How to get a DIY baby to swing. Step-by-step photos and an easy-to-follow tutorial to swing a canvas perfectly for babies and toddlers to enjoy for hours!
I’m pretty sure this was the project that got me excited about DIY projects.
It was one of those times when I knew exactly what I wanted to give Sadie for her first Christmas – a cool canvas swing where she could play for hours in the shade of the big oak tree (dreaming?), while I was sitting through a mojito or something – but didn’t want to pay the $220 for a finished one.
The struggle was that I wasn’t willing to compromise on how much I wanted a canvas swing, and pay $50 for a plastic swing that would probably fall apart in a few years. So I did some searching and came across a tutorial that showed step by step how to make one of those swings – and it looked surprisingly easy!
I tried it out and it was really quite simple. Sew in a straight line. Drill a few holes in a dowel and attach a rope (thanks Josh). Hanging from a tree. And what followed were indeed blissful hours of swinging in a beautiful canvas swing under the oak tree! Not to mention the extreme satisfaction Josh and I had when we made Sadie’s Christmas present together – how very Little House on the Prairie of us!
The original tutorial is from A Beautiful Mess – it’s a fantastic contribution, but since they are based in the USA, all measurements are in feet and inches. I thought I would do it in metric measures to make it easy!
I spent about $90 US for high quality materials for this swing. Although it is a somewhat expensive DIY project, it was still much cheaper than buying a finished one and it will take years. You could cut costs by buying polypropylene ropes instead of nylon and just tie it to a single Caribena instead of using rope clamps and thimbles if you want to, but I think if you want to do it, do it right the first time and make it strong enough to last forever. If you have questions about replacing materials, please leave a comment below and I will do my best to help you.
I have received the material from Spotlight and the other fasteners from Mitre 10 Mega. If you ask at either place (and show pictures), someone can help you find what you need.
Important to note: I used canvas material for the exterior. It’s designed to withstand wear and tear, but we still bring our swing inside when we’re not using it – this is just to make it last longer and stay dry.
- Robust outdoor canvas material – 150 cm x 70 cm
- A 25 mm x 1800 mm piece of pine dowel
- 6 meters 7 mm thick braided nylon rope or similar – recommended nylon instead of poly for strength. I bought the rope per meter from Mitre 10 and it cost about 4.70 USD per meter.
- Two rope thimbles and clamps (see picture) Make sure the thimble is wide enough for the rope to thread through.
- Two 8mm carabiners
- Sewing machine and thread (same colour as fabric)
- Measuring tape
- sew scissors
- Saw (hand-held or electric)
- Drill with 9 mm drill bit (this made the hole large enough to allow the rope to be threaded through easily)
- 120 sandpaper (or whatever you have at hand. Optional, but makes the cut dowel smoother)
- Brushes and paints for the decorative beads (optional)