Build your very own tree swing with these tips
If you’re looking to get your kids outside more often, you might want to think about installing a tree swing in your yard. It may look complicated, but it’s easy to learn how to build one yourself. All you need is the right materials and a little bit of patience. This project could be complete in about a day or so.
First and foremost, you’ll need to gather all the proper materials for your tree swing. For this tree swing, we’re going to use a plank instead of a tire, but you can switch up the directions if you’re hoping to make a tire swing instead.
For a tree swing, you’ll need the following tools and materials:
- Tape measure
- Extension ladder
- Paint rags & clothes
- Drill bits and a drill
- Hand saw
- Miter saw
- Rope & chain connectors
- Wood finish
- Fender washers
Select a tree
Before you purchase your materials, you should make sure that you have a tree that will work for the site of your tree swing. You’ll want your swing to be in a somewhat open area. That way if your child falls off or falls backward or forward, they won’t hurt themselves by landing on anything.
Find a sturdy branch that is at least 8 to 10 inches in diameter but no higher than 10 to 15 feet off the ground. Make sure the tree is strong and that the branch is parallel to the floor. If you can’t find a branch that fits these requirements, you shouldn’t build a tree swing in your yard.
Ignoring these requirements could cause injury to anyone who uses the swing. The branch could break if it’s not strong enough. If you choose a branch that isn’t parallel, the swing could slide down the branch.
Make the seat
After you’ve chosen the tree you want to use, you’ll want to prepare the board. Pick wood that is strong and sturdy, like red cedar or oak. Cut the board, so it’s 24 inches long. If you don’t have a hand saw or miter saw to do this, you can have the board cut at your local hardware store.
You’ll then want to round out the corners of the board. This step is optional if you don’t have a jigsaw to cut off the excess wood. However, doing so will make the board more comfortable.
Then drill a hole at each end of the seat for the ropes using a ⅝-inch drill bit after you’re done drilling, sand and paint the board.
Hang chains and ropes
Use two ¼-inch chains to hang your swing. Measure the circumference of your tree branch and add three inches. Attach the chains to the tree branch at least 20 inches apart from each other and at least 3 feet away from the tree trunk. Connect the anchor shackles to the chain links on each chain.
Attach the rope to the chains and cut through it where you want it to end. Pull the rope through the holes in the seat and put washers on the rope before tying it off on a knot on both sides.
Adjust, test, and enjoy
Test your swing to make sure that it’s safe for child use before allowing them on it. At this stage, you can adjust the swing if it feels insecure or lopsided. Once you’ve put the final touches on your swing, it’ll be ready to go.
You may need to adjust it as years go by to account for the growth of the tree branch, but other than that, they don’t require much maintenance.