By special reader request, easy plans to build an A-Frame for swings or a bench. This would do well to be secured in some way.
As with all of our plans, you are building at your own risk and you should have a firm understanding of building in general before you attempt many of our plans (some are easy as pie and perfect for beginners). With that, go forth, have fun, take lots of pictures and share them in a showcase on the site or on social media with the hashtag #builtTDCtuff and we will share our faves! Be sure to tag @thedesignconfidential on Instagram / FB and @thedesconf on Twitter / Pinterest. If you are a blogger and you post about your build, don’t forget to include a link to your post on your showcase here. Don’t forget… for all of our newer plans, clicking on the images will let them expand to enormous sizes with much greater clarity. The older plans may need updating so please let us know if you need one fixed!
- Tape Measure
- Saw – Jig Saw, Circular, Table, or Miter Saw
- Multi-Square and Carpenter’s Square
- Kreg Jig – if you build frequently, invest in this one.
- Nail Gun – optional
- Router with Patterning bit – or bit set – optional
- 5 – 4×4 posts at 8’
- 1 – 2×4 at 8’
- 1 – 2×6 at 4’
- 4 – 4×4 posts at 95-5/8”
- 2 – 2×4 at 40-1/8” – Lower Bracing
- 2 – 2×6 at 14-7/16” – Upper Bracing
- 1 – 4×4 at 82” – Stretcher
Before beginning to build, always check in on my site to make sure you have the most up to date set of plans, I occasionally update and change the plans to make the building process easier or to allow for less expensive purchasing of materials! Read through the entire set of instructions and all comments before beginning this project. If you print out or save plans, be sure to check in on my site to be sure you have the most up to date set of plans, as I occasionally update things for ease of building or buying. If you are new to building, read through the GETTING STARTED section and other articles found under the BUILD tab in the menu on my site, it has valuable information about how to get started, tools and techniques. If you are unfamiliar with the finishing process, visit my Finishing school for some tips and tricks for painting like a pro and for special finishing practices. Use glue to secure your joints and Consider Painting or Staining individual sections prior to assembling. This makes the paint application virtually flawless. Coat with a spray on Poly or Wipe on Poly to protect your finish and your piece and it will last for ages. Adhere to all safety standards and guidelines, and be sure you follow safety protocol throughout your build. If you are unsure about whether you are building safely, run a quick online search for the tool or technique you are using, or contact me via email or post to the forum before you move ahead. My contact info can be found in the menu of my site.
Cut the pieces for the legs. Cut the angles as shown – all angles are 18 degrees.
Cut the pieces for the bracing. The angles in the sides of each piece are 18 degrees. Pre-drill the holes in the ends of each piece before positioning on the legs. Use one carriage bolt for each end of the 2×4 pieces and two carriage bolts for each end of the 2×6 pieces. Once the holes in the bracing have been drilled, lay the bracing in position on the legs and drill the holes in the legs. Insert the carriage bolts through the holes in the legs, then through the bracing with a washer at the end and tighten the nut. (The nut on each bolt will face out)
Also, pre-drill the holes through the sides of the legs to secure the stretcher.
Cut the piece for the stretcher. Mark the position for the hanging loops or other hardware and pre-drill the holes. Mark the position of the holes for the legs and pre-drill the holes. It will be easier to lay the legs on one side, position the stretcher (1-1/2” will overlap each edge and rest on the upper bracing) then insert the carriage bolts, washer and nut. Use a hammer to flatten the end of each bolt so that the nut won’t fall off if it comes loose. Use a helper to move the stand upright.
If desired, drill holes at an angle in the bottom of each leg and hammer a piece of rebar through the holes into the ground for added security.
Fill any Screw, Nail or Pocket Holes, Sand and Finish as Desired. For Finishing Tips and Tricks visit my Finishing School
33 comments on “Free DIY Furniture Plans: How to Build a Swing A-Frame”
Where exactly do you place the 12″ lag bolts through the stretcher? Horizontally, through the legs and the stretcher?
yep exactly! sorry that isn’t very clear in the directions – i shall fix that! you will essentially go through both legs and the stretcher.
Is this why an 18in drill bit is suggested? I don’t have one. I suppose I’ll drill the stretcher first, then drill through that hole into one of the legs. Then I’ll remove the stretcher and finish that hole and then repeat the procedure to drill the other leg. In my head this sounds like it will work.
yep, yep… sounds like it will work in my head also. definitely give it a whirl and let us know! it might be a pain in the @$$, but then again most of my own builds are a veritable testing grounds for the possible, and always done without all of the things I ultimately realize would make it far easier! hindsight and all that…
So with the 12″ you put one on each side through the 3 4×4’s? Where do the other two 12″ bolts go?
I have completed but having trouble stabilizing once I hook a porch swing on. Once we exceed 300 lbs it seems there is too much strain.
Do you think running an additional 2×6 across the back a the top would add additional security? Leg to leg.
Absolutely it would. But you could also add a brace on the legs, at the bottom or half way up-or both!
GOod call on the brace for a the legs I think I’ll do both. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Really appreciate the response. Fingers crossed
take lots of pictures and we can showcase when you are finished. and please definitely let us know what helps! this will be the intentional use for others as well so if they should brace or stabilize, it would be super helpful.
Success! On each side I did an X brace on the legs With 2×4 then 2 – 2×6 across the back legs one at the bottom another @ 1/4 of the way down. Held 3 of us totally @ 600 lbs. hope that helps anyone else having the issue. Really appreciate the plan onto the new project.
What a plan! I was told to get a hobby by the VA….have tried some woodworking in the past, but this is the biggest project so far and am glad to have found your site! What I did to stabilize the frame was use a 2×8 on the bottom of the legs with 2 cross braces coming down from each leg to that 2×8…I could not have come up with the plan for the A-frame though. Thanks for the plans….I am going to build everything you post!
yahoo! sooo glad you found me! love your bracing concept, that will definitely do the trick! my other thought was to use 4×4’s everywhere possible and on the pieces that need more length, use 4×6’s. then to add the bracing at the bottom of the legs. good call all the way around and i shall modify things to accommodate us grownups.
Just wondering when these plans will be back up. Thanks
literally in about 15 minutes! fixing up the remaining image issues as we speak and every single thing should be working gloriously!
I’m going to build a frame out of poer line cross arms. Is all my cuts going to be the same, the cross arms are 8′ long !
Power line cross arms
how thick are they? the length is fine and won’t change the cuts at all. the thickness of them may change the bolts you need and the angles (maybe) of your cuts where the legs attach to the main beam, but otherwise all else should remain the same.
Thanks got worked out great. Thanks for your help very appreciated!
I just finished building this for my 12 year old who loves to swing. The only problem we had was the swing wanting to move side to side. There are no braces to prevent lateral movement. The only thing that keeps it moving sideways is the four twelve inch bolts at the top. I ended up taking a 2×4 and running it down to the ground on each side from under the 2×6 at the top. This stopped the lateral movement but it doesn’t look as good. If you have any other suggestions please let me know. Thanks for the plans. They really helped!
In one of the earlier comments we were chatting about bracing that runs between the front and back lower part of the legs. This would form something of a triangle on each side and would help with stability and movement. BUT, something to keep in mind is that unless you build out of metal and secure with concrete.. there will always be a bit of movement, and this isn’t actually a terrible thing. It isn’t the most amazing thing either, but is just inherent would be helped greatly by securing your legs to the ground with something like long stakes or landscaping staples (can’t remember what their actual name is). I will see if I can’t make some adjustments to this plan and track down some cool hardware to help!
I did stake the legs into the ground. This prevents front to back movement when more than one kid is swinging in the same direction at the same time. It’s just the lateral movement that had me concerned. After my kid had used the swing a short while it started to look like a parallelogram with the legs angled in once direction. Putting the 2×4 under the 2×6, running at an angle to the ground and staking the 2×4 into the ground stopped the side to side movement. I just wish there was another way that looked a little better. I was thinking of using a 4×6 for the stretcher (4 inch dimension facing up/down and 6 inch dimension facing front/rear) and notching the 6 inch part to slide into 4×4 legs. This might help prevent side to side movement without angle braces. I’m just throwing ideas out there. Let me know your thoughts.
I definitely like the notching idea. Seems like it might do a great job at keeping those legs vertical. I am also wondering if it would help (in future builds) to slide the legs down to the very end of the stretcher then cap the stretcher with an additional bracing piece (that sits directly on top of the upper bracing) that would function much like traditional hardware would. Truss pieces that run from the original upper (lower of the 2 upper) bracing piece to the stretcher (making little triangles in the upper corners) will also help pull things in tight and stop some of that movement.
Actually, I do have my legs at the very end of the stretcher. I used the whole 96 inches as I wanted to put two kids swings and a small kids glider on it. The swings/glider are 17 inches wide so that left me with about 8 inches between each swing ([86-(17×3)/4]). I had a usable space of 86 inches since the 4×4 and 2×6 uses 5 inches on each side. I also turned my carriage bolts out so the nut is facing outside of the mid brace 2×4. This doesn’t look as good but prevents kids from scraping their arm while swinging since I had a small spacing. Just something for others to think about if they are building one for kids.
Do you foresee any issues if the stretcher is 96″ long
Thanks for the plans! I am building a large wooden airplane swing for my grandson (based on his favorite cartoon character) and this should be just the thing on which to hang it! A couple of questions before I start building:
1. I see four 12″ lag bolts in the materials list. Are you putting 2 into each end of the stretcher? (I’m a bit concerned that drilling two 1/2″ holes in each end will weaken the strength of the ends of the stretcher). The only photo of a completed project I see on your site appears to have used one 12″ bolt on each end.
2. Any chance you could post a diagram (or photo from one of the builds) that further describes the alterations suggested to limit side to side movement?
Much appreciated! Your site is great!
Thanks for the great plans! I am going to try to use your plans to create a dual function structure. I am going to install a hook with gambrel in the middle to be able to use this to hoist and hang game and medium-sized meat animals (deer and hogs primarily) for dressing, aging and butchering. I will also install wider hooks so that during the summer it can hold a swing. It will also be moveable as I’m planning to attach long sleds along each side and wheels so that it can be lifted up by 2 people and dragged to a new location. I’ll try to remember to post photos when it is done!
What is the estimate cost for this? As for lumber do we get regular wood or treated wood?
You can do either, for an outdoor swing frame, but in an ideal world you would use something like Cedar or Redwood.
I really like your plans for the swing frame. I was thinking of using them for a small child’s (my grandson) swing. My thought is to shorten the stretcher down to 60″ and as he grows and I need to put in another swing to just get another length of 4×4 and replace the stretcher with a longer one.
Does this sound OK to you?
definitely! I will be modifying these plans in the next couple of weeks to work as a more traditional swing-set frame. This plan was originally designed for a specific reader and their special requirements, but the modified plan should be more universal and hopefully allow for more swinging fun! ha!
I am looking to try and build this for indoors in my basement. Ceiling height is just above 6′. Do you think it can be safely made for one swing and would you keep the angle of the side supports the same?
I am trying to figure out how to cut an 18 degree angle on the top of the legs. I’ve got the bottom figured out. The plans, the angle shown looks like it is closer to a 45 degree angle on the right side of the drawing rather than 18 degree angle. Honestly this is my first time using a square so I could be all wrong so any insight on how to measure this before I cut it would be very helpful. I’m building this as a Christmas present for my kids and would like to get it done pretty quickly. Any other tips and tricks on how to measure these angles would be awesome.