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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66 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 Amanda

          Hi Henry!

          Do you have any idea about how much this twin swing can hold?

          September 12, 2019 at 3:20 am
          • Brooke

            Hi! I can’t get if you an exact number, but we’ve had at least 320 lbs on it, and no issues. Hope that helps.

            September 13, 2019 at 1:18 am
        • Reply Abby J Hartmann

          Hi, Henry. We are just wrapping up building a swing bed from your plans. We love it. As we look toward hanging it, we are worried about the weight. We are considering hanging it from four eye screes(in joists) in the ceiling. Is there any reason you wouldn’t recommend this?

          June 29, 2020 at 12:39 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 Justin cox

        What type of knot d ok you recommend using hanging the swing

        April 8, 2020 at 1:37 am
        • Reply Patricia Gail Bell

          Hi Henry.

          Can this be built with pressure treated wood? Do you think it would be to heavy? About how much did your crib swing weight?

          May 7, 2020 at 8:30 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
    • Reply Henry

      Hi Bill. So sorry for the delay. That would be six inches on each side. I think you should be ok. Actually, we have about the same situation with our swing. I had to go out a little wider. We haven’t had any problems with it.

      August 13, 2019 at 6:42 pm
  • Reply Michelle

    Hi Henry

    I cant wait to make the swing bed. Does it change in anyway if you use black walnut?

    August 11, 2019 at 2:24 am
    • Reply Henry

      Nope, black walnut should be just fine. Good luck!!

      August 13, 2019 at 6:43 pm
  • Reply Austin Milke

    Have you had any problems with the swing slipping at the job eye socket? Basically my swing has become a hammock.

    October 12, 2019 at 9:21 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hi Austin. No, we haven’t had any issues. The weight puts a bend in the rope making it stay put, or at least it should and has for us. Perhaps you could put some rope clamps on each side of the eye screws.

      October 15, 2019 at 1:46 am
    • Reply Dsnise

      I had the same issue, and added a knot after string throug the eye socket. also tried a twist and that worked as well

      May 24, 2020 at 6:43 pm
  • Reply Jeremiah

    Hey Henry and Brooke,
    I thought of adding a 10 ft 2 x 4 to the bottom front and back so I can drill holes for the rope to go through rather then using the eyes. Very similar to the design you used for the crib mattress swing. Besides the additional weight, can you foresee any issues with this?

    October 14, 2019 at 5:56 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hi Jeremiah,

      I don’t think there would be a problem doing that, but ten foot sounds a little long. I wouldn’t make them stick out much further than the ones on the crib mattress plan.

      October 15, 2019 at 1:44 am
  • Reply Robert Klingaman

    Beautiful job on these! I am building the crib mattress swing right now. We are having trouble finding a cover for the crib mattress that is not super expensive. Any suggestions?

    November 27, 2019 at 1:27 am
    • Reply Henry

      Hello Robert! So excited that your are going to build it. The one picture is the one we made for my sister. She did have her cover custom made. The only thing I could suggest is using a crib matterss fitted sheet. I haven’t came across anything else that works at this point.

      December 9, 2019 at 6:24 pm
      • Reply Molly McInnis

        I found a website that sells washable covers with zIppers for crib mattresses. It is actually to meant to make a crib mattress into a dog bed! mollymutt.com is the website. I ordered the navy and white cover and am waiting for it to arrive for my crib mattress swing!

        May 7, 2020 at 8:34 pm
  • Reply Nicole

    What do you use for the cushion covers? A crib sheet? 🙂

    December 7, 2019 at 1:40 am
    • Reply Henry

      Hi Nicole! My sister had her cover custom made which is little pricey. I would say a pretty thick crib sheet would work just fine. If I come across something else I will for sure let you know.

      December 9, 2019 at 6:25 pm
    • Reply Barry Tate

      I built your crib mattress style bed yesterday, and I must admit, doing that cross x wasn’t fun. Also when I did it, I worried about the glue holding up in the center of the x (assuming that’s all you did as they meet and don’t overlap)…

      But I had a question, as we are going to place this in our backyard. Do you happen to have any plans for an arbor that would hold this swing type?

      May 3, 2020 at 3:18 pm
  • Reply Megan

    Where did you find an outdoor cover to fit the mattress for the swing ?

    January 2, 2020 at 9:36 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hello Megan! It was actually custom made.

      January 6, 2020 at 1:41 am
  • Reply Alyssa

    How much weight can this hold?

    February 18, 2020 at 7:47 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      We’ve had 370 lbs on it at one time.

      April 17, 2020 at 2:03 am
  • Reply Tammy

    What color of stain was used on your swing?

    April 13, 2020 at 2:57 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      We used Minwax Polyshades Mission Oak.

      April 17, 2020 at 2:02 am
      • Reply Jennifer

        I bought the mission oak stain but it seems so much darker then what appears here.

        May 13, 2020 at 11:33 pm
  • Reply Kelly

    Hi! My husband and I don’t have a ceiling over our patio. Could a swing like this somehow be hung from the top of a pergola? Thanks!

    April 16, 2020 at 7:50 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hi Kelly. Yes, I’m sure it could, but you would want to make sure the swing is made of a weather resistant wood.

      April 17, 2020 at 2:04 am
  • Reply Gina

    How much distance did you leave between
    Your back wall and the back of the swing?

    April 20, 2020 at 3:45 pm
    • Reply Henry

      We had about 16 inches, but the more the better.

      April 26, 2020 at 2:36 pm
  • Reply Morgan

    I’m making my swing today and I’m super excited. I read where Henry liked the method of the crib mattress to hang instead of the eye screws. Would you recommend a 1×4 or 1×6 for the bottom of the twin mattress swing?

    April 26, 2020 at 11:01 am
    • Reply Henry

      That’s great! If you want to use the crip matress hanging method, I would probably use 2×4’s instead of the 2×3’s I used for the crib matress swing.

      April 26, 2020 at 2:41 pm
  • Reply Sharon Smith

    We have a twin size swing bed. We are concerned about the weight, our ceiling joists are 2×6. We want to hang it with 4 pieces of 3/4 inch rope.

    April 28, 2020 at 7:48 pm
    • Reply John-Paul Chehade

      I’m a structural engineer stumbling across your post! I just built it myself. Depends how long your ceiling joists are. Have your lag screws as close to the support (wall) as possible instead of right in the middle. 4 ropes instead of 2 will actually not make a difference to the 2×6. If you are concerned about the capacity of the screw as I was, since I was attaching to a cedar (weaker than framing lumber) pergola, then it has to be 4.

      May 29, 2020 at 5:04 am
  • Reply Greg

    How do you keep the ropes from stretching and swing from becoming lower to ground

    May 2, 2020 at 3:20 pm
  • Reply Anthony Paolillo

    Hello,

    Just finished the swing! Great plans, thx. One question, what type of knot did you tie for the rope?

    May 2, 2020 at 9:48 pm
  • Reply Lauren

    Hi Henry, we are having issues getting the eye screws in. Do you place washers on the other side of the eye screw? We love the porch swing and can’t wait to hang if.

    May 3, 2020 at 3:15 am
  • Reply Susan

    Have you ever hung a swinging bed outside in the yard? Do you have any ideas/plans for a frame/arbor that would be sturdy enough?

    May 3, 2020 at 7:23 pm
  • Reply Holly Matthews

    We are trying to hang our twin size swing and it is toppling backwards. We only used two eye screws and not sure where to put the other 2 if we added them. Any suggestions on how to hang this evenly?

    May 3, 2020 at 11:44 pm
    • Reply Becky Patterson

      I have the same issue – I put them eye screws in on each side 6 inches from each side (2 per side) and about 1.5 inches up from bottom. I used a chain instead of rope and just adjusted back chain up one notch. It still is very swingy though and still leans a good bit.

      June 24, 2020 at 8:25 am
  • Reply Jill Sampson

    Thank you so much for the great swing plans and instructions! I’m a beginner and was able to do this without too much difficulty. It’s beautiful and I love it!

    May 5, 2020 at 4:09 am
    • Reply Dsnise

      I had the same issue, and added a knot after string throug the eye socket. also tried a twist and that worked as well

      May 24, 2020 at 6:44 pm
  • Reply JC

    Is there a link to print the plan?

    May 16, 2020 at 7:47 pm
  • Reply Jose

    Can u give the sizes and inches u have so can correct measurements

    May 21, 2020 at 9:57 pm
  • Reply John-Paul Chehade

    Thanks for posting this! Built it without a hitch, great no frill instructions.

    May 28, 2020 at 9:27 pm
  • Reply Ricky

    Hi Henry
    Love the swing mate I’m going to make one for daughters birthday but need to make a frame because she don’t have a porch can you give me any advice on what height and angle need to support it. Any help would be greatly appreciated from a new born D I Y man from across the pond in old Blighty
    Rick

    June 6, 2020 at 4:06 pm
  • Reply Jeff

    Thank you for the swing instructions. A note to anyone using this technique to hang a porch swing with rope:

    CAUTION:
    Because the rope can slide freely through the eye screw if you put too much of your weight forwards or backwards on the swing it will flip over. I know because it just happened to me and I toppled to the floor! So you need to keep the rope from slipping through the eye hole. Perhaps tape tightly wound near the eye hole (on both sides of the eye hole) or some type of sleeve with a set screw again on both sides. This happened to me while swinging a little vigorously but not too much so. It will likely happen to someone else so just beware.

    June 10, 2020 at 7:23 pm
  • Reply Melinda Fountain

    Hello. I am most interested in the hanging technique. You mentioned locating the nail holes. If I can locate them in my tongue and groove ceiling, I just place the hardware very close to the nail holes and I’m safe? I have purchased chair swings, but want to secure them correctly. Is there another check I should make before screwing in the hardware?

    June 13, 2020 at 10:51 am
  • Reply Nik Kimzey

    HELP!
    I am going to make a twin mattress swing. The joint in the ceiling are only 4’ apart and the swing is (obviously) wider than that.
    2 questions:
    1. Can I hang it at 4’ across? This will taper the ropes in – but if that is what it comes to do you think it will be okay?
    2. (Hope I can describe this) can I mount a beam, maybe a 2×4, Into the existing ceiling joint and then mount the swing into that beam?

    June 15, 2020 at 3:08 pm
  • Reply Mark

    If we use four connecting points to the ceiling, how much less will the swing actually move and swing? How much clearance do you recommend behind the swing to the wall, with this install option?

    Also, what would be your recommended height to the top of the mattress pad on the swing?

    Has anyone used chain links instead of rope?

    June 22, 2020 at 11:48 am
  • Reply Tracey

    Love the swing bed. I’m thinking about making one but trying to decide where to put it. How much distance should there be between the wall and the swing?

    July 1, 2020 at 3:13 pm
  • Reply Anne

    We have a twin size bed swing coming. I know it will be heavy — like 500 pounds without people. I still really want a two point connection with lag eye bolts. We just had our porch built and the rafters where we could hang them (either 2 point or 4 point) we had doubled so they are double 2×8 rafters. IF I can do a 2 point connection, do you know what size lag eye bolt I should buy?

    July 9, 2020 at 9:34 pm
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