A tire swing is a good – and cheaper – alternative to a store-bought tree swing. A tire makes for a perfectly good seat. And unlike wooden seats, you can be sure it won’t warp or rot.
All you need is an old tire, a strong rope and sturdy tree branch. With some creativity, you can even make a swing that two or three kids can enjoy at the same time.
Here’s how to make a tree swing with a tire. This DIY project takes about an hour or two.
What You’ll Need
- An old tire. It should still be in a relatively good condition, meaning no large cracks or tears. A medium sized tire is perfect for a swing. Your local auto repair shop might be willing to give you an old tire.
- Rope. Get a nylon or polypropylene rope. These materials are durable, can handle a lot of weight and they are weatherproof. You can also use a climbing rope or even a metal chain. Make sure you get a long enough rope, at least 10m.
- Drill for making drain holes in the tire.
1. Find A Sturdy Tree Branch
Look for a thick branch that’s at least 2.5m above the ground.
Make sure the branch is healthy – no cracks, rotting or any other kind of damage that could cause it to snap off.
Hardwood trees like oak are the best as they tend to have very strong branches. But any tree will do. But be careful with fruit trees as their branches tend to split easily.
If you have to use a fruit tree, look for an extra-thick branch.
2. Prepare The Tire
Thoroughly scrub the inside and outside of the tire to remove gunk, dirt and grease spots.
Then take a drill and make holes in the tire. The holes allow water to run through the tire when it rains. Otherwise, water would pool in the tire and provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects.
3. Making The Swing (First Type)
The easiest type of tire swing is where the tire is standing vertically. This limits the tire to just one kid and it can be a bit awkward to sit on the inside of the tire.
To make this swing, get the rope over the tree branch. You can use a ladder or tie a weight on one end of the rope and throw it over the branch.
Make a slip knot and pull to tighten the knot against the branch.
Tie the other end of the rope around the tire using a secure knot. The tire should be suspended 30-50cm above the ground depending on your child’s age.
Cut away any excess rope.
Tip: To avoid damage to the tree branch from friction with the rope, insert the section of the rope going round the branch into an old bike tube.
4. Making The Swing (Second Type)
The second method is more involving but it’s the best one for kids. You suspend the tire horizontally, which allows two or three kids to sit on it at the same time. The tire is also more comfortable to sit on that way.
Note: You’ll need three pairs of washers (a pair consisting of one small and one slightly larger washer) plus three rope clamps.
The idea is to have a single rope from the tree branch, which the branches into three rope lengths halfway down. Each of these three ropes then attach to the tire.
Start with a slip knot around the tree branch, just like the one we’ve described above. Make another knot roughly in the middle of the length of the hanging rope but leave the knot loose such that there’s a hole in it.
Cut the rope where it touches the ground.
Take a piece of rope and thread it through the hole in the knot. Make a tight knot on the new piece of rope to hold it in place against the first knot.
Take another piece of rope and do the same such that the first knot is now holding two pieces of ropes.
Tighten the main knot to fully secure the other two ropes. Don’t worry that the knot will loosen over time. As the main rope is pulled downward by the weight of kids swinging, it makes the knot even tighter.
Make sure there’s no excess length on any of the three ropes. Cut the ropes at the point where they touch the ground.
Drill three holes in the tire and insert the three ropes into each. Wrap masking tape around the end of each rope to make it easier to push them through the holes.
Insert two washers through each end of the rope inside the tire, with the larger washer being on top. These ensure the rope doesn’t pull out of the tire.
Below the washers, tighten a clamp to secure them in place. For extra security, you can also make a not at the end of the ropes.
When you are done, the tire should be suspended some distance above the ground. You can always adjust the rope to raise or lower the tire.
Your new tire swing is ready.