DIY

How to Hang a Porch Swing

Planter

Since I’ve written three articles on how to build a porch swing, I thought it was about time that I showed you how to hang one.

I recently built a crib mattress size swing for my sister-in-law, and my brother-in-law and I hung it on their front porch. I used it as an opportunity to document the process.

Tools and Materials:

  • 3/4″ Rope – Two pieces each over double the height of the porch ceiling
  • Drill with 1/4″ drill bit
  • 3/8″ Eye Screws
  • long screw driver
  • 2 five gallon buckets or something similar in height

Here are the steps we used for hanging a porch swing:

Step 1: Determine How Many Screw Eyes are Needed

Eye Screws are what you’ll use to hang the ropes from the joists. For larger swings, like the swing beds that I’ve made, I recommend using four eye screws to support the added weight. But for a smaller swing like the one we hung at my sister-in-laws house, two is all you need.

Step 2: Locate the Ceiling Joists

When hanging a porch swing, it is extremely important that it’s hung from the ceiling joists of the porch. The weight of the swing plus the people sitting on it requires something strong for support.

But locating the ceiling joists can be a challenge, especially if you have a material on your porch ceiling that makes it impossible to use a stud finder. Wood is one of these materials.

Every porch that I’ve hung a swing on has had tongue and groove wood ceilings, which has usually made this step the most challenging. But I’ve found that the easiest way to locate the ceiling joists with these types of ceilings is to look for nail holes in the t&g planks. This indicates where the planks are nailed to the joists.

Step 3: Determine the Placement

Once you figure out where on the porch you want your swing, you then need to determine exactly where the eye screws need to be placed on the ceiling. For a larger swing bed, you should use four screw eyes each placed directly above the corresponding holes on the swing.

Measure between the holes as show below and then mirror those measurements on your ceiling. On our own porch, we had to avoid the ceiling fans. So I placed the eye screws much closer to each other.

Since the crib mattress swing only required two eye screws, we placed them in the middle of the front and back holes.

You should also try to keep your swing at least 24 inches aways from any walls to avoid hitting the walls.

Step 4: Attach the Screw Eyes

Once you have your locations for the eye screws, drill pilot holes for each one.

Next, start screwing the eye screw in by hand. You’ll reach a point when it becomes too difficult to turn with your hands. Take a long screw driver and put it through the eye and turn. This will give you extra leverage.

Step 5: Hang the Rope

Once you have both eye screws in place, fish the rope through each one so that each end is hanging close to even.

Step 6: Attach Rope to the Swing

Find something to sit your swing on that will hold it a couple of feet above the floor. I like to use 5 gallon buckets. This puts it a little higher than it needs to be, but once you use the swing for a while, the ropes will stretch and your swing will be at the perfect height.

Next, fish one end of the rope through one of the holes on the swing, and tie a knot underneath.

Repeat this step for the other hole on the same side, and make sure the knots are snug against the bottom of the swing. Then do the same to the other side.

And that’s it, you’re all done!

Now you can place the cushion and pillows on the swing and enjoy!

Planter

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14 Comments

  • Reply Paula

    Love this! Can you share the size and kind of rope that you used?

    May 19, 2019 at 5:21 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Hi Paula. Thanks! It is 3/4″ rope. I guess I should have mentioned that in the article. 🙂

      May 19, 2019 at 6:42 pm
  • Reply Kathleen

    Hi Henry – I’m about to make a crib bed swing but with the porch swing plans (I like the higher back and simple side slats). Now that you’ve made swings with 2 different types of hanging mechanisms at the bottom (wood and eye screws) does one way work better than the other? Thank you for inspiring me with these awesome plans!

    May 20, 2019 at 3:38 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Hey Kathleen. To be honest, I really like the method I used on the crib mattress swing better. The screw eyes have a tendency to bend just a little bit. Good luck with your swing!!

      May 20, 2019 at 4:45 pm
  • Reply Betty

    Hi,
    What size pillows are on the swing please.

    May 30, 2019 at 9:13 pm
    • Reply Henry

      I’ll check with my sister-in-law and let you know.

      June 1, 2019 at 3:01 pm
      • Reply Betty

        Thank you

        June 6, 2019 at 9:05 pm
  • Reply Luke

    The swing looks amazing! Is this the same stain and polly process as the bigger swing? Also, did you sand in between coats and if so how’d you keep the sanding marks out of the finish? Thanks!

    June 15, 2019 at 2:04 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Thanks Luke! Yes, it’s the same process. I actually only sanded once before putting on the stain. I used a very fine sandpaper which didn’t leave any marks. But if you find that there is still some roughness after applying a coat of stain, you could always go over it again with some fine sandpaper.

      June 17, 2019 at 2:17 pm
  • Reply Laura

    Hey Henry. My husband and I constructed the swing bed today, altering it to be smaller according to the cushions we’ve got. Length is the same but it’s not as deep. Also, we didn’t see any 1x3s at the store, so did it all with 1x4s. 🙂 It is heavy, of course! We will be using 4 eye screws attached to joists of an outdoor pergola. No problem about the weight on the pergola as it’s super strong, but just wanting to ensure that we are hanging it safely and without risk of it being too heavy. We saw in the plans for the swing bed that you placed them close together (because of fans?) and we’d like to do that too, since we want it to have a nice swing to it. My question is: is it weaker if the screws are really close together? I understand how having them further apart would offer more strength, but I worry that if we have them too close together, with the weight of people, it will be too weak to hold us and the swing…

    June 17, 2019 at 3:26 am
    • Reply Henry

      Hey Laura! Good job on improvising. I’m sure it looks great! I would recommend putting the eye screws far apart instead of close. I wish I could have done ours that way. This will distribute the weight better, and it should still be able to swing just fine. Hope that helps.

      June 17, 2019 at 2:21 pm
  • Reply Will McLean

    Made and hung the crib mattress swing. I am having an issue with it not staying level front to back because the rope slides back and forth through the ceiling eye bolt. Have you run into this problem?

    June 19, 2019 at 3:52 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Hi Will. Congrats on making the swing! Once the swing has some weight in it for a while, the ropes will form a dent where it goes though the eye screws which should prevent it from sliding. If you find that it is still slipping, you place a wire rope clamp on the ropes on each side of the eye screw. Hope that helps!

      June 20, 2019 at 9:32 pm
  • Reply Bill

    Henry I have the opposite problem as far as spacing. My swing is 60 inches wide but my braces are 72 inches apart. Is it okay to have them this far apart?

    June 21, 2019 at 3:35 pm
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