Remaking the Old Yard Swing

That worn piece of lawn furniture, sun, rain, wind – it has seen it all.  And then the day comes where it is moved from a place of prominence to the far side of the yard, under the wisteria, and then finally a shed to dry rot and eventually be thrown away.  Not this time, not today!

20130707_110124So Mom bought a yard swing several years ago and it has stood the test of time.  When we purchased a larger one last year, it made us think about the old one.  What to do with it now?  The green had faded and the cushions were starting to dry rot, so it had been banished to the shed for a ‘someday to deal with’ project.  Thankfully paint has come a long way and when we went to touch up some other pieces, we looked at the frame and went ‘why not?’


20130707_155339So we carefully cut off the cushions and took lots of pictures in case we wanted to redo them.  They were then set aside and we broke out the paint.   2014 “After the fact thought” Use a medium grit sandpaper lightly over the frame so the paint will stick better to the frame.  Otherwise it might scratch off easily.  After cleaning off the frame and letting it dry, we decided to use a heat resistant spray paint in a semi gloss black.  This worked really well for my bistro table and chairs last year, so we decided to make it all match.   We painted the frame and seat separately, it took two coats to get the right finish.  After it was dry to the touch we hung the seat back on the frame and touched up any places we missed and then set it in the barn to dry.  We then sprayed it with a clear finishing spray to make it more durable.  So pleased on how it looks!  Almost like new!


So in the weeks after we painted the frame, we pondered what kind of cushions to make.  We decided early on that we wouldn’t put the cushions back like they were, the frame would have to be further disassembled and we liked how the cushions were removable on Mom’s new swing.  So ‘to make’ or ‘to buy’ cushions.  I wish I could say that we made cushions, I know you want me to say we made them – but alas no.  We decided if we found some quality cushions we liked, it would be much cheaper than making new ones.  It also helped that we didn’t see any outdoor fabric that really wowed us at a price we were willing to work with.  This is a secondary swing after all.

So during a shopping trip to Paducah (where we made our executive decision about the make vs. buy), we stopped by our local Menards on the way home.  Now I’m not a big Menards fan (I’m sorry Marion), but we did find something we could agree on!  It was part of their replacement chair cushion line and it had a striped pattern that contained black (to match the frame), tan (to match the deck) and green – so it was pretty perfect!  The one down side is that they didn’t have a cushion for our swing, so we had to buy two chair sets and some accent cushions (to tie into the bistro set and the other swing).

So, since we aren’t sewing the cushions to the frame, what to use for strapping?  Alas, long ago are the days of buying any color chair webbing from your local hardware store.  Even online we had troubling finding something that wouldn’t clash with the frame or cushions.  The closest we came is a black strapping that you had to boil to make it stretch for a snug fit on the frame.  Doable…but if we could find something else…

What about wood?  What about wood indeed!  Once we settled on the fluffy Menards cushions, having wood for the frame didn’t seem like a bad choice.  Real or fake wood, the eternal question.  After chatting with a guy from Menards (with a huge Napoleon complex – yes fella, us ladies can use tools), we opted for real wood because of the widths we needed.

20130903_192344We measured the frame and decided an 8ft piece of 1×12 and 1×6 would give us the coverage and support we needed and the flexibility of working around the frame.  We are an equal opportunity home improvement store buyer, so we got the wood at Lowes (it also helps that they cut the wood so it fit in the car).  White pine with no knots was the wood of choice for this and it was really easy to sand down the corners and edges (go Mom go!).  Afterwards we wiped them down with mineral oil to pick up the dust.  Let dry.

20130904_163012Another perk of using wood is that it could also be stained to match the deck! Off to ACE to buy some rum raisin stain.  We then set up work space in the barn on a dry day and put two coats on all the boards.  This took a couple days to ensure proper drying.

To mount the board to the frame, we used these connectors that are normally used to attach wiring or tubing to walls.  20130914_175553These measure 7/8 and are made of plastic.  We used two brackets on each end of the board (about 3.5 in from the edge) and two brackets in the middle for support.


Here is the finished swing!  So pleased on how it turned out and it will look great next spring.20131110_144345 20131110_144516 20131110_144354


3 thoughts on “Remaking the Old Yard Swing

  1. This is exactly the project we need to do. My older son is going to do it as part of his Family Life Merit badge. We are curious to know how you fixed the board to the seat. Is there anyway you could send us a picture? We’re not sure how far to the edge to bring it. Enjoyed the post very much.

    • I wish we had a picture of placing the brackets on the board, but I can’t find one. We used wood screws though, make sure and measure the depth of the wood and bracket to make sure you get the right length and the screws don’t poke though. We also placed the brackets about 3.5 in from the edge of the boards. Yours might be different though depending on what your frame looks like and the amount of space from the seat frame to the hanging frame.

      After using it for about a year, something I wish I would have done with this project is to pre-treat the frame better before repainting. I would take a medium grit sandpaper and go over everything so it has a slight rough edge. (wear protective gear) Wash it good to clean off dust and let it dry before adding the paint. I need to add this to my post!

      This was a lot of fun to work on and I hope your son has fun with it too! Let me know if you have further questions:

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