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For this project, we are describing how to make a tyreswing where the tyre sits horizontal. This way you can fit more than one child on. You can however make an even simpler tyreswing where the tyre is vertical. Or if you want something more fancy, instead of using rope you can use chain- however this way is more expensive, not so traditional, and the chain weighs more.

Materials and Tools

Tree

Rope of suitable thickness to hold an old tyre and a bunch of swinging children

Tyre

Drill or sharp knife

Small length of hose

Step 1

Choose a suitable branch to hang the tyreswing off. You will need to consider how far away from the tree trunk you will be able to hang the swing, as you don't really want your precious babies colliding with the tree. It is preferable as well that there are no gnarly tree roots under where they will be swinging in case Johnny falls off head first. Another consideration is the height of the branch- if you have 2 branches to choose from I'd go for the higher one, as this will give the tyreswing a much bigger swing arc and is a lot more fun. And lastly, the tree branch will have to be suitably sized to be able to cope with the weight of a tyre, a length of rope, and 4 children swinging around like crazed monkeys.

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Step 2

You can get an old tyre from a tyre shop, it should cost next to nothing if not be free. Ensure that it has enough rubber tread on it so that no canvas or steel belting is showing. Using either a drill or a sharp pocket knife or similar, put 4 holes or small slots in the topside equal distance apart. Flip the tyre over and bang in a few more holes on the underside that will drain out any water when it rains.

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Step 3

Tie one end of your rope to the branch. Use common sense here, particularly if you climb up the tree and are considering tightrope walking along a branch. One option is to flick a fishing line with a sinker over the branch, then tie the end of the rope to the line to pull it over. Or you can use a sock with a small rock in it, tied to a length of string. Depending on your branch, if it is quite high and you don't fancy climbing the tree to tie a knot, you could flick the rope over, tie a slip knot, and pull/slide the knot up to the branch. Another option if your branch has a fork in it, is to use the fork as the pivot point so you can tie the rope to the tree trunk.

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If possible place the small length of hose between the rope and the branch at the pivot point. This will help protect the rope and the branch from rubbing. Slice the hose lengthways and slip it over the rope.

Step 4

Now that you have your rope dangling from the tree, you can attach the tyre. Tie a simple knot in the rope approximately 2 metres up from the ground. Then thread the rope in through one of the holes in the top side of the tyre and out either one of the holes next to it. Pull the rope through so that it lifts that side of the tyre off the ground to the height you'll want it to be, and tie a knot just above the anchor knot you put in 2 metres from ground level.

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At this point, step back and have a good think about the tyre height. Have you factored in how much the branch will bow down when there are children on the swing? And importantly, the swing should not be too low either for safety reasons- if a child is sitting with their legs dangling through the centre of the tyre, when they are swinging will their legs hit the ground and be snapped off below the knee?

Step 5

Thread the rope end back down and through the third hole in the top side of the tyre and out the fourth and last hole. Take the rope end back up to the previous 2 knots and tie another knot immediately above the other 2 knots. The anchor knot should ensure these other 2 knots will not slip down the rope. Make sure the 4 rope lengths going to the tyre are of equal distance so that the tyre hangs level.

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Step 6

Test the tyreswing before any children jump on! It should be able to easily take your weight, if not more (we've had 5 children hanging off our tyre swing at once). If you are not happy with the height of the tyre once laden, you will unfortunately have to undo your knots and start again.

This tyreswing should last you and your children a long time. Do keep in mind though that not everything lasts forever, so it is important to check the condition of the tyre and rope from time to time, and don't forget to check your knots! The beauty of this type of swing is that if the tyre or the rope wears out, it is very very cheap to replace.

The finished product

tyre-swing

Update- unfortunately the rope from my initial tyreswing eventually rotted through after a couple of years use. Fortunately no one was hurt. Plus I managed to score a very long length of strong shipping rope from a garage sale! Voila, tyreswing number 2.

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This time around I used some chain I found under the house to secure the rope high up in the tree

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There's always a reason I accumulate lots of stuff- a couple of big D shackles were the perfect way to connect the tyre to the rope!

tyreswing

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