Porch Swing Takes a New Life as a Hammock...

3 Materials
3 Hours

Ah such great talks and sweet memories created on these old porch swings. Even our most beloved treasures, however, eventually outlive their usefulness. So we moved the swing onto a wooded area. And rarely sat in it for twenty years.

When my daughter Cindy was visiting, we brainstormed about how to upgrade the old swing for casual living. The simplest idea turned out to be the best. After just a few hours I was enjoying my first nap in the woods. Here's how:

Disassemble the old porch swing: seat and A brace

It was time to disassemble this creaky old swing and figure out what to do with it. I had purchased a high-end chair-type hammock a few years ago and let it dangle mid-frame for a while. No one used it. It was not as fun or comfortable as it looked.

I knew I needed something with more support, constructed more like a sling in a director's chair, yet with cushy expanding comfort.

We concluded that the brace of the A ought to support some outdoor upholstery material and be just about the right distance from the ground if done right.

OK... Let's give it a shot!

Measure outdoor upholstery material: 3 yards was plenty

We took off the braces and laid out the fabric.

Pin a hem to fit over the wooden braces

Cindy pinned the hems with safety pins so we could test it in place a couple times. We decided to make it as tight as possible to provide extra support.

Stain and tighten the old frame

The frame was in incredible shape considering its age. I stained it with a semi-transparent grey to blend into the pine bark and tightened up the bolts. Good as new!

Sew hem both sides, double stitch (zigzag and straight)

Cindy used heavy duty upholstery thread two rows of stitches per hem. We decided to leave the fray for casual charm.

TIP: Cellophane over old wood slips easily in and out of hem

Old wood can snarl and pull the fabric. Rather than sand it, Cindy thought to wrap cellophane over it. Great idea! It also made the gathering easier.

Reattach to frame

Simple to reattach the bolts.

Test it out

Just right!

AH! Perfect!

Here's Cindy reclining in comfort. Right after this pic was snapped, she sewed four pillow envelopes, in about an hour, with the leftover fabric. We can use extra pillows to tie this fresh color into furniture on the decks as well...

Meanwhile, I quickly fell asleep on this hammock enjoying the wind through the pines in full comfort.

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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Diane Molkentine
    Diane Molkentine
    on Jul 11, 2020

    How do you keep it clean; free of sap, needles, bugs etc..?

    • Adele DuranGO
      Adele DuranGO
      on Jul 13, 2020

      Thanks. SW Colorado, near Durango in 4-Corners area (AZ, CO, UT, NM)

  • Ellis
    on Jul 13, 2020

    I love this project. One question: How do you keep birds from perching on the top rail and leaving their calling card on your hammock?

    • Adele DuranGO
      Adele DuranGO
      on Jul 13, 2020

      Birds prefer a narrower perch, not one the width of a log as this one is. And they tend to perch where there is food below. There are plenty better spots for them, so that's where they go. So far, no calling cards.

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