Do you want to make the most of your backyard this summer? Eager to just swing and enjoy the sun or seek a quiet place to read and nap? Then why not join the thousands of others who have elevated their relaxation time with a hammock? But it doesn't have to break the budget! You can construct your own DIY hammock for a fraction of the price of purchasing one and then customize it to suit your space, colour scheme and comfort needs.
What Is A Hammock?
A hammock is a sling made from fabric, rope, and/or netting, suspended between two or more points. They are used for sleeping, resting or swinging, and normally consist of cloth panels or a woven network of twine that are stretched with a rope between two or more anchor points, such as trees or posts.
Originally designed by inhabitants of the Caribbean, Central America and South America, hammocks have been used for centuries for sleeping and resting. The word ‘hammock' is derived from the Taíno word ‘hamaka'. With European contact in the 15th century, the hammock's concept was taken and later used aboard ships for crews and sailors to enable greater comfort and to maximize living space. The hammock's lightweight and effective design made it a desirable addition for future explorers and even the military.
Eventually, hammocks made their way into the domestic market and today are a popular choice around the world for relaxation. The most common types of hammocks include:
- 1Mayan hammock
- 2Rope hammock
- 3Quilted hammock
These types of hammocks have inspired these modern adaptions and popular styles available:
- 1Drop cloth hammock
- 2Blanket (or instant) hammock
- 3Lazy day hammock
- 4Macrame hammock chair
- 5Beach towel hammock (or naval hammock)
- 6Two-tone sail rope hammock (If you are looking for an alternative to fabric, you can weave your own rope and create this chair)
- 7Paracord hammock
- 8Simple wood & fabric hammock chair
What Is It Made From?
With different fabrics available to choose from, you have the freedom to design your DIY hammock. We recommend considering the following:
When Would You Use A DIY Hammock?
Hammocks are the ultimate symbol for relaxation and leisure, and making your own DIY hammock will provide exactly that. How you decide to use it is entirely up to you. Made for a variety of different activities, hammocks vary in design and function, depending on your needs. Hammocks are an ideal addition to any space for private relaxation, social events, parties, day-trips, backpacking and especially during camping adventures.
Using thin or lightweight material will make your DIY hammock perfect for travel, and the addition of a mosquito net will make it a great addition to any camping or backpacking trip. You can also use it to enhance the outdoor aesthetic and feel of your backyard, and opting for more colourful or lavish fabrics will always get you compliments at parties or social occasions.
3 Ways To Make A Hammock
The possibilities for customizing your DIY hammock are endless, so we will focus on the construction of 3 different styles and leave the creativity to you! We will explore the drop cloth, beach towel and blanket hammocks.
1. Drop Cloth Hammock
Drop cloth hammocks are the standard style you find in most backyards, as it uses a frame to support the shape of the fabric.
You will need:
- 1Turn under a 0.5" seam at the top and bottom (shorter sides) of the fabric and sew in place.
- 2On each long side, turn in 2.5" of fabric, twice, and sew in place. (Forms the casing for the ropes)
- 3Divide and cut the dowel evenly into two halves and then drill an 8mm hole at each end (1" from the edge of the fabric)
- 4Thread one half of the dowel through the base of the hammock and the other dowel through the top.
Now you have to prepare the ski rope.This is the rope that helps to extend the hammock so that it can hang between the two anchor points.
- 1Start by cutting the rope to 9 meters, or 354". Once cut, make sure to use a lighter, not a candle or hot plate, to singe the ends of the rope to prevent any chance of fraying.
- 2Place the hammock on a large flat surface, such as the floor or a long table.
- 3Gently thread the rope through the first hole of one dowel, and then push the rope all the way along the casing. Be patient, slowly threading it through, until it comes out at the opposite dowel hole end of the hammock.
- 4Keep pulling the rope through, but make sure to leave at least 1.6 meters, or 62 inches, of it out at the end where you started.
- 5Then, repeat the threading process by gently pushing the rope through the dowel hole in the same short side where you ended, until it comes through the casing at the other dowel hole in the side where you started.
- 6Keep going until the two loose ends of the rope measure about 1 meter, or 39 inches each. Make sure to adjust if needed.
- 7Hold one end of the rope about 8cm, or 20 inches, from its end and pull it back so that the weave opens. Then, with the same rope, push the singed end into the open weave for about 50cm, or 19.5 inches, and then press down on it and tug it tight. The rope should stay embedded in and will not pull apart, but make sure to test it by tugging.
- 8Repeat the above process with the other end of rope. Then, cut the rope in half and wind the ends around the dowel at the one third and two thirds points. Once done, open the weave and feed in the other rope end, pulling tight to seal.
- 9Always adjust to ensure evenness before hanging the hammock on the frame.
- 10Loop it around the frame holes and then secure each rope to a tree, pole or fixture.
- 11Test the stability of the hammock and then ENJOY!
Beach Towel Hammock
A modern and vibrant spin on the Mayan Hammock.
You will need:
You may also want to embellish your DIY hammock with lace and trimmings, and if so, we recommend adding them last to avoid interfering with the construction and stability of the hammock.
When using a fabric frame, consider the following alternatives to secure and suspend your DIY hammock:
- 1Cut your beach towel down to 42″ x 80″ (rectangle) and fold a 1″ seam on either long side. Sew up the sides.
- 2Lay out your muslin (or canvas) and cut two 2″ strips. Place one strip on the top of the hammock and one strip on the bottom edge.
- 3Fold the top and bottom sides of the towel over the canvas to create a 2″ hem and pin in place.
- 4Cut your leather strapping into 18 x 6″ lengths (9 on each side).
- 5Create 10 x 3″ loops with the strapping by folding it in half. Pin the loops over the 2″ hems at the top and bottom of the hammock at 5.25" intervals.
- 6Place the hammock front side up in the sewing machine, starting at the first loop on the bottom lefthand corner. Sew one loop at a time.
- 7Cut 18 x 8′ lengths of rope and thread through each loop, before folding in half. The strands should then appear 4′ long.
- 8Form one large loop with the strands and tie into a sturdy knot, approximately 30″ down the rope.
- 9Cut any loose ends, before wrapping another piece of rope around the loop. Wrap your twine around the loop continuously until it becomes one solid, thick loop. Repeat for both ends.
- 10Secure each loop to a tree, pole or fixture with rope, or the optional alternatives listed above.
- 11Test the stability of the hammock and then ENJOY!
We can rig this style of hammock with the normal two end points or in a triangular shape with three end points. It is the fastest and most cost effective option, but it is not as durable as the other fabrics, so may not last as long in the elements.
You will need:
- 1Collect up each end of the blanket (or bedsheet) and knot together.
- 2Create a Lark's Head Knot with the rope.
- 3Tie the rope knot under the knot in the blanket (or bedsheet) so it can slide past.
- 4Secure each rope to a tree, pole or fixture.
- 5Test the stability of the hammock and then ENJOY!
Sometimes, just sitting on the couch at home isn't enough! With the basic set of tools and affordable materials listed above, you can create your own DIY hammock and revamp your space this summer for the ultimate relaxation.
There are many helpful video tutorials online, so make those most of this summer and personalize your DIY hammock to introduce another level of beauty and comfort to your backyard and living areas.
Featured Image: Pexels