DIYdiy projects

diy project: simple summer hammock

by Kate Pruitt

When Grace was in town a few weeks ago, we did a little shopping at some of the new shops in my neighborhood. While browsing the jewelry at Marisa Haskell, we noticed these beautiful striped beach towels piled in the corner. They were a steal at just $30 each, and I wanted to buy out the whole stock, but instead I prudently picked up one and decided to make a simple summer hammock for the corner of our backyard. The bright stripes felt so summery, but I wanted to fancy it up a little bit, so I added natural leather straps, which will darken over time in the sun. You could customize this with a number of different fabrics and even size it up for family hammock time, and in the meantime I’m on the hunt for an online resource for those towels..I’ll update the post if I find anything! Happy crafting :) — Kate

Read the full how-to after the jump . . .


  • cotton beach towel/blanket or piece of fabric at least 40″ x 80″
  • scissors
  • pins
  • 1″ leather strapping (if your sewing machine cannot sew leather, nylon or canvas strapping would also work)
  • mid- or heavyweight cotton muslin or canvas (at least 4″ x 40″)
  • rope for hanging hammock (I used this)
  • zip-ties
  • cotton twine


1. Lay out your beach towel and cut a 42″ x 80″ rectangle. Fold over 1″ on either long side to create a 40″ by 80″ rectangle, and sew up the sides.

2. Cut two 2″ strips from the rectangle of muslin/canvas and place one strip flush with the top of the hammock. Fold the fabric over the canvas and pin to create a sturdy 2″ hem. Repeat with the bottom edge.

3. Cut your strapping into 6″ lengths. You need 18 of these strips (9 on each side).

4. Fold your strapping in half to create 3″ loops, and pin 10 loops each over the 2″ hems at the top and bottom of the hammock at even intervals (about every 5.25″). The ends of the loops should hit the 2″ seam.

5. Place the hammock front side up into the sewing machine and position the needle over the lower lefthand corner of the first loop. Sew one loop at a time, forming a box with a cross inside to firmly secure the leather loops. Repeat with each individual loop on both sides, cutting the extra threads after each one.

6. Cut eighteen 8′ lengths of rope. Loop one strand through each leather loop and fold in half so the strands are 4′ long.

7. Create a huge loop with the loose ends of the strands and tie all strands into a big knot 30″ down the rope from the hammock. Cut the loose ends and wrap another length of rope around the loop (left side below). Then wrap thin cotton/bakers twine around the loop many times over until you have a solid, thick, clean loop (as seen on the right below). Repeat on the other side.

8. You’re done! You can now string up your hammock between two strong trees or any other secure setup (be careful!).

Suggested For You


    • Thank you for this wonderful idea. I need to build a loose standing hammock stand for a balcony. Can you give me any idea how to do it? How can I fit a hammock to a log home wall?

    • Great idea but will it hold up to a person sitting, swinging or sleeping on it? A towel is a great feeling fabric. If the entire towel is lined in canvas, that would be strong enough, but a beach towel alone? No way

  • Is this supposed to be 8-foot lengths of cord (rather than 8-inch?) going through the leather straps. Otherwise, I don’t understand how you could tie all the 4-inch ends together into one big knot 30 inches from the top of the hammock.

  • It looks fabulous and it’s a great idea, but how do you know a piece of fabric will be sturdy enough to support your weight? I’d be worried about falling through the middle where there isn’t the canvas support.

    • Hi Cayenne,

      You make a great point, using a very sturdy fabric is the best way to ensure a stable hammock. I tested this version with several people, having them be kind of rough on it (jumping in, piling several people in it for a while, etc.) and it received my seal of approval. However, I don’t know if it will stand the test of time. I might go back and reinforce the underside with a second towel, which would make it more than adequately sturdy. I would suggest using a tight weave fabric that is at least mid-weight, or if you want to use a looser lighter weight material like linen, etc. then I would just double up the layers. Hope this helps, and thank for bringing up this point!

      • I doubled the material I had and it worked great, it stood up to 4 grandkids using it constantly for a weekend..i’m pretty sure it will last way past this summer.

    • Exactly my thought! The towel for comfort but a full canvas lining would be necessary.

  • WHAT A GREAT IDEA! My friend and I were just talking about how expensive good hammocks are and the maker in me knew a good pattern would show up some day. This is PERFECT!

  • Yes!! I was thinking about buying one for a wedding gift, but I’m going to make one instead! And embroider it with their last name!! This is great! Thank you!!

  • Hey Kate! Thank you so much for the post–I was needing a fun gift idea for an upcoming wedding! Any update on an online seller for the towel? I’m on the hunt for a sturdy material but love the towel you used. Thanks!

  • Hi! This looks like such a fun project. Where do you find the leather strapping? Thanks so much!

  • So funny that I came across this site. I have a ton of summer backyard updates to finish and I told my husband I thought it would be cool to add a hammock to the yard. This seems simple enough (although I don’t know the slightest thing about using a sewing machine!)

    What a lovely job! Thanks for sharing

  • Can you leave a better description on tying up the knot? Slip knot? Whipping Knot? I think I have it together but would like some clarity.

  • Also, I used a solid heavy duty curtain. Also, you could use a shower curtain so it will be good for rain etc… Does anyone have pictures of the ones they created?

  • If you don’t have a tree you can use 2×4 posts! Just dig a hole and use some concrete mix to hold them in place as You would for a mail box post. put a large screw eye at the top of each and you have an inexpensive hamock stand.

  • I loved this idea and tried making this out of a towel. It worked beautifully for about 10 minutes and then the material ripped. I definitely recommend getting a sturdy material and if you notice in the pictures above, its not a towel that was used. I’m definitely going to make a different one but with better/stronger material.

  • I like the canvas drop cloth idea. Strong fabric. And can be bought for under $20 at home improvement – for a 6′ x 9′ cloth.

  • How much wieght could a beach towel really hold? Where do you get the supplies? How much all together does this project cost?

  • You can pick up painter’s canvas for cheap. It’s just the drop cloth they use. I’ve made market bags out of this stuff and it would be really sturdy with another layer of linen or toweling. I am keeping this post! Great idea here.

  • lovely description, and another version is to thread a wooden pole through the leather loops as well, to stiffen the ends, helps stop it folding round you quite so much when in it?

  • I have a hammock frame and I’m trying to find a hammock pattern that will work with my frame. I can send you a picture if you think you can help me. It was my dad’s it’s at least 40 years old. The hammock itself rotted away before we could make a pattern from it.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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