In this paper, sliding mode control (SMC) is designed and applied to an elastic structure to suppress some of its vibration modes. The system is an elastic beam clamped on one end and the designed controller uses only the deflection measurement of the free end. The infinite dimensional mathematical model of the beam is reduced to an ordinary differential equation set to represent the behavior of required modes. Since the states of the finite dimensional model are not physically measurable quantities, an observer is designed to estimate these states by measuring the tip deflection of the beam. The performance of the observer is important because the observed states are used in the SMC design. In this study, by using the output information, an observer is designed and tested to estimate the states of the finite dimensional model of the beam. Then the designed SMC is applied to the experimental beam system which gives satisfactory suppressed vibrations.