You may remember that Sean wrapped up a tire for my birthday a few months ago with the promise to build me a tire swing. And it turns out he's a man who's true to his word!
Go on, add your swingers joke right here. Just try not to.
You know when you were younger and you thought being a grownup would just be one long endless stretch of ice cream for breakfast and staying up til 2am and having a tire swing to play on whenever you wanted?
Turns out it kind of is.
Sean assured me that this tire swing wasn't particularly difficult to make, and that anyone with a tree, a bit of patience, and some power tools could make one too. I told him that if he really felt that way, he should just pop in here and write a tutorial on how to do it. "Huh," he said. "Okay, I will."
So here it is.
Sean Slinsky's Official Guide To Making A Really Swingy Tire Swing That Will Thoroughly Delight Someone In Your Life
1. First of all, you're going to want to collect all your materials. You will need:
- 4 eyebolts
- 8 washers (1/2 inch each)
- 1 wire eye lag
- 2 "S" hooks
- 8 feet of chain
- 1 swivel attachment
- 64 feet of rope (I actually ended up using the natural rope you see above, not the white one in the picture below)
I got everything from Home Depot apart from the tire, which I picked up at a tire shop. I went in expecting to pay for it, but they gave it to me for free because it was an old one they had lying around. It's definitely worth asking!
2. Next, figure out where you want to place the eyebolts. I knew the ropes needed to be far enough off the front of the tire to allow for someone to sit in between them, but far enough off the center to provice adequate support. In the end, I decided to mentally divide the tire up into sixteenths and place the eybolts at 3/16, 5/16, 11/16, and 13/16. Here's a picture that'll hopefully make that make more sense.
3. Once you've worked that out, you want to measure the circumference of your tire. I did this by wrapping a string around the perimeter and cutting it where the ends met, which gave me an easy linear object to measure and mark.
4. Then take your string and make marks at the desired points (3/16, 5/16, 11/16, and 13/16,) wrap it back around the tire, and mark the points where you should drill with chalk.
5. Once you have all the points marked on the tire, start drilling into it. I used a 1/2 inch drill bit. And yep, drilling into rubber smells just as bad as you’d imagine.
5. Next, screw in the eyebolts. I put a washer on each side, to prevent the bolts from wiggling around too much in the rubber. Otherwise, they’ll probably loosen themselves over time.
6. Next, it’s time start tying everything together! I figured the point at which the ropes connected to the swivel should be at least 4 feet from the tire itself—otherwise, it would feel pretty cramped. So I placed the tire on top of a Rubbermaid container and attached the swivel to a point about 4 feet above the top of the tire. I learned the hard way that it’s a pretty good idea not to try and attach the ropes to the tire and suspend it at the same time, which is why I ended up setting it atop the container.
7. Okay, let’s tie some knots! I bought 64 feet of rope, which I had cut to four lengths of 16 feet each. (I knew I needed a little more than 4 feet for the distance from the bolt to the swivel, so I multiplied that by two because the rope would be doubled up, and then added a little extra to accommodate for knots and wrapping the excess around.)
To tie this up, I threaded the rope into the eyebolt, then up through the swivel connection, then tied a slip knot with the short end. The slip knot made it really easy to make sure the rope was reasonably tight—and even easier to line up the tops of all the knots as tied each subsequent leg.
Once you have the rope tight and the tops aligned, just begin wrapping the excess around—like a....uh, well I guess a noose? (Hmm, I wish there was a better analogy.) As you’re nearing the end, tighten it up with two half-hitches to keep everything together.
8. Once that’s done, it’s time to prepare to hang this thing! Hopefully you already know where you’re going to put your swing and you’ve made sure that the tree limb is strong enough (I did this by jumping up and swinging on the branch as hard as I could, which is not the most scientific method, although it did the job.)
At the point where you’re going to attach the swing to the tree, drill a ⅜ inch starter hole (this makes it a lot easier to screw in the wire eye.) Then screw in the wire eye, and attach your chain with an S-hook.
9. After that, all you need to do is just attach your swivel to the other end of the chain with another S-hook, and there you go.
10. The last step? Take it for a spin!
Good luck! Let me know if you have any questions and I'll do my best to answer them in the comments.