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How to Make a Tree Swing That Will Last

How to Make a Tree Swing That Will Last
Last Updated: 21 August 2019

One of the most unforgettable childhood memories that we all have is about a rope swing. It is a beautiful childhood toy that encourages children to play outdoors while helping them to connect with the natural world. Who knows, it can even foster your kids to think about gravity and physics. Building your child a swing set is the most beautiful gift you can give.

There are many swing options to choose from: you can have tire swings or simple ropes equipped with loops and knots. But the most common is the classic wooden seat swing. If you have a big oak tree in your backyard, put on your DIY hat because we are going to teach you how to make your kids their very own tree swing seat.

Before building your rope swing, make sure that your child has already developed their upper body strength and has a balance to be safe. But even if they do, you also need to watch them over as accidents can happen when the swing lifts of the ground.

Essential Things to Know Before Building Rope Swing Seats

There are many types of tree swings depending on their configurations. It can be a double or a single rope tree swing, and even a tire one, the type of rope will determine what it would be like and also support and distribute the weight of the swing and the weight of the person.

Types of Ropes

There are two types of ropes: braided and twisted. In the twisted form, individual yarns are twisted together so that it can form strands, which are further twisted to form a spiral that becomes a rope. In braided one, the individual strands are interspersed through weaving it over and under the same way as you braid your hair.

The different patterns and materials can create variations of braided and twisted ropes. Of the two, the twisted rope is easier to splice and can create longer pieces. When choosing the best rope for tree swing, you need to focus on size and strength instead of the type.


The common types of fibers used in making ropes include nylon, polypropylene, polyester, and natural manila. Polypropylene is the recommended material by wood tree swings experts because it is lightweight, strong, waterproof and can hold a knot well.

Lengths and Sizes

To know the length of the rope you need, you have to double the height of the swing from the ground and then add four more yards. For a single rope swing, you have to cut the total length by half. The extra yards will be used to overhang on the tree and underneath the seat. Ideally, you need to use a rope that has a diameter of 3/8 or a 5/8 inch.

How to Make a Rope Swing

Step 1 – Choosing the Rope Swing Tree

It is easy to make a rope swing. You first need to choose a tall and sturdy tree that is ideal from the structure and driveway. Identify the most horizontal branch to hang your swing. The dimensions of this branch should be at a minimum of 8 inches in diameter or have a circumference of 24 inches. When you attach the swing, it should have three feet clearance from the trunk. The branch should also be at least 12 feet from the ground. Higher branches can be a safety concern.

Step 2 – Building the Seat

You can choose between cedar and redwood for your swing seat. Both of these woods are water-resistant. The piece should be 8 inches in width, 2 inches thick and 18 inches in length. Sand the wood with sandpaper and drill four holes, with two on each side. The location of the holes is essential to balance the swing seat and will prevent it from twisting and flipping.

Step 3 – Hanging the Ropes from the Tree

After selecting the rope that is strong and will not rot, you can now start hanging the strings from the tree. Cut the right length you need for the swing and prop a ladder against the tree so that you could hang them. Alternatively, you put a ball inside a sock and tie them into your rope. Toss it over the branch and pull the end of the rope until you have all two. Tie with a loose slip knot.

Step – 4 Attaching the Seat

Now you are ready to attach the seat. Do this by inserting the rope ends into the seat holes. Knot them securely about 12 inches from the seat top. If a propane torch is available, you can melt the knots to seal them properly.

How to Make a Single Rope Tree Swing

A single rope tree swing is easy to make, and you only need some supplies that include a round or rectangular pine panel and a rope. Measure the panel to get the exact center and make a single hole using a drill bit for the string. You can paint the seat with any color you want or leave it as it is.

Take your rope and figure out your spot on the tree. Tie it on the sturdy part of the tree using the same parameters discussed above. Thread the string through the hole in your swing seat. Figure out the appropriate height and then knot the rope on the underside of the seat. Once you have everything in place, it will be safe to use.

How to Hang a Tree Swing on an Angled Branch

If you are confronted with an angled branch to hang your tree swing, you can still make it possible. Attach one rope at the bottom of the branch on the tree’s higher side and the other string on the lower side. Try to adjust the seat balance and to swing straight.

Final Thoughts

If a tree swing is not a part of your childhood nostalgia, it is not too late yet. With our guide on how to build a tree swing, it can be your next weekend project not just for you, but for your kids also. This simple tree swing is easy to make, even without the hardware tool at home.

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