Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How to: High Flying Horizontal Tire Swing

I've been getting a ton of questions about how we made Grady's tire swing so I thought I'd put together a quick tutorial for those who are curious & want to try something like this in their own backyard!  It's really an easy project.

Supply list:
1 long length of chain or rope (enough to wrap around your tree branch, connect, & still hang approx. 7 feet off the ground)
3 4'-6' lengths of chain (we used one with a 500lb weight limit - better safe than sorry)
3' length of hose
5 quick links
3 eye bolts
6 lock nuts
6 large washers
14"-16" tire (we got ours free from a local tire shop)

First, clean up your tire & make sure there's nothing on the surface that could snag clothing or scratch.  Then drill 3 holes in the top of the tire for the hardware to go through.  Flip the tire over & drill several holes on the bottom for drainage.  You don't want water to sit inside the tire & splash the rider or breed mosquitos - ew.

Take each 4'-6' length of chain & use the quick links to hook them to your eye bolts.  Thread a nut onto your eye bolts & slide one of the large washers on behind it.  Feed the eye bolts through the holes in the top of your tire.

Inside the tire, slide on another large washer & lock nut onto the bolt & screw 'em on tight.

Take your long chain & feed one end through the hose.  (Tip: Ours was a pretty snug fit, so we sprayed some Pam on the chain & it slid right through!)  Hook the end of the chain to the rest of the long chain with another quick link.  Almost there!

Take your last quick link & hook the hanging end of your long chain to the three shorter chains that are connected to your swing.  Everything I read said that 4'-6' length works best.  Make sure all of the quick links are super tight - you don't want your swing detaching mid-air & tossing your kid (or you).  Believe me, after having that happen to me & landing on my neck not once, but twice in my youth (with a rope tire swing), I'm super paranoid about it!  I still have neck problems & totally blame it on the falls from the swings!

I'm a sucker for any type of swing, but this big guy is probably my favorite ever.  It goes SO high & swings FOREVER.  One push & it'll go for 10 minutes.  (Easy babysitter for when you're busy weeding gardens or spray-painting your next project!)

(You can't really tell in the pictures, but the swing hangs around 10' out from the tree trunk.  If you pushed the swing hard enough in a circle you could possibly hit the tree, but it would take a lot.  Use caution & be sure you hang your swing far enough away from obstacles so no one will get hurt!)

Let me know if any of you have attempted, or plan on putting a tire swing up in your yard...or had one when you were a kiddo.  I feel like it's something that Grady will remember forever...


  1. This is so cool! It would be awesome to have one of these in our yard someday. I loved tire swings as a kid!

  2. I LOVED our tire swing growing up and my nieces are putting it to good use again... fun!

  3. I used your plans today to build a swing for my campsite. I ended up spending more than $50, but aside from the cost it turned out very nice. I expect it to get a lot of use over the summer.


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