So, you want to make a tire swing. If you ask us, nothing is more nostalgic than swinging on a tire from a tree. It’s a wonderful slice of Americana that evokes childhood memories of simpler times and a lot of backyard fun. And now that the weather is finally getting warmer, it’s the perfect time to install one -- but how?
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to make an awesome tire swing. So grab your cup of coffee and get comfortable -- let’s dive in!
Tire Swing 101: What You Need To Know
To make a tire swing, you just need to tie some good ol’ rope to a tire and hang it from a tree, right? Well, not exactly. To make a tire swing properly, a little more thought and preparation need to go into it.
First, it’s important to make sure you pick the proper tree and limb. The best choice is a hardwood tree, such as a maple or oak. A softwood tree -- such as a pine -- isn’t going to cut it because the limbs are usually too springy. Yes, we’re sure you’ve seen plenty of tire swings tied to a pine, but let’s go for the best possible option here.
After you’ve decided on the tree, let’s whittle down a little further to the proper limb. You want one that’ll give you enough height to swing, but one that isn’t too tall to work with. Try something that is around the 7-or 8-foot level. Now, make sure it is at least 6 inches in diameter. Not all that great at geometry? Grab a cloth measuring tape and measure around the tree limb -- you’re looking for 19 inches or more in circumference.
Note: Make sure you have a sturdy ladder and a buddy when tying the rope to the limb.
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
Once you’ve picked the perfect tree and limb, it’s time to gather all of your materials to make the magic happen.
You will need:
- Used tire
When selecting a rope, pick one that is at least ¾-inch in diameter. You will have a ton of choices from that point on, but if you’re aiming for a natural fiber look, something that is resistant to heat, sunlight, and abrasion, then manila is a good choice.
Check the label, but generally, manila rope has a working load limit of 695 pounds. You can certainly find higher load limits with twisted polypropylene or twisted nylon and polyester, but you will spend a good bit more and not have quite the resistance features as manila rope in the outside elements -- so choose your rope wisely!
As for the tire, you can purchase a shiny new one if you’d like, but realistically, a used tire is what you’re after. There are many used tire shops that will happily sell you a single tire. You can also try junkyards or pull-a-part type places as well. And luck may have it that you happen to spot a perfectly good tire at a garage sale or flea market.
Pro Tip: Make sure the tire you pick is in decent shape without any large fissures or cracks.
Step 2: Install SwingTie
Now that you’ve gathered your materials, the first thing that you’ll want to do is install SwingTie.
SwingTie is safe, secure, and rated to hold up to 1,000 pounds. Needless to say, it is the ultimate tree swing strap!
First, hang the tie over the tree branch. Then, loop the small ring and carabiner through the larger loop. Pull the small loop tight so that the larger loop slides up to meet the branch, and voila -- you’ve just installed SwingTie. It’s really that easy.
Step 3: Drill Holes In The Tire
Prior to drilling any holes into your tire, give it a good wash down with heavy-duty detergent, scrubbing it inside and out. You can also opt to use a tire cleaning product, but any detergent you have at home should work just fine.
Once your tire is clean, drill some drainage holes into one of the sidewalls of the tire. This side will be the bottom of your swing. The holes are important because they make sure that any water collecting on the inside of the tire due to rain will easily drain out.
Pro Tip: Be really careful when drilling holes through your tire. There could be metal strands on the inside of the tire that you’ll need to drill through.
Step 4: Connect Your Rope To SwingTie
Next, take your rope and connect it to a stainless steel carabiner. If you remember from your good ol’ boy scout days, there are a ton of different knots to choose from. However, the best knot to tie a rope to a carabiner is the Buntline Hitch knot.
Once you complete your knot, attach the carabiner to the SwingTie hook, which you installed in step 1.
By the end of this step, you should have your SwingTie installed with a long rope hanging down from it. Your tire should be cleaned and have holes drilled into the side for proper drainage. Are you still with us? Great! Moving on to step 5.
Step 5: Tie The Rope To The Tire
To properly secure the other end of the rope to your tire, use a square knot. But before making your knot, judge how far you would like the tire to be off the ground. It should be free of any obstacles and should be high enough so that your little one’s legs don’t drag on the ground. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be so high that they can’t get into it on their own.
Note: Remember to keep the drainage holes at the bottom, with the top of the tire opposite the side with the holes.
Step 6: Test Your New Tire Swing
Now the only thing left to do on your list of how to make a tire swing is to test it out. Have the heaviest member of your family test the swing to ensure its strength; however, you may not want to tell this person why he or she was chosen…
Test it for a few swings and bounce up and down on the tire to really make sure the knots stay secure and that the branch will support the weight.
Step 7: Enjoy!
Let your impatient little one swing already! If there is any excess rope, you can cut it off later, as it’s really no big deal as long as it’s not in the way. Pat yourself on the back and admire your handiwork -- you did it!
A Final Word
Did you know that swinging comes with a lot of amazing benefits? Yup. It’s true. Swinging improves motor and sensory skills as well as coordination, reduces stress, can improve your mood while providing calming effects, and helps children to increase their attention spans. Additionally, swinging is also an amazing way to get outdoors to breathe in the fresh air.
If you’re looking for ways to make this summer a little more magical, consider making a tire swing. They are relatively inexpensive to make and a whole lot of fun! All you need is SwingTie, a carabiner, rope, and a tire.
SwingTie is the original tree swing hanger that offers a fast, safe, and efficient way to mount backyard accessories to a tree branch, beam, or other hanging mechanisms. Whether you’re looking to install a tire swing or a hammock, SwingTie can help.
Check out SwingTie -- the quickest way to get swinging!