DIY Pallet Swing Bed

DIY Pallet Swing Bed @themerrythought

Oh the endless things you can do with pallets! A swing bed has been on my “Mike To-Make List” for some time (oh how long that list is! 😉 ). And we’ve had some pallets sitting in the yard just waiting for a good DIY project. (So really I’m just trying to help Mike get things cleaned up outside…)
Swinging has to be my all time favorite childhood activity. And swinging while laying down? A lazy girl’s dream come true! And how dreamy this bed is. I could easily spend my days here, swinging the summer away. (That’s definitely wishful thinking! Even though it looks like that’s what I do in these pictures, Caitlin took these photos after the boys were in bed. The only time we seem to be able to get anything done!)

DIY Pallet Swing Bed @themerrythought

There are a number of ways you can make these swing beds. They can be as simple as just using a pallet and rope. This DIY is for the specific way we made ours, which was to fit a twin size mattress.  It still was a very simple and quick project, even with a few extra steps.

What you’ll need:

  • pallets
  • 2 x 4 lumber (we used three 8-foot pieces)
  • drill
  • screws
  • saw
  • measuring tape
  • rope**
  • mattress or cushion (we used a standard twin mattress)
  • 2-3 vinyl zippered mattress covers


DIY Pallet Swing Bed @themerrythought

DIY Pallet Swing Bed @themerrythought

How to do it:

          • Measure the size of the mattress or cushion you’re putting on the pallet and figure out how many pallets you’ll need to use to fit your mattress on. We used 2 pallets and added additional pieces in the middle to get the right length for ours. (We added 12 inches to the middle. The total length of our pallet was 80 inches.) Take into account the space you’ll need for the rope at the ends.
          • Slide the 2 x 4’s through the inside of the pallets, one on each inside edge of the pallet and one through the middle.
          • Screw the 2 x 4’s to the sides and middle of the pallet.
          • If needed, add additional boards from another pallet to your main piece, we added two boards from a broken down pallet to the middle of ours.
          • Cut off 2 x 4’s that are hanging past the length of the pallets.
          • Drill holes in the four corners of the pallet, both the top and bottom boards of the pallet. Make sure the hole is big enough for the rope to fit through.
          • Thread the rope through the hole, making sure rope goes under the bottom of the pallet and around the 2×4 (see picture below).  Tie securely.  
          • Tie rope securely to tree.
          • Enclose mattress in vinyl covers.  Place on top of swing.

*Not necessary, but will keep your mattress dry & protected
**We used a solid braid pro-grade rope. Look for a rope that won’t rot or break down easily and that has a high working load limit – 700 pounds or higher would be ideal. They have a big selection in home improvement stores, like Home Depot (where ours is from).

DIY Pallet Swing Bed @themerrythought

We also covered our mattress with 2 vinyl zippered mattress covers to protect it from moisture and bugs.  Ugh – these bugs.  I think I’ll actually enjoy using this swing more come fall – with cooler air and less bugs around!  (And while we’re talking about summer, I’ll just mention that I realize I have dirty feet in these pictures…I like to refer to them as “summer feet”.  Cause I run around in sandals or barefoot all summer.).

DIY Pallet Swing Bed @themerrythought

DIY Pallet Swing Bed @themerrythought

DIY Pallet Swing Bed @themerrythought

DIY Pallet Swing Bed @themerrythought

DIY Pallet Swing Bed @themerrythought

DIY Pallet Swing Bed @themerrythought

DIY Pallet Swing Bed @themerrythought

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Enjoy those lazy days of summer!

– Manda

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oh my goodness, this is PERFECT! ah! i want to come swing on yours! (and amen to the bugs… i would be swinging in a snowsuit in the dead of winter just to escape those awful little things).

That’s a great idea! Thanks for posting it! I hadn’t given thought to that part of it since I hope to make this soon. Yes, I want to protect the tree it’s going on for sure!

Mandy, what would be a great “pallet” diy, for the “swinging treeless” city folk? I live in the city so to speak but…..yet it’s country (does this make me sound stupid?) Any way, we are a country city with a population of less the 1,200!!! Just curious to see what you could recommend, oh BTW, my yard is extremely small!

Hi Kimberly – some commenters have suggested using a swing-set frame to hang their bed from, so that’s something you could try, just be sure it’s stable enough. I would also maybe try sizing it down and using a toddler/crib size mattress instead of the twin size. It’d fit better in a smaller yard, but still be cozy enough to sit/lounge on. (We have a toddler bed in our home that I do sit on, so I know it’s big enough for an adult, you just wouldn’t be able to “lay down”.) That’s all I can think of at the moment! Hope it helps! :)

My next project!!! Don’t have a big tree to hang it from but… I’m redoing my enclosed porch as we speak, there are hooks already in the ceiling from the people who lived here before us, they must have had a porch swing, lol, this is way better than getting a swing, thank you for sharing!!#

We’re in the country, but on a city lot and I love this idea. We’ve got a deck
section that I’ve been wanting to put a platform bed, but the foam has held me back from putting it in place. It will not swing, but how sweet would it be to have a covered spot to curl up and take a nap or read a book? :-) I’m wondering if the vinyl covers really do the trick keeping moisture out, and if it makes a noise every time you move around on it? If not, this is the ticket for my little spot.

We’ve had a little water get in ours, but they also did get torn from my boys jumping on it, so that could have been the reason. They do make a little bit of noise when moving around, but I don’t think it’s too noticeable.

Most Fabric stores sell outdoor fabric for covering furniture cushions. You could use that and “outdoor” formula ScotchGuard. Most fabric stores sell that also during the summer months. I’m thinking about using this stuff with a 6″ or thicker memory foam mattress that I can cut to the exact size I want. I like the comment about using a hose to protect the tree from the rope. Knots would hold the hose into place. Using an outdoor table cloth was a good idea too. I might add that in between the foam and fabric as extra protection. Maybe I’ll try all this before I sew it all together so I can tweak it if I need to. I want something that will breathe but still be waterproof. Thanks for the ideas!

Thanks Victoria. We’re happy with our country space. It makes a fun place for our little guys. And I grew up in the city with so many houses surrounding our backyard – so I can relate to your situation.
I am most definitely a bookworm – I could spend hours and hours reading every day if three little boys ever would let that happen! :)

Tessa – it’s a regular twin mattress. My husband & I can both fit on it just fine, but it’s not like we have tons of space. It definitely doesn’t swing too much, it’s pretty heavy, so you need to push it to keep it going.

We used a solid braid pro-grade rope. Look for a rope that won’t rot or break down easily and that has a high working load limit – 700 pounds or higher would be ideal. They have a big selection in home improvement stores, like Home Depot (where ours is from).

What kind of knot did you tie to keep it secure? I’m thinking of making two of these to hang under my deck for my kids to swing on…do you have any trouble with the mattress sliding around when you get and off it? Thanks!! :)

Hi Lori – My husband was the one that tied the knots for our swing, and I’m not really sure that I could write up the explanation for how he did it. Maybe try googling tying knots and see if you can find anything on the web? I think a video would be helpful to see, maybe there’s good video tutorials on youtube?? Sorry I can’t help with that. And no, we don’t have any trouble with the mattress sliding around, the wood is a little rough, so that seems to keep the mattress in place, even with the vinyl cover on it. So glad you’re going to make some – enjoy them! :)

Great idea… No trees here big enough yet.. But have a huge wrap around porch….hmmm… And to help with those mosquitos.. Plant you some mint around thoses trees,,that will help and smell wonderful.

Hi Nicole! My husband was the one that tied the knots for our swing, and I’m not really sure that I could write up the explanation for how he did it. Maybe trying googling tying knots and see if you can find anything on the web? I think a video would be helpful to see, maybe there’s good video tutorials on youtube?? Sorry I can’t help with that….

There’s an app for ur iPhone called knots 3D. It shows you how to make almost every knot out there. You can make it go slow or back up. It takes you step by step.

Hi Tyler – As mentioned in the post, there’s two vinyl covers over the mattress. So far, they’ve been keeping it dry, and we’ve had quite a bit of rain. Fingers crossed it keeps working! :)

Jacine – we bought a 100 foot coil of rope and had rope left over. How much you use will be determined by how high up your branch is (ours is pretty high) and how high off the ground you want your swing (we made ours so you could sit on the edge and have your feet touch the ground still – about how high up a porch swing would be…remember to take into account the mattress on top giving it added height).

Love the idea and love the “summer feet”. Being barefoot is natural and healthy. I live bare foot year ’round, even in the snow. I’ll definitely be making one of these beds very soon and I expect I’ll use it all year long. I can see me using a mosquito net in the Summer and a sleeping bag in the Winter.

This is an excellent DIY project! This could be hung from a tree branch, or if you do not wish to do that, you can sink 2.5 inch diameter or 3 inch diameter galvanized pipes in the ground(1 – 10 foot pipe for each side – for 2 “legs”) and hang the bed from that. 2.5 inch pipe or 3 inch pipe will be enough to hold the heaviest of people.

I love this, but can’t put pipes in the ground where I am and I have no trees. I AM however daydreaming about mounting this to a couple of 4×4’s or such and putting a canopy on the top, maybe a privacy blind up the back to keep my neighbours eyes out. What a glorious daybed this would be!!

I think I’ll make one, but I’ll attach a bug net like you would use over a bed in tropical areas. It’ll look like a canopy swing bed! If this happens, I’ll be sure to share pictures, thanks for the great tutorial!

Laura – I’m not sure why yours won’t fit…maybe your pallet is a little smaller? It was tight, but ours went through. You could use a saw and cut the 2x4s a little smaller. Or try a different pallet and see if they can fit through that one. ?? Sorry you’re having trouble with that.

This is such a wonderful idea. Also one of my FAVORITE childhood pastimes as well. Have been looking for a number of types of swings, (seats, seats w/backs, hammocks, etc.) I found an excellent idea when you and a few others mentioned “bugs”. There are many holistic and homemade deterrents. The one thing I saw that intrigued me most is a soapy solution. And even better yet, their idea of how to disperse the home made product. Soap is a very good bug repellent and killer. They use it in a BUBBLE machine. Guess I’m a big kid at heart. (I like going without shoes a lot and already have the bubble machine and no kids at home-lol) Thanks again for your brilliant idea(s) and keep them coming. And here’s the link for the bubble machine solution. Bubbles AND a swing…you can’t go wrong!!

We used a solid braid pro-grade rope. Look for a rope that won’t rot or break down easily and that has a high working load limit – 700 pounds or higher would be ideal. They have a big selection in home improvement stores, like Home Depot (where ours is from).

Hi Marc – my husband tied the knots on the swing. I’m not really sure how he did it. I guess I would try googling different kinds of knots, or searching for videos on how to tie secure knots.

Found you via Pinterest.
This is such at great idea, I wonder if I could use this and tweak it just a bit så I could make a porchswing with a back.
And a moskitonet should sort the bug problem.
I dream of sleeping outside when the weather is to hot in summer.

I love this! I’m going to buy the material and try to get my husband to help me. Several years ago we had a burst of tornados straight winds that took out my trendline. Do you think a steel hammock design would work for the pallet bed design?

Hi Paula – I’m not sure if it would work with a steel hammock frame. I would guess probably not, because the ropes seem like they need to be hanging vertical, but I’m not positive on this. Sorry I can’t help more…

Why not use an old kids swing set frame? It would be strong and cheap and you could paint it any color you want. Do you think this would work when you don’t have trees to hold the bed. If you were you were afraid it would tip you could cement a larger pole in the ground then put the legs into the cemented pole. This way you could move it in the winter or bad weather. Would this work?

Thank you Janice McElroy for sharing on fb. This swing in your yard would be the icing on the cake. Your place is home in every aspect of an back yard dreams or ideas………..Really is beautiful and comfortable….So well kept…….. Smile, God loves You….

If you have no trees big enough you put a 4×4 frame in the ground secured with concrete. I am planning on putting a couple by our fire pit also one could use pieces of a water hose to run the rope through to protect tree branches.

We made our pallet bed a week ago and just love it! We bring our mattress in every night with the rain we’ve been having!!! So glad I found this idea! My girls are enjoying it as well!

Hi Kimberlee – I can’t really give a weight limit for this as it will vary depending on the rope you use and the strength of your pallets (all pallets are different). Just be sure to check the working load limit on the rope you use, that will give you the best idea. (I gave details on the rope we used in the directions). That being said – we have had a couple of adults plus kids on our swing all at the same time and it’s still holding strong!

as an interior application, using rope pulleys, and securing into support beams, I wonder if it would work to pull it up to the ceiling to create usable floor space when not in use. The replacement to the murphy bed. thooughts?

I am thinking about making one for my daughter! She is 4 and lives being outside. I have a perfect oak that I have hung different swings to and still have room for more. I am thinking of downsizing the bed to fit her old crib mattress since it is just sitting around now anyways. Would be great place for her to take her daily nap!

We tied a knot in the section of the rope coming down from the tree, then knotted the ropes coming up from the bed above the knot that was already tied, to keep the the knots from slipping down.

I haven’t read through all the post but one thing I may suggest is using some pvc pipes cut to fit inside the pallet and run the rope through them so the rope doesn’t rub against the wood and wear on it.

I’m considering making this! But, I have a question about it’s “swing-ability” (is that a word?). Does this naturally sway/swing in the breeze, or is it so heavy that you don’t really move any more than if it were on the ground? I know this is an older post, but hopefully you still check the comments. :)

Hi Lindsay – I would say it swings like a porch swing does. It is heavy, so it doesn’t sway in the breeze very much, but if you sit on it, and push with your legs, it will swing and can swing high (depending on the rope length). We recently hung another rope from a nearby branch that goes down to the pallet swing, so now we can sit on the swing and use that rope to pull the swing when we want it to swing, without having to put our legs down to give it a push. Haa – super lazy. :) Hope that helps!

The amount of rope you need will depend on how high your branch is – so you’d have to figure it out based on that – you’ll need a lot more if the branch you’re hanging it from is high (ours is pretty high), and need less if the branch you’re hanging it from is lower.

For those who do not have good trees available for this, find someone who has an old (but still usable) swing set that child has out grown. Remove the swings and use the frame for your swing. Can be painted any color to match other yard furniture you may already have, just be sure to use something like rustolium (sp?) to protect from rusting, and you can cut an old garden hose to protect the ropes.

could one pallet be rigged as a swing for kids? not a bed swing, but a play swing? suggestions on adapting for this use would be appreciated! love your ideas!

This is so fab! Do you think that it would also work indoors for in a bedroom if you found a way to attach it to the ceiling? Any ideas how I’d go about that without ending up making something that’s going to collapse in the middle of the night?


Hi Rachel – it could probably work if you have sturdy enough framing in the ceiling. You’d need to use something like heavy duty eye bolts to suspend the bed from. You could check at your local hardware store to see if they had any thoughts on what would work best. Just make sure you’re certain everything is very secure before getting in bed!

Hi! I can’t wait to make one of these. But did you know your photos are being shared by some sites without giving you credit? I just deleted a pin from one of those sites and then tracked you down.

Yes, we’ve seen these photos used without permission over & over – it’s unfortunate that others can’t share & pin fairly and try to profit from our hard work! We really appreciate that you took the time to track us down and delete the incorrect pin – it means so much, thank you!!

Hi Sarah – I think it’s your best bet for making sure your mattress stays completely dry. That being said, you’d need decent storage space to be able to do that if you’re using a bigger mattress. We do not bring it in, but we used an old mattress that we were going to get rid of anyhow, so we knew we wouldn’t care if it got ruined. Covering it with a tarp when not using it is another option – we do do that sometimes.

Manda, Rope store guys recommend adding arms and hanging the bed from the arms, as opposed to the base, in order to raise the center of gravity to stabilize the bed (so it teeters less). Based on your experience, is teetering a problem? If you were to build a second bed would you add the arms and try hanging it from them? Would you change anything in the design? Thanks so much for your help!

Hi Debra – we’ve never had a problem with the bed teetering. It’s really stable as is, we wouldn’t add arms. We’d make it just like this if we were making it again. It’s been up for almost two years, and we’ve had no problems with anything other than having to replace a mattress (after leaving it out all winter, oops!).

This is incredibly beautiful!! I definitely need one of these in my life :) It looks like I have a new project for my Husband to work on this weekend! Thank you so much for sharing!!

this is a great idea, but you should use wood you buy yourself and just make the bed. Pallettes can be covered in toxic paint, and there’s no use in sleeping next to that for 8 hours and breathing in and out all night..

Some pallets are toxic free too – so I would say use your best judgement, as a lot of people can find toxic-free pallets. Part of the appeal of this project is that it’s re-using something that would just be thrown out, not going out and buying new. Our pallet wood was not treated. And this tutorial is for an outdoor swing, that’s used for short periods of time, not sleeping on every night. Although it’s very tempting to do just that – it’s so comfy! :)

I am going to try this, maybe with an air mattress at first, so I can deflate it and store in a smaller space during the winter or rainy season. Thank you for posting this. Was directed here by Country Living.