Sometimes, the simplest things in life bring the greatest joy and pleasure. The same thing applies to your backyard playground. Although we want our kids to have the best play equipment, it doesn’t always have to be expensive and custom-built playsets, monkey bars, and slides. You can create instant outdoor entertainment by turning an old tire into a one-of-a-kind swing. You will spend less money, and your kids will love it.
So, how do you make a homemade tire swing? The first thing you need to do is pick the correct tree and identify a strong branch to hang the swing. Find the right tire size, clean it thoroughly, drill drainage holes in the tire, attach the eye-bolts, attach the S-shaped hook, attach a rope/chain, hang the setup on the branch you had identified earlier. You can modify your tire swing and make it interesting by painting it.
This blog post provides you with a step-by-step guide on building a simple tire swing for your backyard playground. Read on to find out everything you need to know.
Step 1: Pick the Correct Tree
Before you even think of building a tire swing, you must identify an ideal tree in your backyard where you will hang it. Ensure the tree is large enough and healthy. The branch where you intend to hang your tire swing must also be strong enough to hold the swing plus the weight of your children. Generally, it should be at least eight inches thick
If the tree shows any signs of decay or has cracks, go for an alternative tree. The other considerations you need to check to include making sure there is enough clearance between where the swing hangs and the trunk of the tree as well as the ground.
Get rid of any large rocks and any other visible tripping hazards from the area beneath the tire swing. This is by far the most critical step because it affects the safety of your little ones.
Step 2: Pick a Tire
The next thing you need to do is pick a tire. Be careful when doing this because thinking that “bigger is better” will only get you into trouble.
Without being too technical, consider picking a tire size directly proportional to your kid-size. For smaller kids, a bigger tire won’t help at all. The same thing applies to adults. So, if you are making a tire swing for the entire family, you may be forced to find common ground between the children and adults.
A 15” tire is always the sweet spot for kids below five years old. You can even use a motorbike tire for kids below three years.
Once you have chosen the tire, inspect both sides to establish which side looks better. This will be the top side.
If you go for a used tire, make sure it has some tread left to prevent the wires from popping through its surface and poking or scratching your children.
Step 3: Clean Off the Tire
If you are working with a used tire, chances are it won’t be squeaky clean. Therefore, you will want to give it a good scrub before you let your kids start to play on it. Keeping everything clean will reduce the chances of infections keeping your little ones healthy.
Use a heavy-duty detergent and scrub brush the tire to get rid of all the mud and grime. Rinse it thoroughly with clean water on the inside and out. If the tire is too old and needs a deep clean, feel free to use a pressure washer or take it to the nearest car wash station and let them use the high-pressure nozzles to get rid of all the dirt.
If you notice any residual grease spots, use WD40 lubricant or any other type of tire cleaner to get rid of them. Rinse the tire again after using the washing chemicals so that they don’t end up on children’s hands while playing on the tire swing.
Step 4: Buy a Rope or Chain
Typically, you will need hooks and ropes or chains to hang the tire on the branch. A polypropylene rope is a perfect choice for a tire swing since it can’t be compromised as a result of outdoor exposure. If you don’t want to use a rope, go for chains.
When utilized properly, ¾-inch polypropylene rope is strong enough to hold the tire’s weight and that of a potential user. The exact length of the rope or chain needed will depend on how far the tree branch is from the ground.
Generally, aim for a tree branch no more than 15-20 feet high. In this case, a 50-feet rope or chain should work fine. The closer the tire swing is to the ground, the safer it is for your little ones.
Step 5: Drill Drainage Holes in the Tire
Once your tire is perfectly clean and you have the ropes or chains ready, it is time to drill a few drainage holes on the bottom side of the tire. The primary purpose of these drainage holes is to prevent water from pooling inside whenever it rains, which could lead to mold growth or rot.
Use a standard power drill to make three holes on the bottom side of the tire. Be careful as you push the power drill through the tire. Depending on the type of tire you have chosen to use, you might encounter a strong layer of metal strands used for reinforcement.
You will need to use a little bit more effort to work through the metal strands with your power drill. Patience is key at this stage.
Step 6: Tie a Double Knot
Carefully cut a section of your rope to the desired length but add a couple of centimeters to it for tying several knots. Feel free to melt the ends to keep your rope from fraying if need be.
Now tie a double bowline knot on one end of your rope. Ensure you leave a little slack in the loop portion of the knot that will help you to fasten it.
Step 7: Place the Rope Over a Tree Branch
Since you identified an ideal branch earlier, it is time to attach your rope to the branch before hanging the tire onto it.
Use a step ladder to reach the branch but if your step ladder isn’t tall enough, tie a string around a small object such as a stone or bean bag and toss it up over the branch.
Once you have one side of the rope over the branch, tie the other end of the string to your rope and carefully pull it over the branch.
Repeat the step to double the rope over the tree branch and prevent it from slipping down the branch. You can do this for the number of ropes you want over the branch.
Step 8: Hang the Tire
Now that you have the rope in place, it is time to position your tire and hang it on the rope. Ensure the drainage holes you drilled earlier are at the bottom of the tie.
Tie the rope around the top of your tire. Feel free to use a square knot to keep the entire setup secure.
Position your tire such that it is at a reasonable distance from the ground level. You will want the tire to be suspended high enough so that your kids’ legs don’t drag while swinging but low enough to ensure they can easily climb in and out of the swing without assistance.
Step 9: Create a Play Area on the Ground
While it is not compulsory, it is always a good idea to add some playground surface material around your tire swing to make it safer for your little ones whenever they play on it.
Consider adding a layer of mulch around the tire swing or dig out a section around it and fill it with playground sand to cushion landings when your children jump out of or fall off from the swing.
Step 10: Test It
Before you allow your kids onto the tire swing you have just built, be sure to test it and ensure everything is fine. Pay special attention to the overall strength of the tire swing.
The perfect way to know whether the tire swing is strong enough or not is to allow the heaviest member of the family to test the tire swing. If they move around without any problems, then you can give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.
But make sure you don’t tell the person why they have been chosen to go first on the tire swing. Otherwise, you may find yourself in trouble even if everything is perfectly fine.
Time to Enjoy Your Tire Swing
With everything set, now you can let your impatient kids jump on the tire swing and let them enjoy themselves. You can even cut off the excess rope later when they have already had the first feeling of the tire swing.
Pat yourself on the back, enjoy your hard work and watch your kids enjoy life to the fullest. We are pretty sure even your neighbors will admire your work!