DIY Outdoor Baby Swing

Build a DIY outdoor baby swing with these plans.

DIY outdoor kid swing

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The other day, I joined a few of my friends over on Instagram to build some fun projects for our kids. I wasn’t sure what to do at first but decided last minute to put this little swing together and, let me tell ya, it was a BIG HIT with the kiddos! They’ve been swinging in it like crazy every day since I hung it up – I call that a WIN!

I built the DIY outdoor baby swing as a rope swing for a tree in our front yard, but it would also work great for a swing set. The seat is 12″ x 12″, so it’s a great size for babies to toddlers.

Enjoy the plans!


The lumber and cut lists are available for purchase. Your purchase also includes a downloadable PDF of the plans. If you prefer, the plans are available in the post below – you simply have to calculate the lumber and cut lists yourself.

Step 1.

Build the back of the seat as shown above. Use wood glue and 2 1/2″ screws. You can use pocket holes along the back if you want to, or just countersink screws right through the sides of the 2x2s into the 2x4s (that’s what I did).

Because the 2x2s are cut at an angle, the 2x4s won’t line up exactly flush with the top.

DIY outdoor swing step 1

I just positioned the 2×4 flush with the shorter side and called it good. Here’s a close-up to try to show what I mean:

DIY outdoor swing step 2a

You could also just opt to cut the 2x2s straight off (no miter). I cut them at a miter so the bottom of the boards line up flush with the seat. It’s up to you. Since the seat hangs in the air, it doesn’t really matter if the bottom is flat.

Step 2.

Cut the X back to fit. Simply place a 2×2 under the frame you built in Step 1, line it up on both corners, and trace where to make the cuts. Start with 2×2 that runs all the way across the frame, cut, and attach it. Then place another 2×2 under the frame, line it up with the corners, trace the angle at the corners, as well as where it intersects the full length cross piece in the middle. Make the cuts and attach it.

Use wood glue and finish nails (driven at an angle) to attach the cross pieces to the frame and to each other at the center.

DIY outdoor swing step 2b

Step 3.

Assemble the front arms and bottom of the seat as shown. Use wood glue and 2 1/2″ screws. Again, you can use pocket holes here if you want, but I just drove screws through the front of the 2x2s into the 2x4s.

DIY outdoor swing step 3

Step 4.

Attach the seat slats to the frames you built in Step 3. Position the first slat flush with the front arms, then space them 1/2″ apart and work your way to the back of the seat. This will leave a small gap at the back between the back slat and the seat back for water drainage.

I attached the seat slats about 1″ down from the top of the sides. Feel free to adjust that to your liking.

Use wood glue and 2 1/2″ screws to attach the slats.

DIY outdoor swing step 4

Step 5.

Attach the back to the seat with wood glue and 2 1/2″ screws.

DIY outdoor swing step 5

Step 6.

Attach the arms to the chair. I used wood glue and one 2 1/2″ screw through the back frame into the arm and 2″ brad nails at the front to attach them.

DIY outdoor swing step 6

**Optional: feel free to cut half laps on the front of the arms so the front guard sits flush with the arms. If you don’t feel comfortable cutting half laps, don’t worry about it. The front guard can just sit right on top of the arms.

DIY outdoor swing step 7

Center the front 1×2 guard and mark the location where the rope will run through it on either end. Use a 1/2″ forsnter bit to drill holes on each end of the 1×2.

Step 7.

Sand and finish the chair with an outdoor wood finish.

DIY outdoor baby swing

I used Cabot Timber Oil in Natural. This is my first time using it, but so far it seems like a great product! It went on easily and sealed the wood really well. We had a HUGE rain storm here the other night and there’s no signs of water seeping into any joints or end grain or anything.

Once the finish is dry, attach hardware to hang it. This is up to personal preference and what you feel comfortable with your kids swinging in, but I’ll share what I did. Please test the swing before putting a child in it.

I used two 4 1/2″ Eye Lag Screws on the seat back at the top and bottom of the frame (for a total of four eye lag screws), 2 3/16″ Screw Eyes on the top of both front arms, two eye bolts through the bottom of both front arms, and 1/2″ rope. There’s probably more hardware in some spots than actual lumber haha! But, hey, no kids will be falling out of the tree!

DIY outdoor kid swing

If I did it again, I think I’d skip the bolts on the bottom of the front arms and just use another pair of 2 3/16″ Screw Eyes, but the bolts worked out just fine. You just have to make sure to stagger the bolts correctly so they don’t run into any of the screws you used to put the frame together.

Alright, there you have it – a DIY outdoor baby swing!

Please let me know if you have any questions and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Bitterroot DIY

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Reader Interactions


  1. AJ says

    My husband is so proud of this!!! We love your site. He now wants to make us 2 swings next to our baby’s. 🙂 Very cute and very fun! Thanks for having such a great variety of DIY items.

      • Sharon Wagner says

        We recently had our first grandchild and my husband want to build this swing for him! Can you please tell me what kind of strap that is that goes inbetween the legs and where we might buy one?
        Thanks so much!

        • tylynn_sattler says

          Congratulations! The strap was from an old backpack we had, but I believe you can buy them on Amazon or home improvement stores. I know our Ace hardware sells straps and buckles in whatever length you need, so maybe check there if you have one near you

  2. Nancy Daniel says

    Have a question. – I just bought the plans and I read the blog but I didn’t see on either one where it talks about the space left on the bottom sides where it looks like the seat is lower than the top of the 2×4 sides. How much room did you leave between the top of the seat 2×4 pieces and the top of the side 2×4 pieces.?
    Thank you!

    • tylynn_sattler says

      Sorry I forgot that dimension! I attached them about 1″ down from the top of the sides (close to centered). I just wanted to leave enough room to attach the bolts for hanging.

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