How You Can Make a Tire Swing

Creating childhood memories can start with a simple tire swing

Since my adventure in tire swings was mostly trial and error, I have included the part numbers of everything I used so you can avoid the multiple trips to the store that I enjoyed!

What you need:

· 3 Eye - bolts (Lowe's part # 136732 - 1/4" x 2" Coarse-Thread Eye Bolt)

· 6 Fender washers (Lowe's part # 136620 1/4 x 1-1/2" Zinc-Plated Solid Brass Fender Washer)

· 6 Hex nuts (Lowe's part # 135476 1/4"-20 Zinc-Plated Hex Nuts)

· 3 Lock washers (Lowe's part # 43876 1/4" Zinc-Plated Split Lock Washers)

· 4 S hooks (Lowe's part # 225331 Stanley-National Hardware 3 Hvy Open S Hook SS)

· 3 1.5 feet lengths of chain (Lowe's part # 348458 Blue Hawk 10' Steel Chain)

· Vice grip pliers (Lowe's part # 81278 Task Force TF 4" Curved Jaw Locking Pliers)

· Rope (Lowe's part # 349231 3/8" x 50' Polypropylene Packaged Rope)

· Tire (obvious I know, but see below on some thoughts considering size and suitability)


Three points in equal distance form a supportive equal pull on the stress points.
Three points in equal distance form a supportive equal pull on the stress points. | Source
Source
Gather the three chains to a point
Gather the three chains to a point | Source
A simple one knot repeated at least 4 times will allow the weight of the swing to tighten the knot over time.
A simple one knot repeated at least 4 times will allow the weight of the swing to tighten the knot over time. | Source

Suggestions

· Chain length - Lowe's will cut the chain to length for you if you buy it from the spool section, I even talked my Lowe's associate into using his own vice grips to connect to my eye bolts and S curve for me.

· Tire size - Consider the size of the children using the swing – bigger kids will need a bigger tire, little kids will need a smaller tire (nothing saying you can’t upgrade in a few years!) If you are worried about little guys slipping through the bottom, use eye bolts on the bottom in the same places and put two chains on the bottom for them to hook their feet through. This was a decision after watching my son fly 8 feet through the air after he slipped out the bottom.

· Branch - Consider a branch that grows away from the tree that you can loop around about 6 feet away from the main trunk. You may want to trim away excess smaller branches, this will make it easier to maintain the rope over the years and keep the rope from entangling in the branches when installing it.

Steps

  1. Prep your tire: Measure the diameter of the tire and pick the ugly side - drill 1/2" holes around the diameter of the tire to drain any rainwater that may collect in it.
  2. Tire: Turn the tire back over and drill your first hole with a 1/4" drill (all of the supplies suggested were 1/4" but if you are using a different sized eye bolt then use the same size drill or one slightly smaller)
  3. Remaining eye bolt holes: you can use some complicated mathematical formula or you can do as I did and eyeball the distance for the remaining two holes.
  4. Assembly: Fit the eye bolts in this pattern - Eye bolt, hex nut fender washer go through the top - underside start with another fender washer, then lock washer, then hex nut. He fender washer will keep little fingers from getting pinched between the tire and the metal while distributing the tension of the pull and the hex nuts keep the bolt from coming out of the tire.
  5. Next come the chains: attach one S hook using the vice grips to the end of one of the 1.5 feet lengths of chain then attach to the eye bolt, again using the vice grips. Repeat for all three eye bolts and all three chains.
  6. Last S hook: The last S hook gathers together the three chains, use your vice grip to tighten both ends of the S hook.
  7. The rope: The length of your rope is up to you, obviously you want your kids to be able to reach the tire swing. Whatever length you use, my suggestion is to not cut your rope until you are done with the next two steps.
  8. The rope continues: you can get a ladder, if you have one that reaches your branch, or you can do what I did. Attach the end of your rope to your vise grips and throw over the branch. Remove your vise gripes then make a loop knot (see below on how) in the end and feed the remaining rope through. Tighten all the way up the branch by simply pulling on the rope.
  9. The rope is done: Find the perfect length of your tire swing and cut that length plus an additional 1 foot of rope and cut. Feed the length of the rope through the S hook with all of the chains on the other end. Make four overhand knots (also called a simple one knot) and cut the excess.
  10. Find a kid: The last step is to try it out! Go have some fun and remember that your child may never specifically say "thank you" for such an awesome gift but you will have a hard time convincing them to stop playing on it and come to dinner.

Last Thoughts

  • Kids will be kids: If your kids are anything like mine, they will find a way to mess with a good deal just to mess with it. We took the rope where it connected to the S hook and coated it in gorilla glue to keep them from picking the knot apart.
  • Please see the links below for reference on knots - they were very useful to me and I want to give credit where it is due on where I found the information.
  • For fun and childhood memories, consider painting your tire swing a bright vibrant color. I recommend yellow and a fresh layer of paint once every two years.

Great video for additional inspiration

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Comments 1 comment

Cheryl Duncan 5 years ago

I liked your pictures, they were useful in showing me how my final project should look. Now, do you think I could get any volunteers to help me put one in the front yard?

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