How to Build a Porch Swing Using PVC Pipes
When the weather's right, you'll find few pleasures so sweet as sitting on a porch swing with a book or a glass of something cool. While it's possible to find sophisticated swings made with wooden slats or lined with cushions, a simple PVC frame and a sling of fabric form a perfectly serviceable swing you can make yourself.
Select a width for the seat of your swing based on your anticipated use and the size of your porch. Cut three pieces of PVC to the height of your seat back. Cut three pieces to the depth of your seat bottom. Cut four pieces to one-half your desired chair width.
Use sandpaper or a metal file to roughen the ends of your pre-cut PVC pipes. Lay out the piping on the ground to represent the assembled seat, which should have a single support brace running up and down along its center. Attach all of the pieces, coating them with PVC cement, except for one lateral side.
Sew a rectangle of fabric with two 2-inch channels at each end. Make the channel sides the width of your chair, minus the elbow connectors and side pieces. Make the plain sides of the rectangle equal to the height of the chair back and the depth of the chair bottom, combined. Slip the loops onto the upper and lower parts of the seat. Use PVC cement to attach the final lateral piece after the fabric is in place.
Use the electric drill to gouge holes into the sides of your seat, one on the seat back and one on the seat bottom. Align the holes so they are on the horizontal when the entire seat is sitting at a desirable angle. As a rough guide, you can place the seat-back holes about 6 inches from the bend in the elbow connector and the seat-bottom holes about 4 inches from the bend in the elbow connector.
Use four elbow connectors and four pieces of PVC to create a rectangular or square frame. Follow the same process as for the seat, first filing and then applying PVC cement. Size the frame so that the seat sits in it snugly, with the frame perfectly horizontal and lined up with the holes. Drill holes in the frame to match the seat holes. Put carriage bolts through the holes and finish them with washers and cap nuts.
The Frame and Assembly
Use the stud finder to locate a joist in the porch ceiling. Drive two 6-inch eye-bolts into the joist. Space the bolts so they align with the outer edges of the swing.
Drill four holes into the lateral pieces of the swing's seat back. Place one toward the top and another at the bottom, each just 2 to 3 inches from the elbow connectors. Thread carabiners through each of the holes.
Thread one end of your chain through one carabiner. Have two partners hoist the swing to its desired height. Hook the chain onto the eye of the eye-bolt suspended from the ceiling. Attach its other end to the other carabiner. Do the same on the other side of the swing.
Danielle Hill has been writing, editing and translating since 2005. She has contributed to "Globe Pequot" Barcelona travel guide, "Gulfshore Business Magazine," "Connecting Lines: New Poetry from Mexico" and "The Barcelona Review." She has trained in neuro-linguistic programming and holds a Bachelor of Arts in comparative literature and literary translation from Brown University.
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