Sometimes you want to bring a little extra fun into the boudoir and this swing is one of many ways to do it. Using common outdoor upholstery fabric and easy to find hardware, we'll make this swing with an ordinary sewing machine and a few hand tools.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- Tape measure
- Leather Punch
- Cigarette lighter or small torch
- Sewing Machine
- 25' of 2" wide nylon belt (Similar to automotive safety belt)
- 10' of 1" wide nylon belt
- 1 yard of outdoor upholstery material
½ yard of high density foam cushion
- 3' of ½" grey PVC pipe
- 3' of ½" steel allthread rod
- 2 ea. ½" nut
2 ea. ½" lock nut
4 ea. ½" washer
- 2 ea. Metal Black Rectangle Buckle 2" X 0.8"
- 4 ea. Metal Black Rectangle Buckle 1" X 0.5"
- 1 ea. 2" Steel D-ring or welded ring
- 4" x 18" springy sheet stainless steel (14-18 gauge) For my first one, I used the blade of an old crosscut wood saw. Cut it out with a plasma cutter and deburred the edges on a sander.
Step 2: Make the Spreader Bar
Measure the width of your back where your arms meet your torso. Actually, this measurement should be taken of the larger of the persons who may be using the swing.
Cut the PVC pipe to this length and sand the ends smooth.
Add 3" and cut the allthread to this length. I suggest screwing a nut on first; make the cut; then sand or grind the end smooth.
Slide the PVC pipe over the allthread and put the other nut on. Center the PVC pipe on the allthread. The spreader bar is done. Let's move on to the seat.
Step 3: Make the Seat
Wrap the High density foam cushion around the sheet metal and mark it to cut. The amount of cushion you add is a matter of preference. You definitely want some cushion, but not too much. The cushion should be about ½" larger than the edges of the sheet metal.
Place several bar tacks around the edges to capture the sheet metal in the cushion envelope. I should probably mention that you should be very careful not to sew the sheet metal. You could break a needle and damage your machine or yourself. Leave openings in the ends and pass a 13'* piece of 2" nylon web belt through between the cushion and the sheet metal. This side will be the bottom of the seat so you may want to mark it. Since I make and sell these, I put my brand on it. Center the sheet metal on the nylon web belt and bar tack the ends.
Fold a piece of the upholstery fabric around the sheet metal and cut it 2" wider that the cushion. Fold the edges in so the two folded edges are just ½" wider than the cushion. Iron the fabric to define the edges. Fold the last edge in so it too is only ½" wider than the cushion.When you're happy with the fit. Sew the three edges. Go right over the nylon web belt too and lock it in place. The seat is done, let's make the hanging truss.
*The length of the main piece of nylon web belt may be different if you make yours much larger or smaller than this one. If you're really tall, you'll want it a little longer. See the next step for tips on determining the length for you.
Step 4: Make the Hanging Truss
Sit on the seat and pull the 2" nylon web belt up next to you on both sides. Imagine where you would like the spreader bar to be. Mark that location.
Remember the footnote of the last step? The top section between the ends of the spreader bar and the D-ring creates a big triangle. You want the angle at the D-ring to be no more than 90°. This will determine the maximum height of the spreader bar. If the spreader bar is too low, you'll have to use a longer piece of nylon web belt. Back to the truss.
Cut 4 ea. 2" diameter circles (squares are shown) from the nylon web belt and melt the edges with a cigarette lighter. Center them over the marks you made for the spreader bar, sandwiching the main belt in between them and sew them in place. Using the leather punch, make two holes large enough that the allthread will pass through, yet small enough that it takes quite a bit of effort. Melt the inside with the lighter. This additional reinforcement is crucial. Without it, the spreader bar will punch through the holes and the unit will fail.
Making sure there are no twists in the nylon web belt between the seat and the top, pass the belt through the D-ring and overlap the two pieces at the very top and bar tack the full width of the belt twice. I like to add an additional piece of belt to keep the D-ring in place.
Install the spreader bar by passing it through the web belt making sure to sandwich the triple stacked area between the two washers and tightening the lock nuts so the belt is firmly clamped between the washers.
Hang it up and test it. See the last step of this Ible for tips on installing a hook in your ceiling.
Step 5: Make the Back Rest
Cut a trapezoid from the 2" nylon web belt that is 6" one edge and 4" on the other. Melt the cut edges with the lighter. Pass this piece through the two 2" rectangle buckles and sew it about 4" below one side of the spreader bar. Cut a similar angle on another piece of 2" belt (about 8' or 9' long) and sew it in place on the other side of the unit.
Cut a 24"x5" piece of the high density foam cushion and fold it in half the long way. Cut a piece of upholstery material 26"x7". Center the foam cushion on the fabric and fold the short edges over the cushion and sew them in place. Fold the entire assembly in half longways and iron a crease down the edge. Fold the remaining two unsewn edges inward and sew the remaining edge. You should be able to slide the back support belt through this cushy tube.
Thread the remaining end through both buckles, then back through only one. See the illustration for details. It will bind on itself and hold in place.
The back is completely adjustable from upright support to nearly lying flat.
Step 6: Make the Foot Supports
Similar to the last step, make two trapezoid pieces from the 1" nylon belt. and install the 1" buckles below the back rest connection points. Make sure they hang out the front.
Cut two 4"x24" pieces of upholstery material. Fold the short ends in ½" and iron them. If your upholstery material has a front and a back, make sure to work form the back. Fold the material in half long ways and sew each down the length with the back side out. This creates a tube of material. Turn it inside out and cut a 22" a piece cushion that you'll roll and stuff into this tube. The amount is up to you. Stuff the tube full or just put a single strip in.
Cut the remaining piece of 1" web belt in half and melt the ends with a lighter. Make a loop out of the fabric tube and sandwich one end of one of the belts between the open ends of the tube and sew it. Take a couple of passes because this area will be taking quite a bit of stress. It should be strong enough to hold your entire weight.
Install the straps into the small buckles and hang the unit in the location of your choice.
Step 7: Tips for Hanging the Swing.
Hanging a swing from the ceiling can be dangerous. You need to be very careful and find a stud to tap into. You also need to be perfectly centered on the stud. Personally, I prefer to have a swivel on it so the swing rider can be spun around. It's really nice to have a carabiner on it too so it can be easily removed when mom or the reverend shows up unexpectedly.
If possible, it's best to reinforce the point from which the swing hangs. This swing can hold quite a bit of weight. It's designed for rough service and can really stand up to whatever you throw at it.