Do It Yourself: How To Make Your Own Hammock

Instructions for making your own hammock for relaxing in the back yard, with only some fabric, rope and a little time.

What's more relaxing that lying around in your backyard in your hammock, napping in the summer breeze? Oh, you don't have a hammock in which to relax? No problem. You can make a hammock very easily out of some fabric and rope. You'll need 3 yards of some type of very durable fabric, at least 36" wide, needle and thread or sewing machine, and 50" of 38" diameter polypropylene rope, scissors and measuring tape. When choosing a fabric, select something that is breathable. Choose a fabric that when wet, dries quickly, or your hammock could mildew if accidentally left out in the weather. Remember, dark colors attract the heat more, so if you'll be using the hammock mostly in the hot sun, you might want to choose a light color of fabric instead. When possible, select a fabric that is wider than the 36" if there will be couples using the hammock. For the rope, choose a type that specifies "working load" and check the weight warnings. Select a weight that will hold at least the two heaviest people in your home. Since polypropylene rope won't mildew, it is recommended for this project. If you'll be using poles or posts, set them before beginning the hammock. Some people set the posts with eye bolts, but whether you decide on poles or trees, make sure it is sturdy enough to hold the weight of a couple of people. And remember, the further apart your poles, the higher up you'll have to tie the hammock to keep it from dragging the ground when you get in it. To make the hammock, hem the fabric on each end, and the sides, if necessary. Cut the rope in half and thread half through one end hem and half through the other end hem. Use a clothespin to help thread the tope through the hem. Gather the hem on the rope by scrunching it together, then tie a double knot to secure. Repeat for the other end.

Some hammocks are secured to the poles or trees with one rope that is tied around the support with a bowline or several half hitches, but you can also take both rope ends, loop them around the support and tie them to each other. Pull one end of the rope and wrap it twice around the support, then tie one end of the rope to the other using the Josephine knot, also known as the Carrick bend, which is easy to untie when taking down the hammock. To make the Josephine knot, take the two ropes on one end of the hammock, form one into a loop and place the loop on top of the other rope. Now take the end of the second rope and lay it over onto the bottom of one end of the looped rope, slightly below where the loop begins to form. Now take the second rope piece and place it under the other end of the looped piece, just under where the loop begins. Now bring the second rope piece around, over the top of the loop. Continue to move the second rope piece until it is now underneath itself and has formed a loop of its own. Pull both loops tight until they form a knot. This should hold your hammock in place.

You can purchase mosquito netting to put over your hammock, before attaching it to the poles. It can be sewn to three sides of the hammock with a zipper on the fourth side, or it can be sewn to one side, and made to pull up over yourself while you're in the hammock. You can also sew a pocket onto the side of the hammock for placing glasses or a book. This can be made from the hammock fabric or another piece of lightweight fabric. Even an old craft bag makes a great pocket for a hammock, just remove straps and sew onto the side of the hammock. If the pocket swings while you're in the hammock and this bothers you, you can instead make a pocket underneath the hammock for sliding in magazines and such. If you want protection from the sun, you can make a makeshift roof for your hammock by tying a tarp over the top. Another hammock accessory is a rope which you can tie above the hammock and use clothes pins to hang a flashlight or other necessities.



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