Upgrade Your Summer Porch Swing With Rope

POMP Rating: (Possibility of Marital Problems): 🌵🌵🌵🌴🌴 It can get prickly at times.

Factors for Rating: It’s pretty tedious. 🌵 It takes time and patience. 🌵 The hemp rope is hard to work with. 🌵 It looks amazing. 🌴 It makes the swing “swing” better. 🌴 It’s a great place to take a nap or have a cold drink. 🌴

Materials Used for Project:

1” Hemp Rope 13’ per side= 26’ total Rope and Cord online store

Stainless Steel “S” hooks, 4 Ace Hardware

Stainless Steel chain, 24” length (12” per side) Ace Hardware

Welded O-Ring, 3/8 X 2”, 2 (one each side) Ace Hardware

Stainless Steel Eye Bolts, ½”, 4 (two per side) Ace Hardware

2” Hose Clamps, 4 (two per side) Ace Hardware


Power drill with 9/16” paddle bit Harbor Freight

Jigsaw Harbor Freight

Ratchet and socket to tighten hose clamps Harbor Freight

Heavy Duty scissors Jo-Ann Fabric

Hot glue gun Jo-Ann Fabric

Project Overview:

I’ve always loved the look of thick, hemp rope for use in decorating here in Coastal Georgia. Rope evokes memories of tire swings, rope swings flying over a lake, and a good old fashioned paddle swing hanging from an ancient oak tree. (Yep, I had one growing up in Texas).

Of course, the porch bed swings hung with rope have become extremely popular and so beautiful – if you have a space suitable for it. If not, why not change out your boring chain on the porch swing for 1” rope? I did, and it wasn’t too terribly difficult. (Well, for me it was fun!) 🌴🌴🌴

Once my husband submitted to the project, #besthusbandever -it really did not take very long. There was about an 8 month long period where the rope I bought was just dangling from the swing, like “hint, hint – this is something I want”.

The silent period where no one talked about the rope or the project was long, but in the end this little project made a big difference in the way our porch looked, and we are talking about it now all the time. We are very proud of it, and we love sitting and swinging now that it is done. Here’s how we did it, step by step. (Lots of pictures of the steps, no worries). You CAN do this! #thinkpositive

Step 1: Remove Chain

Have a helper to handle the swing while removing the old chain. Once the swing is free, let it rest on the porch floor. This is a good time to upgrade your existing “s” hook to a heavy duty stainless steel type (especially if you live near corrosive saltwater like I do). Now, you need to decide how much chain you want to use. I wanted very little, so we opted for two 12” lengths hanging from the porch ceiling down to the O-ring where the rope begins.

Step 2: The Drilling

You’ll want to evaluate how large your existing porch swing is before drilling. If it is a standard size like mine, you can use the above materials list. Eye bolts must be used to allow the thick rope to thread through at the bottom of the swing, so my husband used a 9/16”paddle bit to drill larger holes for the new bolts. Use two per side, one on the front and one on the back at the bottom of the swing.

Just above each eye bolt, you’ll need to drill a hole in the actual arm rest of the swing for the rope to thread through. We used a jigsaw for this, carefully opening a hole large enough for the 1” hemp rope to pass through.

Two eye bolts on the bottom, two holes in armrest. NOTE: The rope in the middle is the finished look (rope covers the hose clamps that join the pieces together).

O-rings at top connected with S-hooks.

Step 3: Ready to Thread the Rope!

You’ll need a helper for this part, too. We used a 13’ piece of hemp rope for each side. You’ll need to measure how high you want the seat of the swing before deciding the length of the rope. Our seat measures 16” from the porch floor, and that was comfortable for us.

First thread the rope through the top at the O’ring. Pull the rope down to where you have equal lengths on each side as you approach the arm of the swing. With your partner holding the swing, thread the rope through the larger holes you just made in the arm on the front and on the back. Keep your rope in equal lengths on each side. Now, you are ready to thread each side through the eye bolts at the bottom of the swing, one on the back and one on the front.

Hose clamps holding the two ends of the rope together. Next add electrical tape and then dress it off with smaller pieces of rope secured with a knot and hot glue.

Clamp the Rope in Place

Use the hose clamps to join the two ends of the rope together at the bottom of the swing (just underneath the armrests). Use a ratchet and socket to tighten the hose clamps as tight as you can get them. To stop the rope from raveling, or to just give it a more clean look, you can wrap the hose clamps and rope in this area with electrical tape.

Cover Up Joined Areas

Now, you can take smaller rope, or simply pull the 1” rope apart and use half of it to wrap around the joined areas (clamps and electrical tape) at the bottom of the swing. Use a hot glue gun to hold the loose ends down for a clean look. I also used this technique at the top of the swing to give it a knotted look, purely for decoration. I’ve seen some people put huge tassels here at the top, or even at the bottom for a dressier look. Have fun with this part!

How Easy Was That?

Okay, so it’s really not THAT easy, but it is a great upgrade and you should give it a try. It really adds a lot of character and charm to an existing swing, and it “swings” better than chain. It does, really!

I don’t know what it is, but the smell of the rope, the feel of it in your hand as you swing, or maybe it is that creaky sound that it makes when it’s pulling tight that makes the front porch swing experience better. It is true that my hubs and I didn’t talk about how we were going to do this, or even do the easiest thing like watching YouTube or Googling it. (We're old-school, people!) We looked at pictures and we studied our swing, then finally broke the silence and got to work. Once he figured out the first one, the second one was a breeze! Okay, now your turn.

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