut the piece long enough to fit inside the railings at a diagonal and then mark the angle with a pencil to make your cuts. This also helps when you are working on the shorter pieces to complete the cross. Once you have perfected your cuts, secure the outer angles and edges to the posts with a generous amount of wood glue and attach the corners with 1 1/4″ finish nails.
To attach the inside cut of the 2 shorter pieces you will need to be very precise with the nailer and hold at an angle.
Step 8: Adding the Back Rail of the Porch Swing
Take a 1″ x 4″ and cut it at 52″. Attach it to the middle of the swing in the back between the posts. Secure them from the back and/or sides with glue and attach with 1 1/4″ finish nails. Be generous with the glue and nails here, as this will bear some weight.
Step 9: Adding the Top Caps for the Top Rails
Cut 3pcs of 1″ x 3″, 2pcs at 29 1/2″ and another at 53 1/2″. Lay the longer back rail on first and then butt the smaller side pieces to the back rail. Make sure they all sit flush and cover the edges of the posts. (If you are feeling more skillful you can also use a miter saw and cut both sides of the 53 1/2″ piece and one end of each of the 29 1/2″ pcs at 45 degree angles for a cleaner look) DIY Porch Swing Masters Only.
Secure the caps to the top rails with a bead of wood glue and then attach them with 1 1/4″ finish nails.
Step 10: Add some Detail to the Porch Swing Base
Take the remaining 1″ x 2″ boards and cut 2 pieces at 23″ and then cut 2 pieces at 48 1/2″. Attach the 2 shorter pieces to the sides of the frame in between the posts and flush to the bottom of the whole frame. Attach the longer 2 pieces to the front and back of the frame and in between the posts, also flush to the bottom of the entire frame. Then you can add a piece of 1″ x 4″ to the back for trim and support.
Cut this piece at 18 1/2″ and place it vertical between the rail cap and the bottom trim. Use glue and the 1 1/4″ finish nails to secure all. (shown above) Feel free to get creative here and add whatever you feel makes your DIY crib mattress swing unique.
Step 11: Attaching and Prepping the Swing Hang Rails
Time to flip the swing over to attach the hanging rails to the frame. Take the 2″ x 3″ frame lumber and cut them both to 59 1/2″ so that there is a few inches overhang. Then with a heavy bead of glue and the 2″ finish nails attach the 2 rails to the front and back base of the swing frame. Once secured, I took the 3/4″ drill bit and drilled a hole through all 4 overhanging pieces for the rope to attach.
Now it is time to sand the entire swing and then stain it to your liking. We used Special Walnut and went light on the application for ours. Here’s another chance for you to make your crib swing yours and match your porch railings or porch decor.
Step 12: Set the Height of the Porch Swing
Now that you have sanded and stained the swing and have it ready for action, here’s how to hang it. Turn the swing back over and set it on 5 gallon paint buckets or some storage crates as we did so it’s a couple feet off of the ground. This will be just above the height of your final porch swing, so if you wish it to be a bit higher use something taller go for it. Just remember that the rope will stretch a bit from its original length once there is some weight on the swing.
Step 13: Locate Ceiling Joists
Now it’s time to locate the ceiling joists, which can be different in many homes and trickier with older builds. This is a great time for a stud finder if you do not have a wood ceiling. If you do have wood, try looking for the tongue and grove nail holes to help. Once you have located the joists, take a smaller drill bit and drill a pilot hole directly above and in the middle of the holes you drilled on the hanging rails of the swing.
Step 14: Screw in Eye Screws and Fish the Ropes
Screw the eye screws in by hand until tight, then use the long screw driver by placing it through the eye and twisting it with both hands for leverage. Once your eye screws are tight and secure, take your 2pcs of rope and fish them through the eyes and pull them through so the lengths are even. (Tip: taping the ends of your rope with painters tape or something less sticky helps with the fishing process)
Now you will fish the ends of the rope through the 2 holes on each side of the swing and tie a strong knot firmly to the base of the hang rails. Remove the storage crates and guess what…You did it!
Step 15: Admire Your DIY Crib Mattress Swing
Place the crib mattress in the frame, add some nice pillows, then step back and admire your handy work. You’ve made your DIY crib mattress porch swing… now sit down and take a load off!
I hope you enjoyed this post and I really hope that you are able to create your own porch swing from your leftover crib mattress. If you enjoyed the post and found it helpful, please leave a comment below.
If you used the post to create your own DIY porch swing, please share a photo of your finished work with me on Instagram. I would love to see it!
Here’s some other fun posts about our home HERE and some other DIY projects below.