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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.
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!
- Miter Saw
- 16 Gauge Finish Nailer
- Kreg Jig
New to DIY? Check out our post on beginner woodworking tools to determine which tools to get!
What You’ll Need:
- (6) – 1x6x6s (we used common board. Read more about using pine outdoors)
- (4) – 2x6x8s
- (5) – 2x4x8s
- ⅞” paddle bit or hole saw
- 1.5” nails
- 2.5” nails
- 2.5” outdoor Kreg screws
- 2.5” exterior wood screws
- Exterior wood glue
- Sandpaper – we used 100 and 150 grit
- Wood filler
- Pocket hole plugs
- Stain – We used Cabot Solid Color Acrylic Stain + Sealer in Pewter Gray
- Cabot 6” Stain Applicator Pad
- Purdy XL paint brush for the nooks and crannies
- Crib mattress
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 Size||Quantity||Size (inches)|
|Back Support – Middle||2×6||1||20|
|Top Frame – Back||2×4||1||59.25|
|Top Frame – Sides||2×4||2||29|
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.
STEP 2: ADD POCKET HOLES
Pocket holes are the foundation of most DIY furniture. Become a pocket hole pro in less than an hour in Pocket Holes: Explained.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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?
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!
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