Building this easy DIY porch swing bench was a perfect weekend DIY project.
When we built our home there was this little alcove on our front porch. Originally there was supposed to be a window here. During construction we ran into some problems with the window so it was removed. It became the perfect place for a bench swing.
Finding or making cushions for benches can be difficult. I decided to go with a porch swing bench that would fit a crib mattress.
DIY Porch Swing Plans
- After some research I found Plank and Pillow step-by-step instructions. They are what I used. However I changed up a few things. Details below
- I found some other free plans that will also fit a crib mattress. View here
- Free porch swing plan without a cushion - DIY Farmhouse Porch swing
- See how I decided to hang my beautiful porch swing below.
Tools Needed for the Wooden Porch Swing Bench
- 1x2's , 1x3's 1x4's and 1x6's (plank and pillow list all wood supplies in their plans)
- 2" Jute Rope
- 4 U brackets
- 2 ring hangers and 4" screws (found at Lowe's)
- Crib Mattress and Sheet
- Aged Oak gel stain
- 150 grit sandpaper
- Clear lacquer top coat
- Wood Glue
- Stainable wood putty
- Tape measure
- ½" drill bit
- Circular saw
- Brad nails aka finish nails
How to Build the Perfect Wooden Porch
Step 1 - Gather Supplies
When I went to Home Depot to pick out wood I felt select pine was the best wood for the project. It is a little more expensive than common board. However, it is much straighter and stronger than common board but not as expensive as oak.
I really wanted oak to match my front door. Instead I will use aged oak stain to make the outdoor swing match my front door.
Step 2 - Begin to Assemble
Cut all pieces down to size and begin to assemble. I started with the seat frame and then added the seat supports. To put the bench together I am using finish nails, finish wood screws (deck screws also work) and wood glue. Finish screw heads are smaller than a normal screw. This makes them easier to sink into the wood.
Pocket holes are also a great option to put everything together. The second plan listed above shows how to use pocket holes. Next, I added the side rails this is the arm rest. I love the X detail's, it fits in perfect with the cottage style of my home.
Now on to the back of the swing. I added the long back slats and then a middle support for added strength to the back supports. To finish everything off I added wood on top of the frame.
Step 3 - Get the Swing Bench Ready to Stain
Once built go back and use stainable wood putty to fill any nail or screw hole. If you go the pocket hole route you do not fill pocket holes. Make sure all of the pocket holes are on the back of the swing.
Step 4 - Sanding the Simple Swing
3-Sand the bench down with 150 grit sandpaper and then follow up with 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out any scratches on the wood porch swing.
Step 5 - Stain your Porch Swing Bench
I used Minwax Aged Walnut gel stain to stain. Gel stain is a little harder to use than a penetrating stain. I had to use a gel stain on my front door since it is fiberglass (view my door here)
When working with a gel stain it is similar to paint. Don't leave and globs or drips and be careful to not apply it too thick. Gel stain does dry quickly so make sure to work fast and in small areas.
Step 6 - Sealing the Bench
I can't stress how important it is to seal outdoor furniture. A great option is a spray on spar-urethane. I like to use a top coat in a spray can because it goes on much smoother and more even. Make sure to apply at least 4 coats. It is a great idea to reseal your bench every few years.
How to Hang a DIY Porch Bench Swing
I decided to complicate hanging a porch swing. This isn't anything new, just ask my husband. I wanted to use a 2" thick jute rope. But it complicated finding a way to attach the rope to the bench swing and ceiling.
I love the look of the thick rope it was worth the 50 trips to Home Depot to figure out how to hang it.
The best solution are these U bolts. I used my drill bit to drill through each corner of the bench. I then pushed the U bolt through and used nuts and bolts on the other side to hold them on.
Attaching to the ceiling
Next find the trusses in your ceiling. You have to attach your bench to the trusses or it won't be strong enough when people sit on it.
We went back and forth on what to use to hang our simple porch swing Ultimately we went with this 2" ring. To attach it to the ceiling we used 4 2 ½" screws.
My husband was a little skeptical on how strong this is. I am happy to say after 2 years this bench is still going strong.
If you have smaller rope you can use eye bolts or they can be called eye screws.
Adding the 2" Jute Rope
Thread the jute rope through the U brackets and tighten the nut and bolts. This will hold the rope in place for now.
Next thread the rope up through the ring.
Then bring the rope back down again through the U bolt. Pull the rope tight and tighten the U brackets as tight as they can go.
Repeat this on the next side. Pull out the level and make sure to level the bench as you thread the rope through.
Tip: Jute rope can stretch out a bit. My husband and I tightened the U bolts as tight as possible and then sat on the bench. The rope did give a little.
We loosened the U bolts a little and made the bench swing a bit higher. Once it was where we wanted it we tightened the U bolts back up.
To finish off the rope I tied a knot just under the U bolt. To make sure the knot didn't loosen I zip tied my knots. We officially have a swinging bench!
Crib Mattress for the Swing Bench Seat
When looking for a mattress make sure it is waterproof. This is going to be outside all the time so don't worry about getting the nicest mattress there is.
I ran over to Target and found their cheapest waterproof mattress.
To cover the mattress I order crib sheets. They do fade in the sun, I am on my second one. However on Amazon they are only $14 for 2. So it is pretty cheap to replace them.
Decorating a Porch Swing
Let's finish off the porch swing with some decorations.
To define this space I used an outdoor rug. A rug also helps to add warmth and texture.