Reuse an Old Mattress for a Hanging Bed in the Back Yard

Mitch Couch
by Mitch Couch
9 Materials
2 Days

My son had outgrown his twin size bed and was ready for a new one. I decided to build an outdoor swinging bed that the family could enjoy on a cool summer afternoon. Below I'll show you how I built it.

This is the final project. It holds the whole family and is really strong. Below are the steps I took to build it.

The whole project was built around this old mattress. A project like this allows you to increase the size of the bed if you have a full or queen size mattress you want to use.

I used 2x4's to build the frame exactly the same size at the mattress. Cutting was simple and I screwed the ends together using 3 inch wood screws I got from the local hardware store.

Here is a high speed video where I glued and stapled the bottom slats to the bottom of the frame. This is the support for the mattress. I used 1x2 pieces of lumber cut to size.

In this video I placed the frame up on saw horses so it was easier to work on. I used 4x4 lumber to use as the main support where the rope will be used (more on that later). I made a back rest out of more 2x4s and 1x2 slats. That gives the bed a better look.

Here is the final bed and frame before I take it outside. I used 1x4s on the bottom surround to hold the mattress in place. I rounded the corners and sanded down the frame before I stained it. Staining is very important if placing the project in the sun. A UV protectant stain is best for a project like this.

I found the perfect place in our side yard and used some bins (I know, very high tech) to get the perfect height above the ground. You can see the 4x4 supports that run the length of the frame. This is where the strength is. I drilled one inch holes in each end of the 4x4s in order to run the rope through. Now it is time to build the frame.

Here is used more 4x4s and 2x4s for the sides. I built two for each side. There was no need to bury the posts since we want it mobile in case the desire to relocate the bed was needed. Simple wood screws were used to put the boards together.

It's really starting to come together here. After I got the two sides build I lifted them up with help from the family and used a 2x4 to hold the pieces together. Again, some basic wood screws are all that was needed.

The last part was finishing off the top and running the rope. I can feel the excitement here as it is all coming together. Running the rope through was pretty simple and all I had to do was put in a simple knot at the top and bottom to hold the frame in place. I also ran some 1x3's along the top for a patio look. After this was all built I stained the final pieces of wood and removed the bins.

Here is a picture showing the simple knot I used. The rope was a 3/4 inch stranded rope. Plenty strong enough for the bed and three people.

Here is the final project again. We covered the mattress with a bed sheet and some pillows. The first night we had it done I set up a projector and screen to watch movies outside.

Well...I said movie but we watched an old episode of Cheers. Can't really see us all laying on the bed but the family loved it. I know this project might seem a bit out of most people's experience but I know you can do it. Anytime you can get the family together it is well worth the time and effort. Happy spring afternoons to everyone.

Here is a quick one minute video I did and put on my YouTube channel. It was so fun to make.

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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 10 questions
  • Ellen Beener Ellen Beener on Jul 17, 2021

    What if it rains ? do you take it in every time?

    Here in Florida it would be full of mold in no time.

  • Sandra Harvey Sandra Harvey on Jul 17, 2021

    How did you weather proof the mattress to protect it from moisture which causes mold and other dangerous health issues ?

  • Goldbeargirl Goldbeargirl on Jul 18, 2021

    I love it! VERY nice job!! All these ridiculous questions about when it rains tho lol! Did none of y'all ever have kids who wet the bed?? Well, what did you do?? Exactly! You bought a waterproof mattress cover. Same thing applies ain't rocket science 🤣

Join the conversation
2 of 32 comments
  • Pauline Pauline on Apr 30, 2023

    What an awesome daddy you are! You rock!!!! What fun ❤️❤️❤️❤️ I can see the kids inviting their friends over for movie nights and the whole neighbourhood being jealous! 😂

  • Linda Ross Linda Ross on May 06, 2023

    Great idea but not feasible in my area, even with mattress protection. We get too much rain. Only way I would do anything close to this would be with a crib mattress.