When you want to know how to make a tree swing, you’ll be surprised how easy it can be and how few materials you need.
The main thing is to make sure the swing is safe and secure, so your kids won’t come to any harm as they have lots of fun.
In our guide, you can learn what you need to make your do it yourself tree swing. So, come the warmer weather, your kids will love their wood tree swings that will last for years without fear of breaking. (Learn How to Decorate a Tree Stump in Landscape)
What Type of Rope is Best for a Tree Swing?
Swing ropes typically range from 5/8″ to just over 1″. 5/8″ synthetic ropes could be plenty for a two-rope swing.
You may find 3/4″ more appropriate for natural rope, which is weaker.
Similarly, you may want a 3/4″ synthetic rope or a 1″ manila rope for a single-rope swing.
The ideal all-around DIY tree swing rope is 3/4″ twisted polyester, which has a safe working load upward of 1,000 pounds. In choosing a rope diameter, strength isn’t the only factor.
Thicker ropes are usually more comfortable than thin ropes and provide a better grip. Twisted ropes typically work better for rope swings than braided ropes for the same reason.
Unlike braided ropes, if you have the expertise, twisted ropes can be spliced, which is a great way to make strong eyes and loops. Twisted ropes are less costly, in part due to the simplicity of production.
How Do I Make a Tree Swing?
Here’s all you need to know about how to build a tree swing in your backyard for kids to have fun. The entire project is easy, and you can create one in a couple of hours at the longest, besides waiting for your seat to dry.
Find the best site for your tree swing
Ensure the surrounding site is safe and clear of shrubs, rocks, or other obstacles that someone could hit when swinging or if they fall or jump off the tree swing in the tree.
You can even add wood bark chippings or another material to offer a soft-landing area.
Find a strong, healthy branch limb with an inch to a foot in diameter with a top 10 to 15 feet high in a healthy hardwood tree where you will be hanging your swing.
Choose a branch limb as far as possible that is parallel to the ground. Do not use fruit, evergreen, or other trees that may easily break.
Ensure that the tree limb is of long enough length to position the swing at least three to five feet away from the trunk. (Learn How to Grow a Christmas Tree)
Prepare Your Wooden Board
Start with a 4-foot long 2 x 8-inch pressure-treated (CT) board. Don’t consider soft pine for your seat as it is not very durable Choose hardwoods such as western red cedar or oak.
Cut the seat board to 24 inches using your hand saw or your miter saw.
Round the Corners and Drill Some Holes
Place a paint can or small bucket at each corner and trace around it with a pencil.
Use a hand saw or jigsaw to cut the edges and create a rounded corner. This step is optional, but it can ensure that the swing is easier to use and more comfortable to swing.
Now use the pencil to mark a spot two inches from each end of the board as your starting point.
The mark should be centered between the long edges. Drill a 5/8-inch hole with a drill bit in the marks and holes.
Sand the Board
Use sandpaper or sander to sand the corners and all the board surfaces until they are smooth. Wipe off the debris with a piece of cloth.
Paint or Stain
Paint or stain your wooden seat on all surfaces and inside the drill holes if required. For better effect, apply a primer before painting the board and let it dry. If you stain the board, let the stain dry thoroughly and apply a polyurethane coat before the next step.
Hang Your Chains
You will have to hang the swing with two 1/4″ galvanized or stainless-steel chains.
Measure the branch circumference, and add three inches to locate the chains’ length.
If the branch grows and you need to adjust it later, you may wish to leave a few additional links in the chains.
Two 5/16-inch galvanized or stainless-steel anchors with screw pins will also be required. The fittings help reduce the stress on the seam and facilitate, where necessary, the movement of the swing to the future.
Be safe, and lean a ladder rated for your weight against the tree. Make sure it’s stable and secure, and climb up to put the chains around the branch. Attach them 20 inches apart and at least three feet away from the tree trunk.
Get Your Rope Ready
For the swing, start with 100 feet of 5/8-inch diameter, hollow-core braided polypropylene rope.
If you prefer, substitute sisal, but use a supple rope, but slippery for kids to hold on to firmly.
Braided polypropylene rope, as natural ropes can, will not rot. Check it regularly if you use sisal and replace it when necessary.
Two 5/8-inch fender washers will also be needed.
To attach each end of the rope to each anchor shackle, make a figure 8 follow-through knot. Set the rope up to hit the floor in the center. Pull ropes from the ground to ensure that the knots do not hold and the chains are not moving on the branch.
Find the center of the rope and use a utility knife to cut through it. Hold both ends of the braided polypropylene rope and use a lighter flame to melt it to stop it from fraying.
Under each hole in the board, put a 5/8-inch fender washer, then thread the ropes’ ends through the holes and the washers. At each end of the rope, tie secure knots so that the swing hangs about two feet from the ground.
Adjust and Test
Ensure the measurements are accurate from both ends with a tape measure and level, or your swim will be hanging unevenly. If you have to adjust it later, cut off the excess rope, if necessary, leaving a few inches on each end. (Learn How To Dispose Of Fireplace Ashes)
Test it with an adult sitting in the swing. The weight of an adult ‘sets’ the knots to keep them secure and stable. When sitting in a swing, expect the swing to hang about two inches lower.