Do-It-Yourself Porch Swing

You can build this beautiful do-it-yourself porch swing that will be a perfect place to rest on a cool summer evening. It’s strong and durable, plus you can hang it on the porch or build a support frame so it can be used anywhere. The article gives step-by-step instructions for building both the swing and the support frame. Detailed plans are included.

| August/September 2008

Dock rings (hidden between the top brace of the legs and the support beam end) hold the top of the chains to the support frame.

Dock rings (hidden between the top brace of the legs and the support beam end) hold the top of the chains to the support frame.

Photo by Mark Burstyn

Everyone needs a cozy spot to relax and sip some iced tea, and this do-it-yourself porch swing plan works even if you don’t have a porch

Do-It-Yourself Porch Swing

There’s nothing like enjoying a summer breeze while sitting in an outdoor swing you’ve built yourself. The design described here features a swing and matching support stand that are beautiful and easy to build. Most of the parts use standard construction-grade softwood and cedar lumber. For a complete list of parts, visit Outdoor Swing Materials List.

Some Tips Before You Start

Most joints in this project are glued and screwed together for strength and durability. But not all wood glue can last outdoors long term. The challenge is moisture, and that’s why this project requires an adhesive that’s specifically rated as weatherproof. Use wood glue carrying “type II” or “type III” water-resistance ratings, such as Gorilla wood glue.

This project includes a number of curved parts. For the best results, make full-size templates prior to cutting these items. One approach to templates involves enlarging the grid diagrams on quarter-inch plywood or hardboard, then cutting out the shapes and using them for tracing templates on your lumber. Download the full-size templates for the curved parts of this project. Print out the files, cut out the patterns and temporarily glue the outlines onto your wood as a guide for your jigsaw. After cutting the pieces, peel off the paper, sand away any glue residue and you’re ready to move on.

Start by studying the plans. Hidden components that must be especially strong are made of spruce or pine. More prominent parts are made of rot-resistant cedar.

Begin with the Porch Swing Seat

The first step is to build four L-shaped assemblies that support the seat and back of the swing, each made from one back support and one seat support. The two supports for the middle of the seat are shorter than the outside seat supports (see building diagram). Also, as you work, be sure to create two right-hand and two left-hand versions — carefully noting how the back supports overlap the seat supports. Use glue and four #10, 2 1/2 inch corrosion-resistant screws at each joint. The angled ends of these parts determine the angle of the back to the seat, and the recommended angle is included on the templates. A slight variation from the template would still work, but all four frames must be cut at the same angle.

11/8/2013 4:32:12 PM

I am still not able to access the "Building Plans", I expected more from Mother Earth News.

11/6/2013 12:29:35 PM

I've tried cleaning up my computer and the Building Plans still won't come up, instead the Templet page shows.

11/6/2013 7:42:17 AM

This has been a big waste of time. Every time I try to access the "Building Plans" it automatically goes to the "Templet" page.

6/26/2013 12:48:43 PM

This really is a great article for the do-it-yourselfer's out there that wants to build a porch swing.  However, if there happens to be anyone that reads this and decides they don't want to tackle such a project, we'd love to have you consider Cypress Moon!  We've been building porch swings for over 25 years and have many models to choose from.

Thank you so much!

6/22/2013 4:01:34 PM

This is a great swing. Is there any way to show a diagram of how the seat support and back support screws together

Nicol Gilbert
4/9/2009 7:36:47 AM

I like this article, but I wish that it had a list of everything that you would need to build the swing. So when you go to build it you know that you have everything that is needed for it...

1/26/2009 9:49:55 AM

After reading the article, and now reading some of the comments, I think if you read the bill of materials that are required,and match them to the pieces on the drawing you will find all the information you will need to build this thing.

Ed Stodghill
9/2/2008 8:28:22 AM

It would be nice to have dimensioned drawings....

Ed Stodghill
9/2/2008 8:27:06 AM

I have been getting email newsletters at this email address for a while, but your system tells me when I ask for a password reset that my user is not known....

8/27/2008 12:35:15 PM

The acrobat (.pdf) templates are sized at 30" x 30" - so it's unlikely that someone can print them out on most home-printers. If you know someone at a sign shop or architectural firm that uses plotters or vinyl cutters, the plans can be printed to a roll of paper for full-sized layout prints.

8/16/2008 2:56:02 PM

I also am having printing out the complete drawings. I can only get one page. How do you get the entire set of pages? Thank you for any help.

8/5/2008 3:57:59 PM

I'm trying to download the full-size templates for the porch swing and all I get is a portion of the center pieces. The page shows all 4 pieces, but when I go to print them, I can't get all of them. What is the trick that I am missing? Thanks for your help! Kathy

mother earth news fair


Feb. 17-18, 2018
Belton, Texas

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, hands-on workshops, and great food!