The classic tire swing is a thrilling part of many people's childhood experiences. Not only is a tire swing still a fun adventure for children, but it can also be an exciting way to encourage kids to play outdoors and start building some fun childhood memories of their own. Although constructing a tire swing may seem straightforward, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure the swing is safe and can stand up to the elements. By following these simple steps, you can have a fully functional tire swing in no time.
Step 1: Tire Selection
The first thing to do is choose a proper tire for the swing. The size of the tire should roughly correspond to the age and size of the children who will be using it. You don't want a tire that's so big the children will fall through, and you don't want one that's so small they can't fit on it. Additionally, you want to select a tire that is fairly sturdy and does not have any large rips or tears that might undermine its integrity. You can typically find a good selection of used tires at a local tire store that are perfect for upcycling into a swing.
Step 2: Prep Work
Now that you have the perfect tire, it will need a good scrubbing to remove any dirt and grime. Remember that kids will be sitting on the tire, so use a heavy detergent for this job and make sure to scrub both the outside and inside of the tire. If the tire is particularly greasy, some WD40 or other grease cleaner should get the job done. After the tire has been cleaned, drill a few holes in the bottom of the tire so that water can properly drain when wet.
Step 3: Placement
You'll need to take into account several factors when deciding where you want to hang the tire swing. Select a tree branch that is more than 10 inches in diameter, and one that is not dead or showing signs of instability. The branch should be around 7 to 8 feet off the ground, and far enough away from the trunk that the swing will not hit it. Around nine feet is a good distance that should allow the tire to swing freely without hitting the tree.
Step 4: Assembly
If you're using a rope, then select one of high quality, the climbing or utility variety, that can handle a lot of weight. The benefits of using rope over chain include a decrease in damage to the tree, and an easier material for children to grasp. To prevent fraying, use anti-fray tubing, especially at points where the rope contacts the tree. After you've tied the rope to the branch using a square knot, simply measure out the appropriate length and tie another square knot around the tire. When finished, the tire should be resting about one foot from the ground.
If you're using chain to attach the rope swing, then start off by drilling three holes in the top of the tire and attaching the eye bolts. Then use the s-hooks to connect a length of chain approximately 4 feet long to the bolts, making sure to clamp the hooks into place to ensure the chains don't come loose. Using another s-hook, attach all three chains to the swivel and a connector clip. This assembly is then connected to a larger chain that hangs from the tree branch. Adjust the length of this chain so that the tire is at the proper height from the ground.
Step 5: Additions
One thing you can do to make the tire swing a more enjoyable experience is to add some mulch underneath the tire. This will help make the ground softer for the kids when they jump or accidentally fall off the tire swing. Also, make sure to remove any rocks or other debris away from the area to ensure a safe tire swing adventure. After everything is in place, be sure to test the swing to make sure it's working properly before play ensues.