DIY

How to Make an Easy DIY Porch Swing Bed

I’m Zoe.
My mission is to teach you to  confidently build magazine-worthy DIYs. I used to be terrified of power tools, which is why I'm a firm believer that ANYONE can DIY.
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Let’s make a DIY porch swing bed that’s designed to fit a crib mattress! The plans can easily be modified to fit a twin mattress if your porch has room for a full-sized bed swing. 

DIY porch swing bed text overlay on image of dalmatian puppy sitting on gray porch swing with a crib mattress

Porch swing beds are great not only for relaxing but also for working. In fact, I’m swaying in my comfy new porch swing as I write this post. 

There’s just something about sitting outside in the fresh out that gives me all the inspiration. And given that my office looks out over the front porch, it was about time that I officially expand my office to enjoy some outdoor working time. 

For more outdoor workspace inspiration, be sure to check out Cabot’s 2022 Outdoor Trend of the Year page! They have some great inspiration to help you create the outdoor workspace of your dreams. My dream workspace? A porch swing bed of course! Seriously, it’s so comfy!

Alright, let’s start DIYing! 

Recommended Tools: 

  • Miter Saw 
  • 16 Gauge Finish Nailer 
  • Drill 
  • Kreg Jig 

What You’ll Need: 

How to Build a Porch Swing Bed with a Crib Mattress 

STEP 1: MAKE YOUR CUTS

Make your cuts according to the cut list below. 

For What?Board SizeQuantitySize (inches)
Bottom Stretchers2×6252.25
Side Slats2×6628.5
Back Support – Middle2×6120
Back Supports2×4220
Bottom Supports2×4326.25
Top Frame – Back 2×4159.25
Top Frame – Sides2×4229
Legs2x4s420
Bottom Runners2x4s264.25
Bottom Slats1×6452.25
Back Slats1×6252.25

Overall dimensions: 59.25”W x 32.5”D x 23”H

*double-check your measurements of your crib mattress before beginning. Though they are generally a standard size, some might be slightly larger than the one we used. We designed this porch swing to be a tight fit so that the mattress wouldn’t fall off. 

Prefer printable plans? Get your printable porch swing plans HERE.

marking where to cut wood using Cabot pencil

STEP 2: ADD POCKET HOLES 

Using the 1.5” settings, add pocket holes to the following boards.

  • (3) on both ends of the side slats 
  • (3) on one end of the 20” 2×6 back support
  • (2) on one end of the 20” 2×4 back supports, plus (3) pocket holes along one of the 20” edges of the boards
  • (2) on both ends of the bottom supports 
drilling pocket holes into 2x6 using Kreg 720

STEP 3: SAND 

It’s easiest to knock out the majority of your sanding right off the bat. Trust me, I know you’re eager to jump in and start building but don’t skip this step. You’ll get a much nicer finish if you knock out the majority of your sanding first. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to get into all the cracks! 

I sanded everything with 100 grit sandpaper and then again with 150 grit.

sanding wood using DeWalt sander

STEP 4: ASSEMBLE THE SIDES 

To assemble a side, grab 2 legs and 3 side slats. Line the first slat up with the bottom inside of the legs and attach using glue and 2.5” Kreg screws. Repeat with the next two slats. The top slat will be lined up with the top inside of the legs. The middle slat will be spaced 1.75” below and above the top and bottom slat.

clamping behind boards to keep them from slipping back when drilling

Tip: line your slats up with the inside of the leg and then place two clamps right behind them. This will prevent your slat from slipping backward while you drill. 

STEP 5: ATTACH BACK SUPPORTS TO SIDES 

Grab your 2×4 back supports and attach them to the back legs using glue and 2.5” Kreg screws. They should be attached on the side that the 2×6 slats are flush with. 

screwing 2x4s to DIY porch swing sides using pocket holes
Note: we originally planned to use pocket holes on both the top and bottom of the back support, which is why our board has more. Only the pocket holes facing the top of the swing will be used.

The pocket holes should be facing towards the front of the swing. We’ll cover them up at the end.

STEP 6: ASSEMBLE BOTTOM 

Grab your bottom stretchers, (3) bottom support boards, and (2) 1×6 bottom slats. We won’t attach the bottom slats yet, but we will use them as spacers. 

Place your two bottom slats on the ground or workbench and then place your bottom stretchers on the outside of those slats. Place your support boards on top of the slats. Line two of them up with the ends of your bottom stretchers. 

Then place the third support so that it is in the middle of the bottom stretchers. No need to perfectly measure, just eyeball it. 

Secure using glue and 2.5” screws. 

overhead shot of bottom of DIY porch swing bed

STEP 7: ATTACH SIDES AND BOTTOM 

Flip the bottom you just assembled over so that the side that was spaced with the 1×6 slat is now facing up towards the ceiling. 

Slide the corner where the leg and back support meet up with the back corner of the bottom. The front should be indented slightly. 

Attach using glue and 2.5” outdoor wood screws. On each side, we used a total of 6 screws: 4 going into the bottom slat, and 2 going into the back support.

attach bottom to back of porch swing using screws

STEP 8: ATTACH BOTTOM RUNNERS 

Flip your porch swing bed over so that the bottom is now facing the ceiling. Apply an even coat of glue to the bottom of the legs and bottom stretchers.

On the front side, line the bottom runner up with the front of the legs. On the back, line the bottom runner up with the back of the legs. Each end should overhang 2.5”

screwing bottom runners to bottom of porch swing

Next, we will drill for the holes that the rope will feed through. If you are opting to hang your porch swing with a chain, you can skip this step. 

marking center of bottom runner overhang to drill hole for rope

Mark 1.25” in from the end of the bottom runner and then mark 1.75” in from either side. This will give you the center mark to line your drill bit up with. Using a ⅞” forstner bit, drill all the way through the bottom runner. Repeat with the other 3 sides. 

Tip: clamp a spare board underneath the bottom runner to reduce tearout.

STEP 9: INSTALL BACK MIDDLE SUPPORT 

Measure 19 ⅞” in from either side of the back supports. This is where your back middle support will be installed.

Use glue and (2) 2.5” screws to secure the middle support through the bottom stretcher. The pocket holes you drilled earlier should be visible and facing towards the front of the swing. 

screwing through bottom of porch swing bed to attach middle support

STEP 10: ADD TOP FRAMES 

Start with the two 29” top frame pieces. Line them up with the front of the legs and secure using glue and 2.5” nails. 

nailing armrests to sides of porch swing

Then line the 59.25” top frame piece up with the back of the 29” pieces. Secure with glue and (2) 2.5” nails in the corners. Then secure it further with 2.5” Kreg screws through the pocket holes in the back supports. 

STEP 11: FILL POCKET HOLES 

Fill the pocket holes that will remain visible – aka the 24 on the arm slats. You don’t need to worry about filling the ones on the inside of the back. Those will be covered by the slats.

We opted to fill ours with glue and these pocket hole plugs. Yes, they say paint-grade, but they stain fine as well since they are solid wood. We used a scrap piece of wood and a mallet to help install them.

filling pocket holes using wood plugs

STEP 12: PREP FOR STAIN 

Add wood filler to any nail holes and any gaps that exist around your pocket hole plugs. 

Let dry for 30 minutes and then sand off any excess wood filler using 150 grit sandpaper. 

Wipe your porch swing bed with tack cloth to remove any lingering dust. 

STEP 13: STAIN 

Now for the fun part–adding some color! We chose to stain ours with Cabot Solid Color Acrylic Stain + Sealer in Pewter Gray. It’s a beautiful and versatile gray stain.

The solid transparency gives you really solid coverage in one coat without losing all the wood grain. As the stain dries, the wood grain shines through just a little.

From far away? Looks like a fully solid color. Close up? Added detail and beauty as the wood grain subtly shows. It’s a really great finish! 

To apply the Solid Color Acrylic Stain + Sealer, we first stirred the stain to ensure all the color pigments were thoroughly mixed and then poured about half of the can into a small paint tray. 

We applied the vast majority of it with the Cabot staining pad and let’s just say I will be applying all future solid stains with this thing. It’s super easy to use, it covers an entire 6” wide board in one pass, and provides really even coverage.

staining porch swing bed with Cabot Solid Color Acrylic Stain and Sealer in Pewter Gray

For the nooks and crannies, we used a Purdy XL brush.

As you’re staining, keep a wet edge and avoid going over any areas that have already started to dry. Because this stain is so thick, it applies more like paint than a traditional wood stain. 

Once we finished staining, we waited 2 hours before moving onto the next step. The great thing about this stain is that it’s a stain and sealer in one, so you only need one coat. Not one coat of stain and 2 coats of sealer. Truly just one coat and you’re done! 

Cabot stain sitting on armrest of Pewter Gray porch swing bed frame

STEP 14: INSTALL BOTTOM AND BACK SLATS 

We opted to install the bottom and back slats after staining to make staining a bit easier, but you could also tackle this step before adding wood filler and staining. 

Install the slats with 1.5” nails. The two back slats should be lined up with the slats on the side. The top one will be flush with the top of the leg and the back one will be 1.75” beneath the top slat. 

nailing slats to back of porch swing

The bottom slats will be flush with the front and back of the bottom and then spaced approximately 1.5” apart. You don’t need to break out your tape measure and perfectly space things. Eyeballing it will work just fine.

STEP 15: HANG YOUR PORCH SWING BED

We opted to hang our swing bed using rope.  

First, we attached these swing hangers to a ceiling joist. Be sure to confirm that your structure is strong enough to carry the weight of the swing + humans!

Next, thread the rope through a hole in your bottom runners. Tie a double overhand stopper knot and pull it tight. Cut your rope to approximately 2x the height of your ceilings. This will give you extra that you can trim off at the end. 

tying double overhand stopper knot

Thread the rope through the carabiner and secure it to the swing hanger. Thread the other side of the rope through the back bottom runner and tie another double overhand stopper knot. 

The top of our stopper knot is approximately 8” off the ground. I know it seems low, but between the thick bottom frame and the 5” crib mattress, this puts the top of crib mattress right around the standard height of a porch swing bed.

Once we had everything positioned, we cut off some of the excess rope. We tried twine around the rope several times to keep it from fraying all the way up and then unraveled the bottom portion.

You don’t have to unravel the bottom portion. This is just the look I like better!

Pewter Gray porch swing with white crib mattress and pillows hanging on front porch

DIY Porch Swing Bed FAQs

How much does it cost to build a porch swing?

We built this porch swing bed for approximately $150 worth of wood. Add another $100 to that for the hardware and crib mattress for a grand total of $250. Not too shabby for a modern porch swing bed!

The price of yours may vary based on where you live, current lumber prices, and the type of wood you use.

What is the best wood to build a porch swing out of?

Cedar or redwood are both ideal woods for outdoor projects since they are naturally rot-resistant. However, we opted to use common board/whitewood for this project. Why? It’s inexpensive and can last upwards of 10 years when finished with a quality outdoor stain and sealer. 

And yes, that’s just standard whitewood lumber, not pressure-treated. Pressure-treated wood will last much longer outdoors than non-treated wood, but since a porch swing bed is on a covered porch, it will not have to withstand harsh weather conditions like rain and snow very often, so we opted for the less toxic, more economical option. 

Do I have to hang it with rope?

Nope! If you prefer to use chain, go for it! Instead of drilling a hole through the bottom runners, you’ll attach the steel eye hooks.

How do you make the crib mattress look like a cushion and not look like a crib mattress?

Great question! First, we added a white waterproof sheet that you can put in the wash as needed. Then we used these sheet straps to pull the sheet tight for a more professional look. 

There you have it! Now you know how to make your very own DIY porch swing bed that perfectly fits a crib mattress. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be sitting on my swing sketching out future DIY project plans! 

front view of DIY porch swing bed hanging on front porch
side view of DIY crib mattress porch swing, showing the slatted arms and rope that's hanging it
Make this porch swing bed text overlay on image of Pewter Gray porch swing hanging on front porch
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