Choosing a crib was one of the most important decisions my husband and I made during preparations for the birth of our first child. We put a lot of time and effort (not to mention money) into selecting what we hoped would be the ideal place for the baby to spend the majority of the first year or so of his life. We ended up with a beautiful, solid wood crib that served our two children very well.
That was until about two years ago, when our 20-month-old-daughter (our second child) started to scale its sides. Reluctantly, we disassembled the much-loved piece of furniture and packed it away into the garage, promising ourselves we would find a good home for it one day. Shortly afterwards, we relocated to Charleston, South Carolina, and we took the crib with us.
Porches are a way of life in the South—rocking gently in a porch swing with a cool drink in hand is one of the best ways to spend a summer’s eve in South Carolina. After our arrival here, I spent months searching for the perfect porch swing that would fit within our budget, but to no avail. Then, as I was rummaging for some bird feeders in our garage, I stumbled across the crib, hidden under a dustsheet. And it struck me that the perfect bare bones for a porch swing were right in front of me.
A quick scan of my favorite inspiration site, Pinterest, assured me my idea wasn’t totally crazy. A few intrepid upcyclers had tried their hand at transforming a crib into a bench or swing seat, although none had left me a handy step-by-step guide.
At first, I thought this was going to be a very big project. I envisioned chains and saws and gluing and cutting. But, after consultation with my resident handyman, I determined it could be done fairly easily and inexpensively. The only purchases we needed to make were 8 steel eyebolts to hang the swing from, a length of rope and a second-hand crib mattress for the seat.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to how we upcycled our old crib into a porch swing, for under $40:
Supplies: 4 eyebolts with nuts, 4 eyebolts without nuts, and a length of rope
The first step was to remove the front side of the crib and lower the springs down to the bottom level, where the crib provides the most support to allow for adult weight on the seat.
Next we drilled four holes into the crib—two in each “arm” of what would become the swing, one at the front and one at the back. Then we drilled corresponding holes in the ceiling above the swing.
We screwed the eyebolts with nuts into the drill holes in the crib, securing them with the bolts. The four eyebolts without nuts went into the ceiling holes (we used a wrench to achieve maximum tightness).
Next, we cut the rope into four pieces, and then looped each piece through an eyebolt on the crib, securing it with a fisherman’s knot.
We positioned the crib below the ceiling eyebolts and looped each length of rope into the ceiling bolts. Using some blocks to support the crib, we adjusted the length of each piece to achieve the perfect height and tilt for the swing.
We then sawed off the bottom legs of the crib. This was mainly for aesthetics, to make it look less crib-like and more swing-like. A little bit of soft furnishing décor over the crib mattress and our project was complete.
Now we not only have a lovely porch swing to relax in on our porch, but we were able to save a piece of furniture full of memories that we can treasure as a family.
Jennifer Tuohy writes about the DIY projects she creates around her home in Charleston, South Carolina, for The Home Depot. Jennifer’s upcycled crib-into-porch-swing is just one of many outdoor plans she’s completed over the past year. To view a large selection of porch and patio furniture available online, you can visit Home Depot’s website here.