How to Make an AWESOME Tire Swing.

Cory Prado

I hope everyone had a fantastic summer!  It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a blog and needless to say (like many of you)… a house, family, friends, dog and volunteerism among other things keeps me busy.

The reason for this blog… an article I saw on my Facebook feed about how to make a tire swing.

Just so happens I had an old tire sitting around, several huge oak trees to hang the swing from and plenty of kids and adults willing to give it a try. Before I start any project I like to do a lot of research on how other people do a particular project then create my own DIY. And you’ll see pictures throughout the DIY to help guide you along the way.

First and foremost, you’re going to need a rather strong tree limb with plenty of space around for swinging. Please make sure the tree is strong enough, not rotting in any part of the tree and the particular branch of which you’re going to hand the swing is of ample circumference.

After reading numerous tire swing tutorials I did come up with a “tip sheet” of items I incorporated into the design, parts and construction of my tire swing that you may also want to consider:

  • Drill fewer holes to maintain the integrity of the tire.
  • Drill holes in the bottom of the tire for water drainage.
  • As far as quick links, S-hooks and carabineers go, quick links are the strongest.
  • Use rubber-coated pinch free swing set chains or cover them to prevent injury.
  • Threading the chain through the noodle rather than cutting it to maintain noodle integrity.
  • Use chains in lieu of rope unless you’re 100% confident in your ability to tie a strong knot.
  • Use a bike tire tube to cover the chain wrapped around the tree limb to protect the tree.
  • Using a 360-degree swivel clamp or Double Eye (or Eye-to-Eye bolt) where tire swing chains come together to prevent chains from getting knotted, twisted or entangled.
  • Lastly, guestimate the max weight and number of people that would ride the tire swing at the same time to decide the work load required of the parts that you purchase.

Let’s get started!!! Here is a list of materials I used to make my tire swing

Parts Needed

1          Used tire ample enough in size for all riders.

3          Lengths of chain at 4 feet each with an 880lb working load.

3          ½” x 6”eyebolts.

6          ½” x 2” fender washers.

6          ½” split lock washers.

6          ½” hex nuts.Cory Prado

6          3/8” Quick links with a 2,200lb working load.

1          ½’ Quick link with a 3,300lb working load.

1          5/16” Eye and Eye Swivel with a 1,250 working load.

1          Old bicycle tube.

1          Length of chain at 12 feet based off of a limb that is 15 feet from the ground.

Equipment Needed

Scrub brush.

Soap and water.

Drill with drill bits to step drill to a ½” hole.

Socket set or two wrenches.

Tape Measure

Ladder

OK… I think I’ve got everything covered. First, you’re gonna want to wash your tire with soap and water and dry most of the water off if possible. Then take your tire to your work area and place it where it is easily manageable.

Cory PradoIt’s time to use power tools and drill holes! I chose to have just three Cory Pradoholes versus four to both maintain the integrity of the tire and to make it easier for people to climb on the tire swing. I chose to drill my holes on the sidewall closest to the tread where I feel the tire was strongest. Simply use a pen, pencil or marker and the 2” washer to place and mark each of the three holes until they are equal distance from one another. The distance between all of my holes ended up being 23.5” apart on all sides and yours will be different based on the size of tire you use.  Also, don’t forget to drill your drain holes for the rain.

Now here is where it gets exciting… things are going to come to fruition quickly. Time to assemble the eyebolts. Here is the order of which you will install your hardware:Cory Prado

Eyebolt

½” hex nut

½” split lock washer

2” flat washer

TireCory Prado

2” flat washer

½” split lock washer

½” hex nut

Simply tighten all parts taught to the top of the eyebolt, but no need to over tighten so as to once again protect the integrity of the tire.

Cory PradoNow, it’s time to cover our three 4-foot chains with the pool noodles. I bought the smaller noodles as the diameter of the hole in the center was just slightly smaller than the width of the 4-foot chains. I did cut a little off the end of each pool noodle to match the length of the 4-foot chains allowing for one chain link to protrude from each end of the noodle.Cory Prado

Then I simply threaded each of the three 4-foot chains through each noodle using coat hangers and attached one end of each noodle-covered 4-foot chain to the three tire eyebolts using the three 2,200 lb. workload quick links. Next, take the one 3,300 lb. quick link and attach it to the other end of each of the three noodle-covered 4-foot chains.

The easiest (and safest way to prevent injury) to hang the tire swing is to first loop the 12-foot chain around the tree limb. Then I placed the tire on a wheelbarrow and rolled it under the attached 12-foot chain. The order for the hardware attached to the 12-foot chain is as follows:

2,200 lb. quick link

12-foot chain (inserted through tire tube)Cory Prado

2,200 lb. quick link

Eye and Eye Swivel

2,200 lb. quick link

3,300 quick link (currently attached to three 4-foot chains)

As mentioned earlier, do choose a tree limb of ample strength and circumference to hold the weight of the tire and all potential riders. Then climb the ladder and wrap the 12-foot chain (inserted through tire tube) around the limb and adjust the tire tube so the tree limb is adequately protected. Now, connect the 2,200 lb. quick link to a link in the 12-foot chain forming a closed loop around the tree limb and the other end of the 12-foot chain hanging below.  You’ll want to leave the ladder propped up against the tree as you’ll likely have to adjust the chain’s height at least one more time.

Now, simply attach the 3,300 lb. quick link attached to the noodle-covered chains to the 2,200 lb. quick link hanging from the bottom of the 12-foot chain. Then step back, admire your work, take a look at your tire swing height and adjust the height accordingly by detaching the tire swing from the chain and adjusting the size of the loop on the 12-foot chain up or down. I mounted my tire about 24 inches from the ground i.e. the same height as most any chair.

Cory PradoIf you do have an itch to decorate your tire, I did find a few things during my research you could do to decorate your tire swing. One thing you can do is to paint the tire different colors or use stickers or stencils. Just be sure to find the right outdoor paint that will weather Cory Pradothe elements and won’t peel or rub off on riders. Another option would be to wrap colored rope around the circumference of the tire. Depending on the rope type, it can be expensive to buy the length needed and when it rains the rope stays wet longer thus wetting the pants of riders. Which is another reason I opted to stay with the look of an old-fashioned uncovered tire swing as it will dry quicker from the rain.  Here’s a resource for you as well: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/tire-swings/

As with any project, I always measure several times to be certain before I cut, drill or glue anything. And as anal-retentive as this sounds, I actually document what I’m going to do before I do it. It helps me think through the project to make sure I’m doing what I feel is the best way to produce the desired end result DIY project.

And on that note, if you’ve been able to take away at least one thing from this blog that helps you build your own AWESOME tire swing then that makes it well worth the time I spent writing it. Have a great day everyone!


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