Our first house in Springfield had a huge oak tree in our wild, rambling backyard, so I made Sebastian a tree swing once he was big enough to enjoy it. We were so sad to leave it behind when we moved, especially since our second house had absolutely no trees large enough to support even a family of squirrels much less a toddler. Our new place came with a good-sized apple tree right in the middle so as soon as the weather warmed up I decided it was time for another swing.
-1 2x4x8 piece of wood for the seat
-1 1x2x8 piece of wood for the top rope (long enough to hang from your branch and strong enough to support adult weight, just in case. I suggest at least 40 ft.
-2 clamps (or substitute heavy objects), drill and drill bit wide enough for your rope. I used a 3/4″ drill bit and my rope fit through nicely.
-8 wood screws 1 1/2″ long
-2 3/8″ chain quick link
Cut your 2x4x8 piece of wood into two cuts measuring 2.5′ long. Cut another 2 pieces measuring 8″ long. Place the two longer pieces side by side and glue the long sides together. Then, glue the two shorter pieces to the ends as shown making sure they are flush with the edges, not overlapping. Clamp immediately or carefully place heavy items on top of your glued pieces. Be sure everything is in place.
Wait 20 minutes until dry and then pre-drill screw holes in each of the four corners of each short piece making sure not to get too close to the edges. Add screws. Drill two holes in the outer corners of each end as shown. Again, be careful not to get too close to the edges and split your wood. Sand and paint (or seal) if you like.
Cut two lengths of rope about 5′ long for to attach to the seat. Tie a double overhand knot at one end, push the rope up through the bottom and back down on the other side. Tie the same knot at the other end of your rope. Repeat on the other side. Cut the remainder of your rope in half so that you have about 15 ft. of rope for each (obviously you need more if you have a high branch). Hold your rope with one hand at the end and the other about four feet up. Fold it together and then tie a knot so that there is a loop left at the end (as shown above). Attach that end to the loop on the swing with one of your chain quick links. Repeat with the other side.
Cut your 1x2x8 piece so that it’s 2.5′ long (or as long as your swing seat if you choose longer). Drill a hole in each end about 1″ in and centered. Measure about 5′ above your seat and tie a knot in each rope. Slip the loose end of each rope through the board as shown above. Tie to ends to your tree branch using a taut line knot.
Disclaimer: Please check all knots with your weight before allowing anyone to use it. Make and use at your own risk.
The kids and I love having a swing again and it adds a lot of charm to our backyard. Don’t have a yard or a tree? Make one to use inside your house! Friends of mine have one in their playroom that they attached to a beam for support. It’s sure to provide hours of fun! –Rachel