Introduction: Instant Hammock

Picture of Instant Hammock

Here's how to make a hammock in a minute from a sheet or any big piece of cloth.
It's the simplest method from my "Instant Hammock" article in Make Magazine Issue #9.
I used the program "Avd Video Processor" to make these animated gifs from video.

Now on Know How! Click on the steps above for more details.

Do you like this Instructable? Digg it!. Then check out episodes one, two, four, five, six, and

First bunch up the ends and tie knots in them as shown.
If you don't have much cloth, are skilled with rope, or don't care if you fall you can skip this step.

Step 1: Tie a Rope to Each End With a Lark's Head Knot

Picture of Tie a Rope to Each End With a Lark's Head Knot

just like this, or tie whatever knot you like best.
If you don't fall it means you did it right.

Step 2: Hang It Up, Get In, and Relax

Picture of Hang It Up, Get In, and Relax

In utter comfort.
Rachael Norman Demonstrates.
For extra coziness pull the hammock around you like a coccoon.

Step 3: Hammock Workstation for Large Drawings

Picture of Hammock Workstation for Large Drawings

Saul Griffith uses an instant hammock at MITERS to work on large drawings for a kite he's making.

Step 4: Danielle Smith Triangular Hammock

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Danielle rigged up this swell triangular hammock in her yard in Austin TX.
It's a bedspread tied at the corners to three trees.
Her offspring Rhett Applestone gets his relax on.

Step 5: Non Instant Traditional Maya Hammock

Picture of Non Instant Traditional Maya Hammock

In case you'd like to make an elaborate Maya style hammock, here are some notes from 2001.
You should probably buy a hammock to look at (and rest in) before attempting to make your own.

Lauro lives at the entrance to Bahias de Punta Soliman in the Yucatan, Mexico.
He weaves hammocks to pass the time. Here he is at work.
He's using a netting needle just the same as the fishermen use to mend their nets.
The string is thin hammock string which is sold in fabric and hardware stores there.

Step 6: Lauro's Loom

Picture of Lauro's Loom

The wooden frame is held together with wedges so he can change what size of hammock he makes. Also so he can remove the hammock from it when it's done.

Step 7: Starting the Hammock

Picture of Starting the Hammock

To start out he winds about half the string needed to make the hammock at the top of the loom at 'a'.
Let's call that the "warp" string, although technically he's "twining" rather than "weaving" and it probably has a different official name.
Then he loads up his netting needle with string and starts to wind it around the first two strands of warp string as shown.

Step 8: The Pattern Continues

Picture of The Pattern Continues

Wrap another turn of warp thread around the frame and go around and around it with your netting needle. The drawing is a little ambiguous (and rough). It's supposed to look like going around and around, not any other sort of more complicated pattern.

There are many styles of hammock. This style gets you the most hammock for the least string. There are some where you wind your string around three or more warp strings at a time rather than the two shown here.

Step 9: Finishing the Hammock

Picture of Finishing the Hammock

There are lots of ways to finish a hammock, this is how Lauro did it.
The strings at the very edge are important. If they break it's easy to fall out of the hammock. And hard to get comfortable.


southqaw (author)2008-04-05

Hey, how long is the piece of fabric?

a03326495 (author)southqaw2017-04-25

I've found a king size sheet is a good size for an adult. Your local thrift store has used sheets in fun patterns for cheap, just give em a good wash.

TimAnderson (author)southqaw2008-04-05

Any length. A sheet or curtain is good.

siafulinux (author)TimAnderson2011-03-15

I just found this type of thing on Youtube and tried it between two trees in my yard with a fitted sheet (non-fitted is best though) and some cheap Wally World rope rated at 120lbs. We had three people in there at one time and it held just fine. Lots of weight and it worked wonderfully.

Going to bye a non-fitted sheet to make it better and probably some stronger rope, just to be safe. Now if only I could find an easy way to set this up inside the house. hmm

yoyology (author)siafulinux2012-05-13

Make a hammock stand:

...or put some lag eyes into a couple of studs. Though that might be a little extreme.

haptotrope (author)southqaw2010-08-19

If I were to gather and speculate, I'd figure that was 3-4 yards of fabric... the knots could take up about a 1/2 yard each, depending on how thick the fabric is.

Steamr (author)2015-06-06

Never mind my parents won't allow this in my room, (they don't want holes in the walls) never the less I made it at a friends house, in his backyard of course.

kthurm (author)Steamr2017-01-14

build a stand to hang it from

ThunderFR (author)2016-06-24

What's the wight limit?

Steamr (author)2015-06-06

How do I secure the hammock to my bed room wall.

Mr_Altitude (author)2013-06-15

I find it difficult to tie a knot in the cloth because of the thickness. Any suggestions?

dragonslug (author)Mr_Altitude2014-04-19

you could take a zip tie a section of a bit like tying a knot and then put your rope over the zip tie. I haven't tried it but it should work.

122717 (author)2013-09-23

And I'm only like 120 pounds.

ionut_mystic (author)1227172014-02-18

You should try some nylon material, or somethin similar. It doesn't weight much and is very strong.

ChippMarshal (author)2014-01-19

Simple yet ingenious!

Meursydotes (author)2014-01-08

If you use a constrictor knot you can skip the knot in the end of the sheet.

122717 (author)2013-09-23

What's the best material for one? I used a sheet and it ripped and I used a tarp and it was about to rip and I jumped out.

Cann0n (author)1227172013-12-08

I'm 220lbs and I used a sheet with no problem. But it was cotton and in live in a humid wet area. I then used a polyester table clothe. It's lighter and takes up much less space when hiking. And it doesn't get saturated like cotton.

janetsellers08 (author)2013-04-05

I love this hammock -but- how long should it be for my 7' or other hammock stand? I can't figure out the proportions for length of fabric to the hooks for the stand...

Celina222 (author)2012-03-04

hahahaha! "womb like comfort"

Yerboogieman (author)2009-05-06

Whats that song called?

The Hukilau Song

wackenstein3 (author)2007-07-09

This is awesome! We went camping this weekend, and while everyone else was in their tents, I slept on this incredibly easy to make hammock. Slept like a baby. Thanks for this instructable!

jongscx (author)wackenstein32007-08-08

In your opinion, how would you make it more weather proof? It has several advantages to tents in the rain, since it's 1) off the ground, 2) already sheltered under a tree [falling limbs not-withstanding] I was thinking just hanging a tarp over it, but my main concern is water wicking from the rope (which is tied to a wet and getting wetter tree) into your sleeping surface...

nolangjohnson (author)jongscx2011-07-01

With a little preparation, you can use a plastic or nylon rain tarp as a rain fly over your hammock. Just clip the tarp corners onto the end ropes, so the tarp lies over your hammock diamond-style. Make sure to pull the tarp taughe enough to create a ridgeline above your hammock. Then use cord to stake the side corners out to the side. With the right dimensions, your hammock will be entirely underneath the rain fly. My Star scout son calls this "super-mega-ultralight camping"

wackenstein3 (author)jongscx2007-08-09

I tried putting a tarp around it once, but you're right, the water just dripped in to the middle. So I was thinking of finding some kind of funnel or something, like one of those dog collars that keeps them from scratching, on the ropes.that might keep the ends of dry.

jongscx (author)wackenstein32007-08-09

Well, the root of the problem is that water wants to go to the lowest point. if there were some way that the attachment point was sheltered, then it wouldn't be a problem. if, let's say, you cut a branch that was angle up, tied your rope to the end of the branch, and put the tarp over the point where you tied it, then water won't creep towards your sleeping area. I'm sure there's a way to do this with a stake being driven into the tree too, but that's harder to visualize without pictures.

Bro. Jones (author)jongscx2007-09-09

A hammock tent is called a bivy sack. Google "bivy sack". There are a lot of people who backpack this way to save weight. To keep water from coming down the tree into your hammock tie several small pieces of string around the rope for the water to drip off of. There are a number of ultralight hiking sites with advice on hammocks (how to insulate them for winter usage, sausage tube storage, etc.).

bmartinez-3 (author)Bro. Jones2011-06-09

Actually I believe Bivy Sacks are just small tents used to contain one sleeping bag. Mainly used for rock climbing and ultralight hikers. Places like REI do sell "tent like" hammocks though, which do look like bivies sometimes, but aren't the same.

adlabens (author)Bro. Jones2008-05-07

Yep, it's quite simply called a "drip loop" & we use them all the time when stringing phone lines. Even WITH the loop attached to support across the loop, the water still runs down the drip loop & drips off.

redsuit09 (author)wackenstein32009-07-29

rub non scented deoderant on it (the kind you roll on your armpits.) it wick water from the rope and mosquitoes are to busy trying to eat the rope than you

An Villain (author)jongscx2010-08-16

This is an old Native American trick, tie a rope to the rope that attaches the hammock to the tree so it hangs straight down, gravity will pull the water along that rope if it is thin enough and tied tight enough. I have also used it myself and it works like a charm.

alpe_97 (author)2011-06-12

Going to scout camp this week. I'm going to teach them how to make your hammock. Good job!

E_MAN (author)2011-06-09

Cool! i think ill go make one!

the sharpener (author)2011-04-19

cool hammock dude

eulaliaaaa! (author)2010-08-13

My mom used to always get mad when we took the bedsheets and made hammocks out of them. Good times. :-)

oud25 (author)2010-08-12

you can use a bowline knot and then do the knot in the sheet

lucazoid (author)2009-09-26

I have a bunk bed but we got rid of the bunk underneath and now there is two bookshelves and a hammock! i use the frame of top bunk to hang it from though sadly im outgrowing it

Ckunes (author)lucazoid2010-06-23

Hey! I do too! except haven't gotten a chance to remove the bunk bed on the bottom, so sometimes my weight makes me sit on my bed in the hammock. It's sturdy, though, so I'm sure it'll be fine once I dump the bed.

cr8n (author)2010-02-20

 cute kid

dalucero (author)2008-06-30

One of the things we did in the scouts was to untwist a part of some braided rope (like a really thick twine), insert the sheet, and the let the rope twist back. Instead of tying a knot in the sheet, we wrapped a rock in the corner of the sheet to keep it from slipping back through the rope.

redsuit09 (author)dalucero2009-07-29

yeah i use that for hanging a tarp over clothes bags while camping. it's a technique called ghosting very useful if the tarps getting worn out near the loopholes

ShaunHill (author)2008-07-15

Pardon me, but I am living in rented accommodation and cannot risk messing with the walls (but I want a hammock in my bed room). Does anyone have any advice?

redsuit09 (author)ShaunHill2009-07-29

you can always buy or build an hammock stand.... google it or look for an 'ible on it

Fenwick (author)2009-07-06

I laughed so hard when he said "Womb-like comfort"

cmd1237 (author)2008-07-24

Can u do it with 4 nots

tabi (author)2008-07-04

Ohh... sorry I forgot to add, you can use your hammock as a backpack, some of us do when going into the jungle... everything goes IN.

tabi (author)2008-07-04

Hello all; I live in Cancun, in the Yucatan, where people DO use hammocks to sleep in all the time, there are no beds in some of the houses over here. The easiest way to make one is this great instructable, another is to use parachute fabric, very cheap and easy too. I have found that using the cross bars makes for a very dangerous thing, without them you sort of fall into a cocoon like place. The better ones are, of course, made of weave net by the local people here, but almost anything will do, canvas, poliester... To hang them be sure to find a VERY secure place, drywalls will como crashing down as normal stone walls if you do not find the place where everuthing is joined (sorry I do not know the word fot that in english) You can use an expansive stud and a hook from there. YOu can also have netting for mosquitoes just some tulle will do and it is made like a funnel tied down underneath. nothing will coe up your hammock, very nice if you camp in the jungle where there´s prone to be some tarantulas and snakes that love the warmth of your skin! Hope this helps some... Oh by the way, to sleep soundly, lie down diagionally in your hammock otherwise you´ll get up with lots of kinks in your skeleton! ;)

Sandisk1duo (author)2008-07-02

kind of reminds me of this:

About This Instructable




Bio: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output ... More »
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