How to Make A Hammock in 3 Minutes

A quick video to illustrate how to make a hammock in 3 minutes (or less).

Materials Needed

1 – 60×126 in Crinkle Taffeta Tablecloth
2 – Continuous rope loops

Optional Materials

1 – Gütermann Tera Thread
2 – Zip Ties

The tablecloths come pre-hammed on all the edges, so all that needs to be done to convert them into a hammock is to whip the ends (gather them up) and wrap a continuous loop around the bundle. The video illustrates the “W” whipping method where the end of the hammock is folded in a unique way to create the end bundle.

043-whipped-end 041-gathered-end-hammock

The second method illustrated in the video demonstrates sewing a narrow channel on the ends and using a zip tie to gather the hammock before the continuous loop is used to whip the end.

042-short-loop

The final method I discuss briefly is sewing a channel where the suspension is threaded through. If you plan on sewing a channel, be sure to use the stronger Gütermann thread.

  35 comments for “How to Make A Hammock in 3 Minutes

  1. October 29, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Great article! Would be fun to do as a project with our scouts. Any suggestions for some easy and inexpensive straps and hardware to hang them with?

    • Derek
      October 29, 2013 at 9:28 am

      This is exactly what we’ve been doing in my troop this past month: making hammocks! We were able to get some Bull Line and Mule Tape — a partial roll — from the utility company. This was super inexpensive and the straps are perfect. No hardware needed. We cut our straps about 7 feet long a piece and tied a figure-8 on a bight on one end and the other end is free. This way we can use the strap as the suspension. I’m teaching our scouts to use the Becket Hitch (aka Sheet Bend) through the continuous loop.

  2. Matthew
    October 29, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Thanks for the video, Derek.

    Is the W-folded end really secure? It surprises me that the constricting continuous loop is enough on a slick crinkle tablecloth. I’ll probably do the second method you demonstrate so that I’m not worried about slippage.

    • Derek
      October 29, 2013 at 9:31 am

      Yes, the W-whipping is secure, or you could just bunch up the fabric too. You do have a good point: some fabrics are too slippery for a simple whipping like this. When I made hammocks for my kids years ago I used a lightweight ripstop nylon and tried a simple whip and it was too slippery. So yes, only use this simple whipping on fabrics that are thicker and less slick! The simple channel method (non load-bearing) is very secure as a whipping and is my preferred method. This method takes a little more than 3 minutes as you will have to sew a single straight line stitch on both short ends, but it isn’t that difficult or time-intensive.

  3. November 9, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Very informative video! What are the height/weight specs for the 60″x126″ material? I’m 6’3″/250 so I was wondering if I needed to use a larger piece of material and if I needed to look for a different material all together. Your thoughts?

    • Derek
      November 9, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      Generally speaking, I would recommend a larger hammock. There is a 90-inch wide tablecloth that might interest you. If you have slept in other hammocks you will know best on what is most comfortable for you.

  4. Mike
    November 15, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Do you have a problem with your young scouts loosing the rope at the end that the suspension hooks to? Another Zip-tie to keep it on?

    • Derek
      November 15, 2013 at 11:32 am

      No issues with the tablecloths, but I won’t guarantee it won’t slip because there are all sorts of fabrics and end ropes to pick from, and some may slip. When I made hammocks for my kids, years ago, I used a ripstop nylon fabric and when I gathered it up it compressed so small that there was no “bundle” or stopper big enough to hold the end rope. I had to add some extra pieces to bulk up the ends. For thinner fabrics, I recommend sewing a channel and using the zip-tie method. This creates a donut-style bundle at the end that works much better as a stopper.

      Thicker fabrics like the tablecloths work pretty good with a simple whipping.

      The type of rope you use for the end loop also makes a difference. Smaller diameter rope will cinch down smaller and tighter and be less likely to slip of. I like the smaller 7/64″ Amsteel loops generally speaking for these types of whipped ends.

  5. Matthew
    November 17, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    So I made a tablecloth hammock for my wife today using the second method you show here. It turned out great. I’m surprised how big and wide and comfortable it is compared to my Hennessy. It’s so open. I think I’ll need to make a couple more of these.

    Thanks again for the information.

    • Derek
      November 17, 2013 at 9:56 pm

      Fantastic! I’m glad it worked for you. Adding the small channel is the way I prefer to do it. Still pretty quick to make. There are a few trade-offs the Hennessy has to make in order to have such a streamlined kit. Each has a place.

  6. Jon Tucker
    November 18, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    I have a name brand hammock that can hold up to 400 lbs. I was wondering if you knew how much weight these table cloths will hold. I need it to go to about 300 lbs to be safe right now. Thanks

    • Derek
      November 18, 2013 at 10:23 pm

      Jon, there is no definitive source yet on the weight capacity of a tablecloth. I have written to some manufacturers who have tested the tablecloths and I’ll post when I hear back from them. I think they are about the same capacity as “parachute nylon” hammocks, safe within 250-300 lbs.

      • Jon Tucker
        November 20, 2013 at 9:36 pm

        Thanks Derek. Just let me know when you get your reply from them.

        • Derek
          November 20, 2013 at 9:40 pm

          Actually, I got my reply last night. My friend Randy from Dream Hammock (http://www.dream-hammock.com/) was the person who “discovered” the tablecloth that is now commonly used for making this style of hammock. Here is what he said from his own testing.

          > “I built a few sample hammocks and tested one of them with 40lb bags of wood pellets (we heat our home with wood pellets) I got to 520lbs with no signs of stress in the sewn channel or fabric itself. The original test hammock was used for a few nights afterward by myself and I’m 265lbs. There was no difference in feel or stretch between this test hammock and the other unstressed hammocks. Here’s a photo of 520lbs in the hammock. http://www.dream-hammock.com/photos/Hammocks/Netless/520_2.png

          From his reply, I would say a 300 lbs (136 kg) capacity is within the safety margins.

          • Jon Tucker
            November 21, 2013 at 6:53 am

            Thanks again, great information Derek. I believe we are going to make this a project for our scout troop! Happy Hangin!

  7. Mike
    November 19, 2013 at 6:12 am

    Would a 90×156 = a “double” hammock or is that overkill?

    • Derek
      November 19, 2013 at 6:57 am

      My first tablecloth hammock was that size. It is huge! But very comfortable.

      • Mike
        November 19, 2013 at 7:10 am

        Do you have dimensions for adding a stuff sack to the side like the commercial brands? (For the 60×126)?

  8. December 1, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Hello there!! Just found your website. This is great!! Would this type of material w/ a proper sleeping system work in a winter environment?? This will be my 1st time hammock’n :) I would like to try hammock backpacking this winter and also not break the bank so to speak. I live in Southern California. I am going to do be doing 3 backpacking trips this winter all of them over 10,000 ft high in elevation…eeeckk!! Really appreciate any input from you or anyone regarding an inexpensive buy or DIY sleep system that will keep me dry, warm and a good rest, I guess lightweight too!! Thank you Rocky :)

    • Derek
      December 3, 2013 at 9:40 pm

      The crinkle taffeta material will be great, but you’ll still need to insulate the hammock. Your sleeping pad and bag will still work fine, but it can take some tweaking to get some cold-prone areas like shoulders and your derriere. I’m working a post on a primer to cold weather hammock camping this week so be on the watch for it.

  9. Rodney P
    May 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Great Site and Information!!! I converted to hammocks about 3 years ago and am loving it, when I can get the kids out of it. To resolve this, I’m planning to make 2, possibly 5, hammocks based on your ‘3 Minute Hammock’. I do have a question…will these tablecloths work as well as the one you suggest (http://www.tableclothsfactory.com/tablecloths-Table-Linens-Chair-Covers-Sashes-s/96.htm)? My kids like the colors better that the
    Crinkle Taffeta Tablecloth.

    • Derek
      May 6, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      I think you are good. I think I purchased one of these tablecloths by mistake one time and the hammock actually worked very well. That said, I cannot speak to the weight capacity of that fabric, so you will have to do your own testing or risk management. The sizes will certainly work.

      • Rodney P
        May 25, 2014 at 4:31 pm

        Followed your directions using the stitched channel method. They turned out great and the kids love them. I used paracord for the support lines (and yes it works). I took a 100′ of paracord and cut it down to 4×25′ and then doubled up the lines. I tied a double 8 on a byte and then tied a standard knot about every fist width for adjustments. Then I ran the double-bytes through the gathered end and crossed it over twice before looping the working end through the byte…pulled tight and done. If I could attached pics, I would. These are going to work out great this summer for our kayak camping trip on the Shenandoah River. Thanks for the great page!!!

  10. Bill LACIK
    May 21, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    you doing anything about a mosquito net and have you thought about doing anything to make a hammock out of tyveck house wrap

  11. jfverolet
    August 30, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Hello ! i made an hammock with this method, using an old semi synthetic curtain; all is ok but the center of the hammock is uncomfortable, because the center is tighter than the sides.It’s possible to do another way ?

    • Derek
      August 30, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      Very interesting. Did you sew a channel in the ends or just whip it together?

  12. Justin Carlin
    October 6, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Can these tablecloths be used as a tarp, by waterproofing them?

    • Derek
      October 13, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      I suppose, but it would be a lot of work. You can buy waterproof fabric for cheap and make a better tarp.

  13. Lucas A
    December 6, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Thanks for posting this. I made one for my nine-year-old son using a polyester tablecloth. At first I used the folded and whipped method, which worked great for him, but the line started slipping a bit when I sat in it, so I went ahead and upgraded to the sewn channel and whipped method. Now I just need to make one of your stuff sacks to store it.

Leave a Reply