DIY Porch Swing Plans

Take a look at these porch swing plans using recycled wood pallets.

| July/August 2013

  • Porch-Swing
    Making a front porch swing from pallets is easy and affordable.
    Photo By Nate Skow
  • Porch-Swing-Plans
    There’s plenty of flexibility within these plans to make a porch swing that suits your size and materials on hand.
    Illustration By Jeff Hoard
  • DIY-Porch-Swing
    Be sure to hang the swing on sturdy beams.
    Illustration By Jeff Hoard

  • Porch-Swing
  • Porch-Swing-Plans
  • DIY-Porch-Swing

Living out where the pavement ends offers the simple pleasures of country life. Unadulterated stargazing, the sound of a rooster’s crow each morning, and weathered farm structures are just a few to mention. Rural folks use the front porch as a place to gather the family and take in their surroundings, and nothing encourages a relaxing get-together more than a classic porch swing.

Most porches have sturdy beams and rafters from which to hang a swing. For those looking to forgo the expense of purchasing a brand-new wooden swing and hiring someone to hang it, there are several economical options that will yield the same laid-back results. Using recycled pallets and my simple porch swing plans is one way to make your front-porch-swingin’ dreams a reality.

Porch swing plans

Living on an “off-grid” ranch, we save just about everything, so I built our swing for zero dollars. But even if a person can find a pallet, the cost of the hardware needed would be minimal. The size we built (4 feet long) required only one large pallet, and because of the ranch setting, we occasionally place orders that require a pallet for delivery, which we save. I picked one out that was in decent shape and dismantled it.

Sometimes pulling nails can be tough, so to make it easier, soak the pallet with a hose or work on it a couple days after a rainstorm. You just need to separate the 2-by-4s from the 1-inch-by-6-inch slats to make the simple swing shown in the Image Gallery. One large pallet was all the wood I needed to build ours. Basic tools required to construct the swing include a hammer and nail bar to dismantle the pallet. If the slat ends are split or the nails are just too hard to pull, use a saw to cut 1 1/2 inches off each end and shorten the swing’s width accordingly. On ours I was able to keep the full 4-foot width of the pallet.

After the pieces are cut to size (see Image Gallery), it’s time to drill the holes. Start with the 2-by-4 pieces. I used 5/16-inch all-thread that I found in my scrap pile to fasten the support pieces together. If you use bolts, choose carriage bolts the lengths shown in the Image Gallery. The hardware listed is just what I used and will hold the weight of two average-sized adults. Use your best judgment, but do not use smaller diameter hardware than that listed. Attach the shorter 2-by-4s to the larger ones as shown to create the supports. “Snug up” the nuts, but not too tight. Now it’s time to smooth up the1-inch-by-6-inch slats with a plane or sandpaper.

Arrange the outer 2-by-4 supports upright on a smooth, flat surface and cross-tape to make sure they are square. Attach the seat’s front slat flush with the edges and overhanging one inch past the ends of the 2-by-4s using 1 1/4-inch screws (predrill and countersink the holes to avoid splitting) and a generous bead of construction adhesive. Find the center point in the slat and position the center seat support beneath it, square it to the end supports, and screw and glue the slat to it. Make sure the whole project remains square as you glue and screw additional slats to the seat and back supports.

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