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How To Hang Your Own Tree Swing

June 16, 2014

One of the things I am most excited about with this new house is the large maple tree in the back yard. As soon as I saw it, I knew I’d be hanging a tree swing from one of its spreading branches. Most of the time, when I have an idea that I think will make my child super happy (her own tent, her own play house, sidewalk paints, a playroom), she just doesn’t get all that excited about it. The tree swing has been a different story, though. She is out there swinging before 9am almost every day, and is on it multiple times throughout the afternoons and evenings.

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And it was such an easy and satisfying DIY project for me! It took one day to make, start to finish (mostly waiting for paint to dry), and the knot-tying made me feel Handy and Capable. Here are the step by step instructions that I used, which I pulled from lots of different tutorials. This method is specifically for a branch that you can’t reach with a ladder (or if you are afraid of heights and don’t want to climb up to your branch! The benefit here is that you will have a secure knot, which won’t restrict the growth of the tree, so it will never have to be retied.

Materials:

  • A 10×2 wood board, cut to 20 inches long
  • 5/8″  braided poly rope. The length will depend on how high your tree is. We bought a 100′ pack and have plenty left over. Make sure you get braided; it will hold the knots better.
  • Outdoor spray paints
  • Clear Coat
  • 1/4 inch quick link. You can find these in the ropes and chains section of the hardware store. They run about $1 each.
  • Painter’s Tape (optional)

Tools

  • A decent power drill
  • Drill bit the same size as your rope
  • Sand Paper (medium and fine grit)

Prepare the Seat

Start by drilling four holes in your wood board, about 1.5″ from the edges. Use a bit that is the same circumference as your rope. Then sand the whole board with your medium grit sand paper, and then go over it with the fine grit. Wipe all the dust off afterward.

Now for the fun part: paint your board. We painted a green base coat, then used strips of painter’s tape to make a pretty basic, random design so that my 3 year old could help. Then we sprayed purple over that. When it’s all dry, spray on your clear coat to protect your work.

Assemble Your Swing

Cut two lengths of rope, about 4 feet each and burn the ends to keep them from fraying. Thread the ends of a length of rope through the two holes on a short end of the swing. The ends should be sticking out the bottom.

 

To secure the swing, tie a double overhand knot on each end. Click the link for a great tutorial. Repeat with the other length of rope on the other side of your swing. You can untie these knots later to level out the swing, if you need to.

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Hang Your Swing

To hang your swing without a ladder, we’re going to create a loop in the rope, which will throw over the tree branch, Then we’ll thread the other end of the rope through the loop and pull it to “run” the loop up and secure the rope around the branch.

Start by tying a double bowline knot in your remaining (long) rope, leaving about a 6″ loop at the end. Make sure you burn the end of your rope. Tie something heavy to the the loop (we used a padlock) and toss it over the tree limb you want to hang your swing from. This may take a couple of tries to get it in the right spot. Then, lower the loop down, and thread the free end of the rope through the loop. When you pull the end, the loop will run up the rope to the tree limb, and your rope will be secure–no climbing involved!

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Hold your swing by the loop you created earlier to see how high you’ll want it, and cut the rope with about 16″ of slack to give you space to work your next knot.

Thread your rope through one of the quick links and secure it with a buntline hitch knot.

photo 2 (4)

Repeat the whole process with the rest of your rope, and then use the quick links to connect the ropes to the loops on your swing.

Make sure all your ends are burned, or secured (I used electrical tape on the bottom knots because my daughter liked the “tassels” it created, but we’ll keep an eye on them to make sure the knots remain secure).

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Swing!

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