This project is an excerpt from Duct Tape Engineer.
This project is an excerpt from Duct Tape Engineer.

Waterproof, durable, and duct tape gorgeous, this hammock is, as always, 100 percent customizable — the combinations of colors and choice of sizes are endless. Your backyard guests will be impressed that the hammock you made yourself can hold up to everyday use.

All you need is a sturdy bamboo stake and a couple rolls of duct tape. Construct this hammock with outdoor-grade, UV-resistant duct tape on one side, and colorful standard duct tape on the other. When your hammock is not in use, turn the UV side up to protect it against the sun’s rays and keep the colors vibrant.



1. Cut the garden stake into two 3′ (91.5 cm) lengths. With the permanent marker, make marks approximately 1.88″ (4.7 cm) apart, along the length of each. (This is the width of standard duct tape.) Line up the two stakes 6′ (1.8 m) apart on a nonstick work surface and tape them in place with removable tape.


Note: Instead of the garden stake, you can use any rigid, strong beam that tape adheres to well, such as a dowel or aluminum rod.

2. Starting at the outer edge of one of the stakes, lay down one long length of duct tape, attaching it to the stake at either end. Leave a space the width of one piece of duct tape, and then lay down another long length of tape the same length as, and parallel to, the first one. Repeat all the way across to the other end of the stakes.


3. Apply shorter pieces of tape across the long pieces, forming a checkered pattern. Use a rotary cutter to trim away the excess tape along the long sides. Leave about 2″ (5 cm) of tape overhanging the stakes.

4. Lift the stakes from your work surface and wrap the overhanging tape around each.


5. Flip it over. This step is tricky and best done with a partner.

Working with a partner: Each person should hold one of the stakes at both ends. Lift the stakes and gently pry the hammock away from the table. Keep the hammock taut enough that it doesn’t fold and stick to itself. Flip the hammock onto its back and lay it flat.

Working solo: Hold onto both stakes and carefully lift the hammock to pry it from the table (Fig A).

Figure A
Figure A

Raise one stake high above the other. Make sure the stakes remain parallel to prevent the tape from sticking to itself (Fig B).

Figure B
Figure B

Bring the higher stick across the lower one. Drop the lower stick and switch hands. Continue bringing the higher stick across the lower one. The sticky side of the tape should now be facing upward. Use your free hand to pull the lower stick in the opposite direction, and then lower the hammock back onto your work surface (Fig C).

Figure C

6. Tape the opposite side. You’ll now apply fresh tape to the sticky side of the hammock. Be as accurate as possible: You will not be able to pull two pieces of duct tape apart without damaging the hammock.



Start with the shorter pieces. Unroll a length of duct tape wide enough to span the width of the hammock. Hold the tape at both ends. Lean over the hammock to get an accurate top-down view of the strip you’re aiming for. Hover the tape over the strip to make sure it’s aligned and then carefully lower it.

7. Apply the long pieces. Unroll about 12″ (30.5 cm) of tape at one end. Look directly over the section you are about to tape. Press the tape into place as you go, work- ing toward the opposite stake. Continue unrolling and applying 12″ (30.5 cm) lengths of tape until you reach the end. This technique is more manageable than trying to apply the entire 6′ (1.8 m) section at once.



8. The hammock mesh is complete!


9. Create the support straps. Lay a 3′ (91.5 cm) length of duct tape on your work surface, sticky-side up. (Taping the ends in place prevents it from moving.) Lay another strip of duct tape on top of the first, sticky-side down. Smooth the two to seal the bond. Use a rotary cutter to cut the strips in half lengthwise. Repeat six more times to create a total of fourteen 3′ (91.5 cm) straps.


10. Loop each strap around a stake. Fold the end back toward the strip, over- lapping the strip by at least 2″ (5 cm). Use outdoor-grade duct tape to attach the end to the strip.


11. Cut an 8″ (20.5 cm) length of outdoor- grade duct tape in half lengthwise. Pull all the hammock straps toward the center and bundle them with a piece of the outdoor-grade tape. Repeat at the other end.


12. Carefully straighten and stack the straps.


13. Fold the stack into a loop. Use outdoor-grade tape to bind the loop. Trim any long tails, but leave about 12″ (30.5 cm) of the straps extending beyond the binding.


14. Fold the 2″ (5 cm) strap ends back against the loop. Wrap outdoor-grade duct tape around the fold to hold it in place. This S curve of the tape prevents the strap bundle from slipping loose over time.


Your straps may appear a little crooked. This is normal. As the hammock gets used, the straps will stretch and straighten out.