I've had this post on my mind since I first posted the picture to my Instagram over a year ago.
I have always loved to give homemade gifts for all occasions, so when it came to my son's birthday, I thought this swing would be perfect. He's a born busy body and therefore this DIY hanging chair was just what he needed. Oddly enough, his sister decided she needed it more than he did. Thankfully, they are pretty good at sharing-most of the time.
I know some of you prefer written tutorials so I hope you find this helpful.
Let's dive right in!
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SUPPLIES you'll need to re-create this DIY hanging chair (shopping list located at the end of this post)
- (1) drop cloth OR 2 yards of 10 oz. canvas material. The one I have linked here is the one I prefer for all my DIY projects. The one I used in the tutorial I picked up at the Home Depot (not my fave as its not 100% cotton).
- (1) 36" length of 2" diameter wooden dowel rod. You can find this at your local hardware store and you usually purchase this by the foot. Alternatively, you can purchase a wooden curtain rod and put the end caps on for a more polished look.
- (1) 15' piece of 3/8" nylon/poly blend rope. Again, you can usually find by the foot at your local hardware store. You can also use a more natural sisal rope as well.
- OPTIONAL SUPPLIES: fabric paint or fabric pens to decorate your chair. If you purchase 100% cotton drop cloth, you can also dye your drop cloth using RIT brand fabric dye.
- Sharpie for marking. You can also use a washi tape or painters tape too. Use whatever you have on hand.
- **(1) 3/8" eye bolt. This bolt is what you'll put into your ceiling wherever you choose to hang your chair.
- **(1) 3/8" link snap. This is so you can take your swing down to store it when not in use.
**BE SURE AND CHECK THE WEIGHT LOAD OF YOUR EYEBOLT AND LINK SNAP. IT SHOULD STATE DIRECTLY ON THE PACKAGE.** SEE PICTURE BELOW.**
TOOLS you'll need to create your hanging chair:
(1) drill with coordinating 3/8" drill bit. My husband recommended pre-drilling the holes with a smaller diameter drill bit first, but I honestly found after trial and error that it really didn't make much difference.
OPTIONAL: you may use a lighter to melt the end of your rope for easy threading through your dowel rod and the drop cloth. You can also put a piece of tape on the end of your rope to keep from fraying as well.
- Sewing machine
- Serger sewing machine (optional)
- Sewing pins (optional)
- Scissors or rotary cutter
- Ruler or tape measure
- 3/8" drill bit
Now that you know what you'll need to create this hanging chair, let's begin. It's time to wash and prep your drop cloth material.
- Start by washing and drying your drop cloth. I usually wash in really hot water with detergent and bleach. If you don't have bleach, add some vinegar to your wash load. This helps eliminate the smell that drop cloths can sometimes have.
This is why I wash my drop cloths before I use them. This is the water from the wash cycle of a brand new drop cloth. YUCK!
After you have washed your drop cloth material once (or twice), throw it into the dryer. Once it's dry, it's time to mark and cut.
Time to mark and cut our drop cloth to begin making the seat for our hanging chair.
- To begin, fold your drop cloth in half LENGTHWISE.
- Keeping the folded edge on your left hand side, measure up from the FOLDED edge 32" and make a mark using your sharpie marker.
- From that 32" mark, measure our to the right 16" and make another mark.
- Now using the bottom edge of your drop cloth, measure from the folded edge over 24" and make another mark.
- You should now have (3) marks on your folded drop cloth material.
- Now, let's connect the dots (marks) we made.
- Starting at the side seam mark at 32", draw a straight line to connect it to the 16" dot that was to the right of the 32" mark.
- From the 16" mark, draw a line down to meet the 24" mark you made along the bottom edge.
- This is what your pattern should look like before you begin cutting.
- Now grab your scissors or rotary cutter and cut out the seat for your hanging chair.
After all the marking and cutting, this is what your hanging chair seat should look like (before we do any sewing).
There should be 3 raw edges of fabric, and the longest part of the swing has a pre-finished edge from the drop cloth.
Now it's time to begin sewing our hanging chair seat. For this step I have 2 different options of how this can be done. Both will have the same end result.
OPTIONAL STEP (if you own a serger sewing machine). If not, skip this step in the tutorial.
- (Optional: serging the raw edges BEFORE you sew). I added this step as an option for those of you that sew and own a serger sewing machine. Serging the (3) raw edges of the chair can really give it a finished look. Don't worry, if you don't have a serger I will show you how you can get the same finished look without one.
- If you do own a serger and want to do this step, serge the (3) raw edges of the drop cloth. You should have 2 long sides and the top to serge.
If you don't have a serger, this is where you'll begin. Start by getting out your iron and a pressing mat (ironing board).
- Begin at one of the sides of your swing. On your pressing surface or ironing board, fold up the raw edge 1/4" and press the length of the side.
- Once you have pressed up your raw edge 1/4," go back and fold up that edge another 1.5" and press again. Now you have just enclosed that raw edge. When you stitch it down it will look nice and finished.
- You can pin this down or just press.
Now I'm going to show you how to finish the corners of there swing seat that you just folded. You may have noticed that theres some extra fabric, almost like a "tail" sticking out from the bottom after you've folded your edges over. So let's fix that now before we sew.
- Begin by folding up that corner at a 90 degree angle. You can press with an iron or just finger pressing works too.
- Now take that piece that you previously pressed at 1.5" and fold that down and over the 90 degree corner you just tucked in. This is what it should look like after its folded in and hidden.
Heres another view of how it should look.
Grab your sewing machine because it's time to get the seat to our hanging chair sewn up.
- Once your sewing machine is threaded and ready to go, grab the drop cloth seat that you have pressed (or serger) and ready to be sewn. This step isn't technical, you just want to be sure that however you choose to sew this up, that you have enough room to pass that 3/8" rope through. So don't sew the seam too tight.
- I used the edge of my presser foot as my guide. I placed the edge of my presser foot so it lined up with the folded and pressed (or surged) edge. Sew a straight stitch down the entire side. Make sure you backstitch at the beginning and the end of each row of stitching.
- I chose to re-enforce this line of stitching by completing a second row of stitching 1/4" away from the first one. This is optional, I just tend to always over-do things. Heres what it will look like when you have done 2 lines of stitching down one of the sides.
- Notice my edge is serged. If you don't have a serger, you'll have a nice folded seam instead. Both options look nice.
Repeat this for the other side. When you are finished you should have the seat for your hanging chair completed. Fold it up and set it aside for when we put it all together.
Now it's time to get that dowel rod prepped so we can put it all together. So for this next part you'll need your drill, the 3/8" drill bit, your wooden dowel, a tape measure and your sharpie marking pen. We'll start by marking the rod where we want to drill the holes.
- With your dowel rod, your sharpie and a measuring tape, start on one end of your wooden dowel and place a mark 3" in from the end and 6" in from the end.
- Repeat for the opposite side. When finished, you should have (4) marks visible on the top of your dowel.
- Next, grab your drill and the 3/8" drill bit.
- As I said before, my husband recommended pre-drilling the holes with a smaller drill bit. I personally don't think it made much difference (I've done it both ways), so I'd say why add one extra step. Who needs more work right?
- Make sure you have your dowel rod on a drill-able surface. Don't drill directly onto carpet. I'd normally be doing this inside my husbands work shop on a saw horse, but the lighting in there wasn't very good so I opted to do it in my house. Notice that I have a piece of board under the dowel rod for the drill to go into. NOT the carpet or my new tile floor. Yikes that could be bad.
- Drill all (4) marks on your wooden dowel making sure the holes are drilled all the way through.
- When finished, it should look like this.
Time to do a bit of sanding.
Grab a sanding block or a piece of 220 grit sand paper.
Fold or cut your paper into a small square and sand the top and underside of the dowel rod.
You want to be sure you have sanded off all the splintered pieces of wood. So it's smooth to the touch.
- Nice and smooth. Good work.
At this stage you could stain your wooden dowel rod with a wood stain of your choice.
You could also paint the wooden dowel, it's up to you.
Let it dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Let's put it all together! Grab your hanging chair drop cloth seat, your rope, a sharpie, tape measure, dowel rod, and the link snap.
- I personally would recommend watching the video for this step of the tutorial as this may be more confusing to explain. But I will try my best. You can find the video at the top of this post or visit the "video" tab on our website for all the videos I have uploaded to YouTube and watch it there.
- FIND THE CENTER OF YOUR ROPE BY FOLDING YOUR ROPE IN HALF AND MARK THE CENTER WITH YOUR SHARPIE.
- Start by feeding your rope up from the bottom to the top side of your dowel rod.
- Tie a double knot on the top side of the dowel with your rope. Leave the top just long enough to make a knot. You shouldn't have a massive amount of excess rope here.
- From the knot you just made, measure down the rope 40" and place a mark with your sharpie. This is where we're going to tie our next knot (but not quite yet
- Starting at the bottom of the swing seat (widest end), feed the rope up through the channel you made with your sewing machine. For this step I used this inexpensive tool called a BODKIN. If you don't have one of these, you can also use a large safety pin or just the rope itself. Push the rope all the way through this channel and out the top.
- Once you've fed your rope all the way through, much the seat of your swing (the drop cloth) down until the mark you made at 40" is visible. Tie a knot at the 40" mark.
- Now take the end of your rope and feed it up through the dowel rod from the bottom.
Stick with me we're almost done. You can always reference the video if you get a bit confused.
- After you have fed the rope through, find the center mark on your rope and tie a knot leaving a 3" loop to hook the link snap through. Heres a picture, hopefully this helps.
- Now it's time to feed that rope back through the dowel rod again. This time. you're going to be going back down through the INSIDE hole that you drilled (the one closest to the center).
- Once your rope is through the hole, lay your dowel rod on a flat surface and lay the rope flat on the ground as if you were going to hook it to the eye bolt. Make sure you have the same amount of rope and that things look even. This will ensure that the swing hangs nice and straight.
- Now measure 40" from the end of the rope and make a mark.
- Tie a single knot where you made that mark.
- Feed the end of that rope from the TOP of your hanging chair seat to the BOTTOM.
- Take the end of your rope now and feed it up from the bottom of your wooden dowel to the top and secure with a double knot.
You have now completed your hanging chair made from a drop cloth.
Now you can customize this hanging chair any way you like.
- Use fabric pens or fabric paint to really personalize your DIY hanging chair.
SHOP for items I used to create this hanging chair right here: click the links below to be taken to amazon
- drop cloth (this is the one I prefer most).
- Sewing machine (my fave sewing machine)
- Grid sewing mat (optional for sewing extension table)
- Scissors or rotary cutter
- wool pressing mat (or ironing board)
- Serger sewing machine (optional)
- Sewing pins (optional)
- Fabric paint pens (optional)
- Fabric paint (optional)
- Eye Bolt (1) 3/8"
- Link snap (1) 3/8"
- Nylon/Poly rope 15' of 3/8" diameter
- Dowel rod 36" long x 2" diameter (purchase by the foot at your local hardware store)
- 3/8" drill bit
- Sharpie or pen for markingScissors
- 220 grit sand paper or sanding block
- Bodkin (to feed rope through the drop cloth-optional)
I hope you guys enjoyed making this fun project as much as I did. Thanks so much for joining me for another tutorial.
Have you made a DIY hanging chair before?
How do you or your kids like them? Did you have a special way to customize your chair that you'd like to share?
I'm always looking for fresh new ideas. Share in the comments section below.