July 1, 2013
Believe it or not, Taylor came up with the idea to build a swing out of a skateboard deck. While I believe my daughter is a creative genius, I do have to wonder if she saw this somewhere, and unknowingly tucked it away in her subconscious mind a long time ago, because the idea was just too brilliant.
We have the most amazing tree in the backyard, a 40 foot Chinese Elm to be exact, and it was just begging for a swing to be hung from it. When Taylor came up with the skateboard deck idea, we ordered one right away and then it sat in our garage for the last year. This weekend we finally put up the swing, and really couldn’t believe we had put it off so long because it was pretty quick and easy of a process. Here’s how we did it, using this tutorial as a guide.
You’ll need braided rope that will hold at least 135 pounds per rope (1 50 ft per swing), 2 steel rings, 2 carabiners, scissors, matches/lighter, skateboard deck. Start by tying a bowline knot, keeping a loop on the end and throw that over the branch. Art tied a steel wrench to the rope to help get it over the branch. Take the loose end and feed it through the loop and then tighten/pull the rope so it creates a noose around the branch. The bowline knot allows for a super tight and secure knot, but expands when there’s no pressure from the weight of the swing, allowing for the tree branch to grow properly.
Then cut the rope to the desired length. We wanted the ability to take down the swing and store it during the winter so we added this extra step, but it’s not necessary. We tied another bowline to a steel ring so that we could hook and unhook the swing to it. Repeat this process on your second rope so you now have to ropes hanging down from your tree. Then go ahead and drill your holes into your deck (we used a 3/8″ bit), and feed 2 pieces of rope through your deck. It’s important to note that we fed the rope through horizontally so they run along the long side of the deck as opposed to vertically running along the short side. This provides additional support of the deck. Then take your two pieces of rope on either side and tie together in at least 3 half hitch knots, pulling extra hard to ensure a tight and secure knot. The last step is, using the rope from either side of the deck swing, tie another bowline to your carabiners and then attach to the rings. You can now unhook your carabiners and take down the swing if you’re having a party or during the winter. One last thing you should do is burn the edges of your ropes to prevent fraying. Simply take a match or lighter to the ends and singe till they melt together, should just take a few seconds. Now you’re ready to have fun and be safe!
We couldn’t install a swing for the big kids and leave out little Hayden, so we got a baby swing up for him too and he’s in heaven.
It’s only been a couple of mornings since we installed the swing, but so far they’ve ran outside each day and got on their swing. They ate breakfast by their swing and then their popsicles later in the afternoon. It’s awesome to see them so excited about it. Syd, the night we installed it, said “I can’t believe we actually have our own swing in the backyard now.” It feels good to see them getting so much joy out of such a simple experience.
And because our tree is so high up, the swing gets a really deep, high arc to it so you really lose your stomach on it, in the most awesome of ways. It doesn’t get going super fast, but what it lacks in speed it more than makes up for in the drop and the free-fall.
Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them. This was such a fun, easy and quick DIY project that I’m so glad we completed. Just when I thought it wasn’t possible, the backyard went and got even cooler.
It goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyhow, this tutorial is how we did it and I cannot be responsible for any faulty installation of your own swing at home. We suggest doing your own research, asking questions at your hardware store to make sure you get the right supplies, and maybe even watch a video or two online. We test the swing each time, with our own weight, to ensure strength and security and recommend you do too.