How to Make a Homemade Punching Bag – Cost: $5-$20

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Making a homemade punching bag is actually quite a bit easier than you might think. I’m in the process of making my first one and I’ll update this post soon with the final product, but to organize my thoughts and share the general concept of making a homemade punching bag, here are the steps:

1. Find a shell: It needs to be durable and the material should be easy to work with. The best potential materials I’ve found so far are canvas, synthetic leather, and vinyl. Leather would be great, but it’s too expensive, and can be hard to work with (although if I had some old leather lying around I’d probably have to give it a go).

2. Sew it together: I’m actually going to use my old Marine Corps sea bag because it’s already put together, it’s highly durable (it’s already survived 2 combat zones and more besides), and most importantly; it’s free 😉 If I decide to make one out of a different material I’ll have to figure out how to sew it properly.

3. Fill it: The key thing to remember is that it has to both “give” when you hit it (so it’s not like punching a brick wall – very unhealthy), and be heavy enough to absorb the punch without swinging all over the place. So it’s a good idea to use old rags, sawdust, and other soft/free items, but also utilize denser materials like sand and dirt to give it stability.  Quick Note: Another thing I’m thinking about  is lining the inside with foam or something because it may turn out lumpy if I don’t – I guess I’ll find out one way or the other soon – I’ll be sure to revisit that when I update this post.

4. Hang it: This may turn out to be the most annoying part of the process – I know I’ll need to find a sturdy beam which won’t be a problem if I hang it in the basement, but if I choose a room upstairs I may run into issues. The main materials are the chain and hook to hang it from – that’s easy enough, but finding a good place to hang it is even more important – I don’t want pieces of the ceiling to fall on my head when it gives out under the weight of the bag, so using a stud locator (or the knock-and-listen-method) will be critical to overall success.

Not a hook I can use, but if I could I would. Source: starmist1 on Flickr

Not a hook I can use, but if I could I would.
Source: starmist1 on Flickr

Max Total Costs: For me the cost should be around $5 because I already have a sea bag, an old chain, and plenty of rags and dirt. If you have to buy all the materials, it comes out as follows (I researched the prices on Amazon and added shipping costs and rounded the numbers):

1.Sea bag: $8

2. Chain: $6

3. Sand: I hope you have access to free dirt… But if not (or if you’d prefer sand), sand costs vary – I didn’t find anything on Amazon, but most home improvement stores sell leveling sand for around $3.50 per 50 lbs.

4. Hook: $6

Total Cost: $20

So even if you have to pay the market rate for everything, you”ll save at least $40 (the cheapest punching bag I could find online was $60). But more than likely, if you’re like me you probably have some of those materials lying around wasting space in your basement or garage – most of us can probably make our own heavy punching bag for $5 or less.