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:

  1. 1
    Mayan hammock
  2. 2
    Rope hammock
  3. 3
    Quilted hammock

These types of hammocks have inspired these modern adaptions and popular styles available:

  1. 1
    Drop cloth hammock
  2. 2
    Blanket (or instant) hammock
  3. 3
    Lazy day hammock
  4. 4
    Macrame hammock chair
  5. 5
    Beach towel hammock (or naval hammock)
  6. 6
    Two-tone sail rope hammock (If you are looking for an alternative to fabric, you can weave your own rope and create this chair)
  7. 7
    Paracord hammock
  8. 8
    Simple 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:

  • Drop cloths - Durable and easy to clean if used outside in the elements
  • Muslin and canvas - Soft and breathable while still stable
  • Ripstop nylon - Super light, but incredibly durable
  • Oversized plush cotton beach towel (minimum size 40″ x 80″)
  • Sail rope

When Would You Use A DIY Hammock?

person in a hammock

Image via Pexels

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

person lying in a hammock

Image via Pexels

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:

  • Drop cloth or canvas (approximately 6' x 9')
  • Sewing machine
  • Heavy duty thread
  • Braided nylon rope (40ft is plenty)
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Dowel
  • Hammock frame

Instructions:

  1. 1
    Turn under a 0.5" seam at the top and bottom (shorter sides) of the fabric and sew in place.
  2. 2
     On each long side, turn in 2.5" of fabric, twice, and sew in place. (Forms the casing for the ropes)
  3. 3
    Divide and cut the dowel evenly into two halves and then drill an 8mm hole at each end (1" from the edge of the fabric)
  4. 4
    Thread 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.

  1. 1
    Start 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.
  2. 2
    Place the hammock on a large flat surface, such as the floor or a long table.
  3. 3
    Gently 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.
  4. 4
    Keep 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.
  5. 5
    Then, 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.
  6. 6
    Keep going until the two loose ends of the rope measure about 1 meter, or 39 inches each. Make sure to adjust if needed.
  7. 7
    Hold 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.
  8. 8
    Repeat 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.
  9. 9
    Always adjust to ensure evenness before hanging the hammock on the frame.
  10. 10
    Loop it around the frame holes and then secure each rope to a tree, pole or fixture.
  11. 11
    Test the stability of the hammock and then ENJOY!

Beach Towel Hammock

red hammock near beach

Image via Pexels

A modern and vibrant spin on the Mayan Hammock.
You will need:

  • Oversized cotton plush beach towel (at least 40″ x 80″)
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • 1″ leather strapping (Alternatively, you can use nylon or canvas strapping)
  • Mid- or heavyweight muslin or canvas (at least 4″ x 40″)
  • Braided nylon rope (40ft is plenty)
  • Zip-ties
  • Cotton twine

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:

  • Suspension cords
  • Clothesline
  • Simple chains
  • Grommets

Instructions:

  1. 1
    Cut your beach towel down to 42″ x 80″ (rectangle) and fold a 1″ seam on either long side. Sew up the sides.
  2. 2
    Lay 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.
  3. 3
    Fold the top and bottom sides of the towel over the canvas to create a 2″ hem and pin in place. 
  4. 4
    Cut your leather strapping into 18 x 6″ lengths (9 on each side).
  5. 5
    Create 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.
  6. 6
     Place 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.
  7. 7
    Cut 18 x 8′ lengths of rope and thread through each loop, before folding in half. The strands should then appear 4′ long.
  8. 8
    Form one large loop with the strands and tie into a sturdy knot, approximately 30″ down the rope.
  9. 9
    Cut 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.
  10. 10
    Secure each loop to a tree, pole or fixture with rope, or the optional alternatives listed above.
  11. 11
    Test the stability of the hammock and then ENJOY!

Blanket Hammock

person laying in a blanket hammock

Image via Pixabay

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:

  • Sturdy blanket or bedsheet (minimum 6' x 9' in size)
  • Braided nylon rope (40ft is plenty)
  • 2 Separate trees, poles, or fixtures that you can secure the rope to.

Instructions:

  1. 1
    Collect up each end of the blanket (or bedsheet) and knot together.
  2. 2
    Create a Lark's Head Knot with the rope.
  3. 3
    Tie the rope knot under the knot in the blanket (or bedsheet) so it can slide past.
  4. 4
    Secure each rope to a tree, pole or fixture.
  5. 5
    Test the stability of the hammock and then ENJOY!

Conclusion

man lying on a white hammock

Image via Pexels

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


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