How to Make a Tire Swing [Video for Exmark]
It seems like I’m sorry about a lot of things these days. On my last post on fertilizing tips, I was sorry for getting it out late because of kidney stones. And today’s post on how to make a tire swing I’m sorry for yet another delay. But this time it’s because I had shingles! I’m a mess. It’s been quite the year at Casa de Scott…and sadly, my health issues are only the tip of the iceberg. But that’s for a different post…on a different site…to a different audience…#crazyfamilyrdrama! But I digress.
So with all the not-so-good-things going on with me, more the reason to jump on our tire swing to swing my cares away. I don’t know about you, but there are few things that make me think of nostalgic outdoor fun more than a backyard tire swing. Whether it’s the air against your face, the weightlessness you feel in mid-flight, or carefree childhood memories…there’s really not much like it.
Exmark Video: Hanging Around – How to Build a Backyard Tire Swing
As I’ve done a number of times now, I had the honor of teaming up with Exmark — the premier lawn mower company, to do another ‘Done-in-a-Weekend’ video. On it l walk you through the materials, location scouting, and installation steps needed to make your very own tire swing. Not only is this a quick and easy weekend project, it won’t break your bank either. Bonus!
If seeing a project being done makes it a whole lot easier for you…like it does me, check out the video below. And then, if you want to see what I shared in black & white, keep reading below.
[NOTICE: I think it goes without saying, but I feel like I should…I’m no Certified Tree Swing Expert…if there is such a thing. Therefore, I can’t officially say that what I share is the best, safest, or only way to make a tire swing. But what I have shared has worked for me…and I tried to give you some safety tips along the way. So please, be careful when making and swinging on your tire swing…you’re doing it at your own risk.]
Materials List for Making a Tire Swing
One of the great things about a tire swing is how few materials you need to make it. And to make it super easy for you, if you’re missing anything, just click on the links below and hopefully you’ll find what you’re looking for:
- A sturdy tree…duh!
- A new or used car tire
- Drill and drill bit
- Rope (see links below)
- A step or extension ladder and/or…
- …kite string & bean bag or hacky sack
- Lighter & electrical or duct tape
Steps to Make Your Tire Swing
Likewise, there are also only a handful of steps to making your tire swing.
Step 1 – Scouting out the Right Tree & Limb:
First, you’ll want to find the perfect tree. Optimally it’s a hardwood and one with a relatively horizontal limb to hang your swing from…that has a good amount of clearance. I’d suggest that the limb is no less than seven inches in diameter and at least eight feet off the ground.
Then you’ll need to find a hanging point on the limb that’s far enough from the tree trunk or anything else you don’t want to crash into to ensure a safe liftoff, landing, and all the swinging in between.
Step 2 – Obtaining & Prepping the Tire:
Next up is getting and prepping your tire. While you can certainly purchase a new one, I’d recommend picking up a used one for little to no cost from a friend or family member, junkyard or garage sale. If you do go the used tire route (I did), make sure to select a tire with ample tread to avoid possible injury from potentially exposed wires.
Before moving on, you’ll want to drill a few holes in the bottom of your tire so that water doesn’t collect in it for mosquitoes to lay their eggs in…or give you a nice splash in the rumpus!
Note, periodically you’ll want to check for any leaves or debris that may fall into your tire over time that could block the drainage holes. You’ll also what to check for wasps and other stinging creatures that might find your tire swing to be the perfect place for a home.
Step 3 – Choosing the Right Rope:
Now that you’ve selected and prepped your tire, it’s time to address the type and length of rope for your tire swing. You can choose among manila and a variety of polypropylene ropes. Just make sure that what you choose works within your budget and is durable & strong enough – because they’re all different.
On our first tire swing I used manila rope because I liked the look of it. However, not only was it rough on our hands and face while swinging, it doesn’t last as long. So, for this tire swing we’re using a polypropylene rope. It’s bright white, which I don’t like…but it will fade (i.e., get dirty) over time.
Regardless of the type of rope you choose, you’ll want to purchase enough to not only accommodate the swing height, but for the knots as well. So add an additional 5’ or so – you can always cut off the excess.
Step 4 – Getting the Rope Up and Over the Limb:
Once you’ve got your rope in hand, it’s time to get it up and over your limb. If the limb’s not too high, you may be able to use a step or extension ladder. But if you can’t safely reach the limb with a ladder, you’ll need to use a bean bag or hacky sack tied to a kite string – enough kite string for you to hold on to and still be able to get your bean bag over the limb & back down.
- Holding the kite string in one hand, or stepping on the other end, throw the bean bag over the limb…allowing it to drop to the ground.
- Remove the bean bag & tie the kite string to the rope.
- Pull the kite string so that the rope goes over the limb and back down to earth.
Step 5 – Tying the Knot…or KnotS:
Now you have a choice to make. If you have enough rope, you can simply keep it looped over the limb and make a single knot at the top of the tire. Or you can make two knots – one at the limb and one at the tire. I chose the former – less is more for me when it comes to knot-tying.
Before starting your knots, make sure that the tire is hanging at the desired height. A good rule of thumb is to set the bottom of the tire at least 12 to 18 inches from the ground. That is unless some bigger kids will be taking it for a spin. Then you might want to raise it a little higher to account for their extra pounds. Regardless, make sure that you account for that weight of your passenger…big or small. The rope will eventually stretch, so starting a bit higher is probably better.
For the knots themselves, I use either a bowline or rolling hitch knot. But regardless of the knot, you’ll want to leave a foot or more of rope beyond the knots. When tightened, make sure that both ends of the rope are adjacent and parallel to each another. Doing these things will help make sure everything is safe & secure.
Now I should mention, if you’re not comfortable tying knots I’d suggest enlisting one of your Eagle Scout friends to help you. You certainly don’t want to get the knot-tying part of this project wrong!
Step 6 – Addressing the Ends of the Rope:
To make sure that your rope doesn’t fray, your last step is to either burn the ends of your rope or wrap them with electrical or duct tape. I’m a belts-and-suspenders kind of guy, so I did both. (The reality is, you’ll probably want to do this step right after you make any of the cuts in your rope – this was just the easiest place for me to include this step in my write-up.)
Done…you’ve got your very own tire swing! Congratulations.
Now, all that’s left to do is to jump on, sit back, and enjoy the ride! I’m confident that you and your family & friends will have a ton of fun taking your tire swing for many years of swinging!
I hope this post and the video above have helped you install a tire swing so that you too can ‘get into the swing of things’! See what I did there?!?
If you’re looking for more ‘Done-in-a-Weekend’ project ideas, make sure to check out WeAreExmark.com or the other corresponding posts I’ve done on RYGblog – many of which can be found in the links below.
Here’s to living outside friends,
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