IMG_6524Believe 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.IMG_6304Start 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.  IMG_6306Take 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.

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IMG_6320Then 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.  IMG_6312Repeat 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.IMG_6329 IMG_6330It’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.IMG_6331Then 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. IMG_6336The 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.   IMG_6355Now you’re ready to have fun and be safe! IMG_6469
IMG_6466We 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. IMG_6548
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IMG_6499It’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.IMG_6529
IMG_6523And 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.IMG_6508
IMG_6538Let 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.  

  • Oh I just LOVE this. The idea of using a skateboard deck is brilliant!!
    We had a rope swing from a tree in our old house and the kids just loved it. Sadly, we don’t have a swing at this house (none of our trees fit the bill) but it’s one of my favorite memories of summer!!

    And yes, your backyard does look like a very fun and special place!!

  • Laura

    Since you used the carabiner rings you can hang a lot of things from them. A friend of mine did that in her yard. Her son has autism and they used it for occupational therapy but it’s great for all kids. Some of the things I remember are hitting a tether ball back and forth, using a bat to hit a wiffle ball (or a regular baseball but the wiffle ball is easier to string up), and she had some super strong stretchy fabric that she would tie in a loop and then when he sat it in it was kinda like a cocoon. Let me know if you want a tire … I still have some from Tyler’s Monster Jam party 2 years ago!

  • I love this idea!! So cute. I wish we had a big tree!

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