So you’ve had your garden swing seat with you for several years now, or maybe you simply inherited it from the previous homeowners?
Hopefully it doesn’t look like a horror movie prop.
But even if it does, you can make it new again!
And you don’t even have to perform an exorcism.
How do you do that? Well, the Kingpin's got the complete guide for you right here!
Why Does Your Canopy Swing Look Like it Needs Some Help?
The harsh elements, neglect and daily wear and tear have taken their toll on it, with its weathered canopy, peeling frame and discolored seat. Since you have enough time and money to spare, you think to yourself, “Hey, why not get this thing a patio swing canopy replacement to make it look good-as-new?”.
You could, but why stop there though?
You can do more than just fix it, you can make it even better! There are so many projects out there that can instantly turn your drab and timeworn garden seat into a unique and eye-catching centerpiece for your garden!
In today’s article, the Kingpin gives you several easy-to-follow DIY projects that won’t take too much of your time, but will make a huge difference on your garden swing seat. These projects are simple enough for you to do on your own on your day off, or better yet, get your family involved and turn it into some much-needed family bonding time!
Prepping Your Garden Swing Seat For Refurbishing
Before you go any further, you need to make sure your garden swing seat is ready to be snazzed up. Here’s a checklist to ensure that you’re fully prepared before you even begin, so you don’t need to stop unnecessarily during the process and you get the results that you worked so hard for.
- Depending on what DIY projects you will undertake, ensure that all the materials you need for the refurbishing are there. A half-finished garden swing is just plain awkward.
- Purchase all the swinging chair canopy replacement parts you’re going to need for the project. Fortunately, most stores sell swing canopy replacement kits which contain all the parts you’re going to need.
- Give your swing seat a good run through with a dry scrub brush to clean it thoroughly. This should take care of any dust, pollen, dirt, dried leaves and other particles.
- If your garden swing seat is made of wicker or wood, you can fill a spray bottle with a mixture of castile soap and warm water to clean persistent stains. For swing seats made of plastic resin and metal, just add vinegar to the solution.
- To get rid of mold and mildew, mix some dishwashing detergent and Borax (1:1 ratio) with warm water. Spray on all affected areas.
- Remove old, loose and peeling paint before you paint over a new coat. Even if you apply a newer coat on top of the older one, when the old layer peels off, the newer layer will come out as well. You can use a scraper, steel wool, sandpaper or stripper, depending on the material it is painted on.
Now that your garden swing seat is ready to be taken to the next level, here are some fun, easy projects you can undertake, arranged according to the different parts of a garden swing seat.
Creative Canopy Ideas
Whenever you hear about someone conducting DIY refurbishments on their garden swing seat, more often than not, they’re swing seat replacement canopy projects. Not only is the canopy the easiest thing to change and style, but even the smallest change and detail can make a huge difference to your garden swing seat.
With some of these projects, you don’t even need to sew a swing canopy replacement on your own. You only need to purchase a replacement canopy for swing seat and then add your personal touches to make it unique.
Making Your Own Canopy Cover From Scratch
There are a lot of swing canopy replacement kits both online and at your local stores, and it’s fairly easy to find one that fits your current garden swing frame. However, it’s no secret that garden canopy covers are meant to be practical, not pretty. The usual fare of plain colors and lackluster designs at your local hardware store might dampen your spirits.
Don’t worry; making your own canopy covers from scratch is very simple, and only requires basic sewing machine skills. This gives you more freedom when it comes to the design and style of your canopy cover.
The Best Outdoor Canopy Cover Materials
By creating your own canopy cover, you are free to choose whatever design,style and color you wish, as long as you stick to the following materials:
- Polyester - This is the most common material used by manufacturers for outdoor canopies and tents. It is water-resistant, durable and offers adequate UV protection. When purchasing polyester fabric, test the quality by feeling it with your fingers. Thicker fabrics tend to last longer.
- Polyethylene - This material is commonly used in beach tents and portable carports. It offers more UV protection compared to polyester, and is specially treated, making it waterproof. This is the best material to use when making canopy covers. It is more expensive compared to polyester, but I would recommend investing in this, because polyester is more suited for temporary structures while Polyethylene caters to permanent ones.
- Polyester With Vinyl - If you have money to spare, going for Polyester fabric specially treated with a layer of Vinyl is a great choice. While Polyester in itself is only water-resistant as opposed to waterproof, the vinyl coating solves this and more problems. Because of that extra coating of Vinyl, the matter becomes waterproof, UV resistant and fire retardant. It is extremely heavy though, so it’s not a flexible material to work with on your own.
As long as the fabric you chose is made from any of these three materials, you can purchase any color you want, from flowery pinks to outlandish retro designs. Once you’ve decided on your fabric of choice, it’s now time to create your custom canopy cover.
Materials and tools:
- Outdoor fabric
- Large sewing needles
- Tape measure
- Polyester thread (preferably with UV protection)
- Staple Gun (optional)
- Measure the dimensions of your garden swing canopy frame. This will be our base area. Now, go outwards from the base area. The measurement is entirely up to you, but 5 to 6 inches should suffice. This extra area will be the valance or flaps of the canopy cover. Add the necessary allowances for the seams and hems.
- Search online or at your local hardware shop for the required fabric for outdoor use. Remember to buy enough fabric to accommodate the measurements you took earlier.
- Now draw out the measurements on your newly purchased fabric and cut out the design using a scissor.
- You can use whatever design you want on the valance or flap. You can have scallops, triangular flags or any other shape you choose.
- Sew the seams to add durability
- Drape the new canopy cover over the frame.
- There are different ways by which you can fasten your canopy cover to the frame. If your frame is just a solid rectangular shape, you can just staple it using a staple gun, or better yet, drill holes into it and secure the two together using carriage bolts, nuts and washers.
- If your canopy frame has bars, you can also sew long strips about an inch wide. For its length, take the girth of the canopy frame and add 1-2 inches allowance. You can create button fasteners on all four corners of your canopy frame to secure it.
If your local stores don’t have any nice designs on their polyester or polyethylene fabrics, you can purchase any old polyester/polyethylene fabric. Once you have your material, go find a shower curtain, tarp, or tablecloth with a design and style that you like, and then just sew the two fabrics together, with the colorful shower curtain/ tablecloth/tarp on the outside, and the polyester/polyethene fabric on the inside. You can also use table cloths and shower curtains together with any swing chair canopy replacement cover in the same manner.
Weave Canopy Cover
Who said all canopy covers should be draped across the frame? If your canopy frame is made up of bars, you can do something a bit different which will make a huge impact on your garden swing.
- Any garden swing seat replacement canopy or any recommended outdoor fabrics
- You can use a swing canopy replacement that’s the same size as your canopy frame or larger; it’s up to you.
- Cut your canopy cover into equal strips.
- Take one strip, thread it over the first bar, and then thread it under the second bar. Make sure to alternate it similar to a basketweave design.
- Take the second strip and alternate the pattern. For example, if the first strip threads over the first bar, the second strip should thread under it.
- The result should look like a makeshift weave.
- Some people have taken it a step further, using lengthy strips which they then wrap around the post before tying it in a knot. This works best if your garden swing seat has a four-poster frame. Also, if solid textures look ugly to you, you can use mesh or fishnet tarps to give it more transparency. Of course, it won’t offer as much shade, but hey, it sure looks pretty!
DIY Seat Cushions
Finding outlandish and colorful designs for replacement seat cushions and throw pillows is definitely easier compared to finding a replacement canopy for wooden swing seat. There are a lot of manufacturers that offer a distinct lineup for outdoor cushions, with various designs and styles.
However, if you still want to make your own seat cushions and throw pillows, who is the Kingpin to stop you? Of course, there are some things you need to keep in mind first before you start crafting.
First off, the foam filling should be made of either compressed polyester, polyester fiber fill, polyurethane foam, open cell foam and floatation foam. These are resistant to water and can withstand extreme temperatures.
When you are out shopping for outdoor fabrics, it would be better if you used these materials: cotton canvas, vinyl, textilene fabric, and olefin fiber. If you are doing this DIY project in conjunction with your garden swing seat canopy replacement, you can use the same material, though it won’t be as comfortable.
Easy DIY Seat Cushions and Throw Pillows
The first thing you need to do is to measure the dimensions of your garden seat. Decide whether you want a single, long cushion seat, or if you want to break it into 2-3 parts. For this guide, we are going for a 2-seater, so we’re dividing the length of the seat by two. Decide on how deep you want your seat cushion to be.
Once you’ve measured the dimensions, go to your local hardware shop to purchase foam filling. Remember to purchase one that uses materials mentioned earlier. Have the clerk cut the foam for you, unless you’ve decided to go for polyester fiber fills.
When purchasing your outdoor fabric, remember to give extra allowance for seams. For example, if your garden seat is 40 inches long and 25 inches wide, divide that by two since we’re using a 2-seater. 20 inches, with 1 inch allowance on all sides. The two panels plus the allowance is around 44 inches total, so purchase material with a length of more than 44 inches to allow for errors.
- A normal seat cushion has 6 parts: two plates( the front and back) and four boxing (the sides). All you need is to cut each individual part and saw them together. We’ll use the existing example we have on here and you can simply change the numbers around to suit your own garden seat dimension.
- Panel A (the front) - Since this is a 2-seater, the measurements for two of the four sides would correspond to the length of the garden swing seat divided by two. So, for a garden seat that’s 40 inches long, two sides would measure 22 inches (20 inches + 1 inch on both sides). Then we take the width of the garden seat (25 inches) and add 1 inch on both sides. So Panel A is 22 x 27 inches.
- Panel B (the back) - the same as Panel A
- To determine the measurements for the boxing, decide how high you want the cushion seat to be. We’ll be using 7 inches as an example.
- Boxing A - We’ll take the seat depth of 7 inches and add 1 inch seam allowance at both ends to make a total width of 9 inches. For its length, we’ll borrow the width of Panel A, which is 22 inches. So Boxing A would be 9 x 22 inches.
- Boxing B - Same as Boxing A
- Boxing C - We’ll use the same measurement for the width as Boxing A, but this time the length is the same as Panel A’s length. So Boxing C would be 9 x 27 inches.
- Boxing D - Same as Boxing D
- After determining the measurements, cut each individual piece of fabric. Take all four boxing parts and sew them together at the width part (in this example, the 9-inch side). Make sure that the fabric is facing wrong side up and that you stitch them together in this order: A, C, B, D. Make sure to use a straight stitch using the sewing machine. The end result should look like a long strip.
- Once that’s done, line up the boxing strip with Panel A, and matching it to the side with the same measurement. Sew the strip into the four corners of Panel A, with the wrong side of the fabric out.
- Do the same with Panel B, except this time, leave one of the shorter sides open. Again, make sure that you’re sewing on the wrong side of the fabric. Sew a zipper on the remaining side.
- Flip the fabric right side out. Pinch the edges of the cushion cover together and then sew a straight line on all sides to create another seam. This makes the cushion more durable and gives it a sturdy line detail on all sides.
- Slip the foam into the cushion seat and fasten the zipper.
- Since this is for a 2-seater, we’ll make two of these. If you decide on a 3-seater or one long seat cushion, be sure to adjust the measurements appropriately.
Don’t have the time and money to spare for this DIY project? You can always buy a pre-made replacement swing seat canopy cushion, or you can wrap the fabric around the foam filling like you would a gift, and secure it with safety pins.
If you need throw pillows for your garden swing seat,
you can still use the same procedures, with a few adjustments:
- First, the measurements are up to you, but they should be smaller than the cushion seat measurements stated above.
- Forego the four boxing parts. Just take two panels of cloth together and sew them together, leaving one side open for you to sew in a zipper.
- While polyester and polyethylene foam is better for cushion seats, throw pillows do not need to be perfectly square or rectangular. You can make them circular or even oddly shaped. Because of this, you should use polyester fiber fill instead for the filling.
Garden Swing Seat Arbor
Even if you spend all your money trying to find the best replacement swing canopy cover, or the most comfortable cushion seats, it will all go to waste if the swing’s surroundings are bare and boring. That is why it’s called a garden swing seat, because it’s supposed to be in the midst of a lush, beautiful garden.
Now, you don’t need to go to great lengths to improve your landscaping, the easiest way to add a little bit more appeal is to create a makeshift arbor around your swing seat. So instead of buying a replacement canopy for swing seats, you can even leave your canopy frame bare as the arbor will have its own roofing.
- Miter saw
- Power auger
- Electric drill
- Concrete mix
- Lumber boards
- Lumber posts
- Safety gear
- Carriage bolts
- 6x6 posts
- Using the auger, hoe or shovel, dig a hole on the ground around 3 ft deep and 15 in. wide.
- Carefully follow the instructions when mixing the concrete. Once mixed, set the 6x6 post into the hole, making sure it is perfectly vertical.
- Ask a helper to hold onto the post for you while you fill the hole with concrete.
- Repeat the same procedure for the other three posts, ensuring that all posts have the same height and level.
- Once the concrete has dried,measure the posts using a rope to ensure that it is level with one another. Any excess should be cut off and set aside.
- Using the four posts as the basis of your framework, measure the dimensions of your would-be arbor top frame. Cut 4x4 posts to the desired length, and begin to assemble the top and side cross beams, support structures and trims. Secure all joints with galvanized carriage bolts.
Once the basic framework for the arbor is complete, you can begin decorating it. Here are some nice ideas:
- You can drape a mesh tarp over the crossbeams at the top of the arbor. If you can find beautiful mesh designs, then all the better. Although it doesn’t give you total shade, it creates pretty patterns when the sunlight shines through the mesh.
- You can use any old furniture to add to the framework of the arbor. If you have broken doors windows and arches, you can refurbish them and use them to decorate the sides of the arbor.
- Purchase quick growing vines and plant them beside your arbor posts. It should creep up around the post and create a makeshift vine roof for your arbor.
- Buy some Christmas lights and ping pong balls. Create holes into the ping pong balls using a drill. Enclose each light inside the ping pong ball and secure with electric glue. String the lights around the framework of your arbor (works especially well if you have the vines too) and watch your arbor come to life during night time. The ping pong balls create a unique, soft glow plus it protects the lights from the elements.
- If an arbor isn’t enough for you, simply adjust the dimensions to make it bigger and turn it into a full-blown gazebo.
How 'Bout a DIY Paint Job?
Upon seeing all the DIY projects mentioned in this guide, some of you might be thinking, “But I have no skill/time/money to do all that!”. Well, don’t fret, because there are easier and simpler ways to change the look of your garden swing seat without spending a lot of time and money on the project.
If you’re the type of guy who simply buys replacement garden swing canopy top cover fabrics and call it a change, nobody’s going to take it against you. Not everyone has the passion, time and money for DIY work. However, one job that everyone can do is paint. Everybody knows how to paint, even toddlers, albeit really sloppily.
So if all you have is a few 20s in your pocket and a few hours of free time on a Sunday afternoon, that’s more than enough to completely transform your garden swing seat.
As mentioned earlier in the guide, preparation is key, especially for paint jobs. Following the instructions stated at the first part of this guide, carefully clean your garden swing seat free from particles and peeling paint. For a stellar paint job, it’s better to start from scratch, meaning completely removing all traces of paint. If you have a wooden swing, sand it down for good measure.
Remove all fabrics like the canopy cover and cushion seats. You can set them aside, or if they’re also damaged, you can purchase a replacement canopy for garden swing seat later on. The only thing left on the swing should be the parts that need painting. If your swing is made of wood, you need to apply a coating of primer first before you start painting it.
Different Types of Paint
When painting your garden swing seat, the color choices are always up to you; however, the type of paint you use should depend on the material you’re working with.
- Metal - Look for paints designed specifically for metal use. If you want the paint to adhere properly, you can also use primer on metal surfaces before painting.
- Plastic resin - Spray paint works well with plastic resin. You will also need specific paint brands that are designed for plastic use. You can also use acrylic enamel as an alternative.
- Wood - Latex and oil-based paints are the best for wood surfaces.
- Wicker - Use exterior grade acrylic latex paint. Using a paint brush will help you get the colors in all nooks and crannies.
If you don’t know which paint to work with, spray paints are always the safe bet. Purchase one that has rust prevention and is UV resistant.
Types of Finishes
After re-painting your garden swing seat, you need to choose a matching finish for it. It doesn’t matter which you pick ( gloss, satin, gloss, metallic, textured, etc.) as long as it matches your style and the theme you’re going for with your garden swing seat.
The next your garden swing seat needs a change, don’t just buy a replacement canopy for swing seats and be done with it. You can use store-bought, pre-made items like replacement kits and make them your own by using your imagination.
Heck, you don’t even need to follow all the instructions in this guide by the letter. Instead, you can use the guide as a… well, guide, and make necessary changes as you see fit. So the next time your garden swing is in need of a replacement canopy for patio swing, take it as an opportunity to go all out. Go crazy with it, and go where your creativity takes you. After all, it’s your garden swing seat.
Do you want to spruce up your garden swing seat? Replacement canopy solutions may make your garden go from horror show to award winner in an instant.