Sunday marked the first official day of Spring which means it is porch swing weather! Last May (5.24.20 to be exact) Casey built me a daybed porch swing for our back porch as a wedding gift and it is my favorite piece of furniture in our entire home.
Since then we have built several variations of our porch swing for friends/neighbors including the one photographed above which is the variation we are providing plans for below! This porch swing is made to fit a crib size mattress, so it is perfect for a smaller space.
Here are some other daybeds that we have built!
Stain applicator or rag
Wood conditioner: Amazon
Black stain: Amazon
Outdoor Spar Urethane finish: Amazon
1 1/4" nails
3/8" x 4" eye screws
3/8" x 4" eye bolts
1 x 3 pine or wood of choice for trim, posts, armrests, and back middle support
1 x 6 pine or wood of choice for back and side slats
1 x 8 pine or wood of choice for outer frame
2 x 4 pine or wood of choice for inner frame
PART 1: BUILDING THE FRAME
Assemble the frame using wood glue and brad nails at each joint. Remember, the wood glue is what actually holds everything together! The nails are just there to lock it in place until the glue is dry.
2. Attach the inner frame starting with the shorter sides using wood glue and nails. Make sure the nails you are using are slightly shorter than the combined width of the outer+inner frames as you do not want the nail ends poking out. We nailed from the inside out with 2" nails so that we would have less nail holes to fill.
3. Assemble the four posts separately prior to installing them to the outer frame. The two taller posts will be in the back and the two shorter will be in the front. Use wood glue and nails to form a butt joint for each post. Try to assemble your posts on an even surface to ensure they are level. If one side is slightly taller than the other it is ok, simply use your orbital sander and 80 grit sandpaper to level off the top of the post.
4. Though the wood glue takes at least 4 hours to dry, the nails will hold the post together allowing for quick installation of the posts to the frame. Apply wood glue on the inside of the posts where it will adhere to the outer frame, and use 1 1/4" nails to secure it to the frame.
5. Here comes the fun and EASY part. Begin installing your back supports from the inside to the outside. We wanted a 1inch gap between the boards, so we cut two 1in pieces of scrap wood to serve as spacers while installing the back pieces. The very top back piece should be level with the top of the post. For a more even finish you can sand down the top of the post and back piece to ensure they are level.
6. Follow the same procedure as step 5 to install the side planks of the daybed. Once again nail from the inside out using 1 1/4" nails to avoid nail holes and make sure to use wood glue on both ends where the short planks will join the long plank in addition to where the short plank will attach to the post.
7. Time for the only "non-square" cut of the build. Use a jigsaw or some similar tool to cut out a 3/4" by 2 1/2" notch on the end of the armrest. This allows the armrest to slide between the slats on the back, while keeping it flush with the posts.
8. Attach a board across the top of the back.
9. Finally on to the trim! Install a 1 x3 board around the bottom of each side. Next attach the middle back support. Use wood glue in areas where the support will adhere to the planks making sure not to apply wood glue in the gaps. This time we nailed from the outside to the inside as the inside of the back will be visible more than the outside. Every nail hole gets filled, but we like to avoid imperfections when we can.
10. The final step of building the frame is to attach the bottom support slats. We installed 6 supports evenly across the bottom. The supports will sit on top of the inner frame. Make sure to use both wood glue and nails. Since this build is designed for a crib mattress, we didn't feel the need to add an additional support underneath the middle of these. You may find that necessary on a build for a larger mattress.
PART 2: PREPARING FOR ASSEMBLY
We used 4 eye bolts on the swing and 4 eye screws into the ceiling joists to hang the swing with rope. The eye bolts were placed on the trim 1 1/4" up from the bottom of the swing and 1 1/4" in from the post board.
Use a drill and bit to make a hole all the way through your outer and inner frame the same diameter as the diameter of the eye bolt shank. The eye bolts shank will pass through the hole, and you can secure it from the other side with the accompanying nut.
For the eye screws, you will drill a hole slightly smaller than the diameter of the shank. This allows the screw to grab into the wood of the joists. IT SHOULD BE DIFFICULT TO GET IN! Use a screwdriver or something similar to pass through the eye of the eye screw to give you leverage to turn it.
PART 3: SANDING AND STAINING
Sand the entire frame with 80 grit, then 150 grit and then 220 grit sandpaper.
Brush off the sawdust and wipe down with a tack cloth to ensure the frame is completely free of any remaining sawdust.
Using an old rag or stain applicator apply one coat of wood conditioner. Allow 15 minutes for it to dry.
Using a different old rag or stain applicator apply one coat of your stain of choice. The client we were building this for chose this black semi-transparent stain, but Early American is one of our favorites.
Apply a second coat if you wish for the stain to be darker. We did this for the black stain.
Allow the daybed to dry over night.
Using a foam brush apply an even layer of spar urethane. Allow to dry over night and then apply a second coat. We applied three coats in total allowing 24hours of dry time between coats. Do not skip this step as it helps to protect the wood from water.
Ideally we recommend reapplying a coat of spar urethane every year to really make your outdoor, wood furniture last.
And that's it! A porch swing daybed is the perfect piece of furniture to enjoy the Spring and Summer weather. You won't regret building one!