Confession: I have about a bazillion baby carriers. For real, a Maya Wrap ring sling, a couple Baby K’tans, a multitude of slings, the obligatory stretchy Moby Wrap, a Beco Gemini, a BabyHawk mei tai… I could go on, but for the sake of not sounding like a hoarder, I won’t. I had my favorites at different stages with my son, and I justified my collection by actually using them – a lot. Then I found out I was having twins. (Say what?!) How on earth was I supposed to carry two babies at once? And so I was sucked into the magical and vast world of woven wraps, which are essentially long strips of fabric (a la Moby Wrap) but with no stretch. Seriously, had I known about these wraps and how easy it would be to put a two-month-old on my back (and another one on my chest), my baby carrier collection would look a lot different.
But how to tandem wrap is a post for another day. Today I want to share another use for the all amazing woven wrap: a DIY child-sized hammock. It’s perfect for apartment living (or for anyone who doesn’t have room for a hammock in their yard), for rainy days, or just for fun. And did I mention that it’s a great place to take a nap? My two-year-old is peacefully snoozing in his wrap hammock right now, making me a happy mama with some time to blog (and only slightly jealous that I don’t have a full-size hammock so I can take a nap, too). Best of all, you can set it up (or take it down) in a matter of minutes.
- A sturdy rectangular or square dining room table. (Don’t try this with a round table or with a table that is not very stable and “hammock worthy”.)
- A large woven wrap (depending on your table dimensions, a “large” or size 5+ wrap should work) or similar piece of woven fabric (14 feet is a good starting point). If you’re using your own fabric, make sure it’s heavy enough weight to support a child (don’t use standard quilting cotton) without ripping and that it is not stretchy.
- Pillows to place on the floor as your little one learns how to climb in and out (optional).
Step 1: Lay the fabric out flat under the table, with the middle point of the wrap centered underneath the table. You want to have the same amount of fabric on either size to make a good knot.
Step 2: Bring each end of the wrap up to the top of the table. Make sure the wrap stays flat and does not get twisted as you do this.
Step 3: Pull in enough slack (evenly from both sides) so that the bottom of the wrap is about half the height of your table. You’ll want to play around with this to make it the right level for your little ones to easily climb in and out. Wraps are woven in such a way as to still have some “give”, so expect that your hammock will be closer to the floor once your child is in it.
Step 4. Before you tie a knot, pull the “rails” or outer edges of the fabric slightly tighter while still maintaining some slack in the middle of your fabric strip. This will help “cup” your child in the hammock.
Step 5. Securely knot the two ends of the wrap together, keeping the rails tight. It may take a couple tries to get the height just right. The knot should be centered in the middle of the tabletop.
Step 6. Make sure your wrap is spread wide over the edge of the table. This is very important to keep your hammock steady and not as easy to flip.
Step 7. Test out your hammock! Place pillows or a big comforter underneath the hammock until your child has mastered climbing in and out safely, and be sure to teach them to center themselves in the hammock.
I can’t think of a cozier place to read a book, share a quiet moment with a special toy, and learn about balance in the process. And if you’re lucky, maybe your little one will decide it’s time for a cat nap, too.