Do you want one of those fabulous porch swing beds, the ones that make you want to curl up with a good book and take an afternoon nap in the summer breeze? When we moved to our farmhouse with its gorgeous porch, I envisioned having one too. However, the porch swings I saw everywhere were far too expensive for this ol’ girl’s pocketbook! So, instead, I begged my husband for one, which he generously built for me!
Although it seems like it would be a simple weekend project that you could throw together with some lumber and screws, it actually is not. At least, not if you are like me with dreams of a porch swing large enough for a twin size mattress that would fit all your babies, fur and human.
My husband put his thinking cap on and decided to build the frame out of 4 x 6’s. These are big pieces of lumber. Add a standard twin size mattress, which is 38 x 75 inches, making the overall size of the frame, with the mattress in it a total of 45 x 83 inches.
First, he cut two beams at 45” with a 45 degree angle on them and two beams cut at 83” with a 45 degree angle (the frame looks sort of like a very large picture frame). He fastened the corners together with 5” long lag screws.
Prior to assembly, my husband cut a groove into the long center of each of the long beams. This was to fit the slats that actually hold up the mattress. The groove is an inch wide and an inch deep and houses each of the fourteen 1 x 8 slats cut to 41”. The groove was cut with multiple passes on a table saw, or if you have a carpentry savvy friend, with a dado-blade.
Once the base was assembled, he wanted to add the daybed style uprights on both the sides and the back of the swing. He decided to use 4 x 4’s on each corner to match the look of the beams used on the base. He connected the back and two sides with 1 x 4’s and installed custom cut uprights made from 1 x 6’s. These serve as the back of the swing and the two armrests. For the carpenters out there, all the joinery for the back and arm rests are mortise and tenon joints that my husband cut using a table saw and router. All joints were clamped and glued with Titebond wood glue. He finished it off with a wooden ball top on each of the four corners.
Once the bed was assembled, it was time for touchups. We used a simple wood putty to hide any cosmetic errors and then painted the entire swing black with a clear-coat sealant.
Viola! We had a beautiful porch swing, ready to be hung- I could almost taste the first glass of celebratory wine…but, alas, there was SO much left to be done!
For some reason, I didn’t consider the weight of building a swing out of large beams! My husband informed me that there was a very real chance of hanging this gorgeous swing, only to have it rip out of the ceiling the first moment anyone climbed on. So, yea…there’s that. Due to the swing weight, my husband had to cut out the ceiling and reinforce the porch roof.
To reinforce the roof, my husband ran 4 x 4’s across the existing 2 x 4 ceiling joists. This distributed the weight across multiple joists evenly.
The swing was then hung with lag bolts and 4 heavy duty chains on each corner.
With the porch roof cut open, I could see that there were 2 x 4 ceiling joists, set 24 inches apart. To reinforce the porch roof, we ran 4 x 4’s across the joists, and thus distributed the weight across multiple ceiling joists evenly. The swing was then hung with lag bolts and 4 heavy duty (1300 lbs) chains on each corner.
Of course, now we had a giant hole in the ceiling. Leave it to my man to find new and creative ways to defend the purchase of new tools!
We patched the ceiling with 2′ x 2′ squares of sheetrock (they are easier to maneuver than a full sheet), taped and put mud on the seams.This got a little messy as the tape is basically a strip of thick paper that is stuck over the seam in the sheetrock with sticky sheetrock mud. Once it dries, light sanding is needed before painting.
We also decided to install an outdoor ceiling fan above the swing, since we were patching the ceiling anyway. Plus, it can get HOT here in the summertime!
With the installation complete, we were finally able to add the final décor touches!
I covered my daughter’s old twin mattress with a custom outdoor twin mattress cover from Etsy, Purchase here and threw on some of my favorite pillows. Including the Beefcake Pillow by my friend Lindsey at TFD Style, Purchase the Beefcake cow pillow here! I grabbed a glass of wine and have been living on this beauty ever since! I am so grateful to my husband for taking on such a beast of a project, just to make his bride happy!