There’s something about porch swings on a breezy spring day that just puts you in a good mood. Swinging back and forth while soaking in the good weather just seems to melt all your worries away. Why not capture that feeling more often by creating your own DIY porch swing?
You don’t need a huge porch or crazy DIY skills. Follow this easy tutorial to make your porch swing plans a reality!
Before we dive into talking actually building, let’s talk about the best wood to use for a porch swing.
We wanted to make our porch swing as economically as possible, so we built it out of common board and finished it with an exterior stain. Common board isn’t the best wood choice for outdoor projects, but it’s still expected to last around 5-10 years.
A better choice of wood for an outdoor porch swing would be cedar, redwood, or pressure-treated wood, which can last for 20-40+ years outdoors. These options are a little bit more expensive, so it’s up to you if the longevity is worth the additional cost.
Overall, this porch swing cost about $150 to make when you account for all the wood and hardware needed to build and hang it. The cost will vary based on your location and the current prices of wood.
Alright, let’s start DIYing!
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, I earn a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more)!
- Miter Saw
- Kreg Jig
- Table Saw (if you don’t have a table saw, I’ll let you know which wood to buy instead)
- Nail Gun
- Electric Sander
What You’ll Need
Get the cut list and exact quantities in the printable plans.
- 1x3x8 common boards
- 1x4x8 common boards
- 2x4x8 common boards (or 2x3x8s if you aren’t using a table saw)
- 1.25″ outdoor Kreg screws
- 2.5″ outdoor Kreg screws
- (4) – 3.5″ long 3/8″ lag screw with washer
- Wood glue
- 60-120 grit sandpaper
- Stain (we used Valspar Exterior Stain + Sealer in Pine Park)
- 42×18″ cushion
*if you are not using a table saw, replace your 2x4s with 2x3s. Your edges will be somewhat rounded, but the overall look will be similar.
How to Build a Porch Swing
New to DIY? Download our free 5 Steps to Getting Start with DIY guide!
Step 1: CUT LIST
The cut list is available in the printable plans along with 3D renderings and step-by-step instructions.
Step 2: assemble the back
Assemble the back of your porch swing using glue and pocket holes.
Make sure to adjust the placement of your pocket holes when switching between 1″ boards and 2″ boards. The different thicknesses will require different placement and screw sizes.
Pocket holes are the foundation of most DIY furniture. Become a pocket hole pro in less than an hour in Pocket Holes: Explained.
Attach the 1×3 support in the middle of your porch swing back using glue. If you want to add extra security, use pocket holes on either end of the 1×3 to screw into the 2x4s.
STEP 3: add bottom supports and slats
Start with installing your supports. Place the bottom frame upside down on your table with 3-5 of your slats placed. These do not need to be attached, just in place to use as a spacer.
For the two supports on the edges, glue and screw your boards into place. You can also use pocket holes, but we thought it was quicker to just screw them in. For the two supports in the middle, attach them using glue and pocket holes. You want the supports to be equally spaced, but they do not need to be exact.
Flip your bottom frame over and glue and nail the slats in place on top of the supports. The top of the slats should sit flush with the top of the frame.
Step 4: add decorative arm slats
We eyeballed the spacing on these. The top one should line up with the top of the arm supports. The other one can be equally spaced between the top board and the bottom frame.
To install, use glue and angle your nails. Be careful when nailing in your boards! You want the angle to be enough to attach the boards with the arm supports, but not angled enough for the nail to pop out the side of your arm slats.
Step 5: attach your armrest
Attach your armrest to your arm supports using glue and nails. Only overhang on the front and outside side.
Step 6: Sand and stain
Sand and stain your porch swing before assembling further.
Step 7: Attach the back to the base
First, you need to position the back at your desired angle. Try to find a happy medium between a recline and not leaning so much that it pushes the cushion over the edge.
Once in position, drill two pilot holes on each side. Then screw in your lag screws to secure the back in place. Don’t forget to add your washer and be careful not to over-tighten or you might break your lag screw!
There you have it! Now that you know how to build a porch swing, it’s time to hang it up! You can find our full tutorial on how to hang your porch swing right here.
Don’t forget to grab your printable plans!
More Outdoor Projects: DIY Privacy Wall | The Coolest DIY Patio | DIY Wooden Planter Box
What bolts and chains did you use to hang the swing? I didn’t see it in the supply list.
Hi Kara! We have everything we used to install the swings in our “how to hang a porch swing” post. We used heavy duty porch swing hangers and 2/0 welded silver steel chain.
We have purchased the lumber and most of the hardware and will start building soon. We are working on getting a beam to hang this between two trees. What size nails were used in the nail gun? Thanks!
Hi Matt! That’s great to hear. I hope you enjoy the finished product 🙂 We used 1.5″ nails on this project.
Hello! Just wondering what size cushion you got for this swing?
Hi Nicole! Here’s the exact one we got.
What is the actual measurement of the swing? Is it a 4’?
Ours ended up being just shy of 48″ wide. The seat is 42″. Hope that helps!
What kind of outdoor stain did you use? Can you use gel stain and then spray a seal protector on top?
Hi Charlene! We used Valspar Exterior Stain + Sealer in Pine Park. I would recommend using something that specifically calls out that it can be used outdoors.