How To Build A Tree Swing – The Simplest Outdoor Swing

This is a specific and straight to the point guide with images. I’ll show you how to build probably the simplest and cheapest swing set available – a tree swing. The only thing you need to have is a backyard and a good tree :)

Provided that you have all the materials on hand, you should be able to build this tree swing in a couple of hours. Don’t rush it however as the solidity of the construction of every swing is very important.

Let’s get to action.

Materials and tools you need

This is a simple outdoor swing so there isn’t much required:

  • A tree. Don’t worry, you are not going to cut it down. You’ll just attach the swing to it.
  • A thick board. Usually it will be wooden, but a thick and robust plastic board can also do the work. It should be about 20″ (50cm) wide and 35″ (90cm) long. Could be slightly smaller if only kids will use the swing.
  • Two robust ropes. I can’t tell you how long, because this depends on how high branch on the tree you are going to use. In any case each of them should be minimum 4 feet / 120 cm because you swing will have height equal to about its half. In the guide below you will see why.
  • Eventually a couple of rings You can make your swing without this, but if it will be used too often the ropes will fray from the friction into the wood, or the branch itself will be damaged. A couple of metal or plastic rings will significantly reduce the friction.
  • Brace or drill. You will need to make a few holes in the board.

If you decide to add the rings, you should somehow put them onto the branch. Eventually this can happen easier by using half rings instead of full ones.

Let’s build it!

Step 1: Choose a Tree

You need a good tree, old and strong enough. Avoid using fruit trees like apple or pear, they aren’t strong enough. A walnut-tree, mulberry, oak or beech will do the best work.
Pick a branch that is 2-3m (10 ft) from the ground so the outdoor swing is neither too high nor too low. The branch should be strong and relatively horizontal.

Step 2: Prepare the Board

The board must be thick and robust. If you are building a swing for adults, it should be wider than if the swing will be used from kids only.
Use the drill to make four holes into the board. They should be wide enough for a good strong rope to run through them.
Make the holes at least 2 inches (5 cm) away from the ends of the board, so the connection between the board and the rope is stable enough.
Don’t drill them too much inside however as there should be enough space for the person who will swing there.

Attach the Board To the Branch With Ropes

Here is how you can calculate the length of each rope. It equals A + B + C + about 30% of thus formed length for the knots.
If you are using rings, attach them on the branch at the positions where you plan to make the knots.
The board should be exactly horizontal, otherwise swinging will be impossible. So it’s quite likely that your ropes will have different length.
For maximum comfort you can attach handles on each rope.

That’s it! This outdoor swing is really simple. We’ll have guides on building more complex outdoor swing sets, so keep visiting us.

Here is a tree swing guide with more details and photos.

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One Response to “How To Build A Tree Swing – The Simplest Outdoor Swing”

  1. larry Says:

    looking to make a swing (tree)that i can bring with us on trips for the kids

    and use it over and over on the trips

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