how to make a tire swing (mama-style)

[ 1 ] June 18, 2012 |

Erin originally posted this awesome how-to piece on her blog, exhale. return to center. I feel Erin and I are kindred spirits in how we both have many more creative ideas than we can execute in a timely manner but hopefully when we do – and as Erin demonstrates with her tire swing – are worth the wait. – Anisa

Step One: Admire tire swing at your kids’ preschool for YEARS. Think about how nice it would be to have on in your yard. Talk (a lot) about which tree it should go in and how much fun it will be.

Step Two: Hire your friend (who happens to be a very talented arborist) to hang a line from way up in the tallest oak tree at the top of the hill.

Step Three: Do nothing related to tire swing for six months except occasionally tell visiting friends why there is a long rope with a carabiner hanging from your tree and again think about how nice it will be when there is a tire swing there.

Step Four: Put a tire swing on your Vision Board and dream about how much fun it is going to be to have one in your backyard.

Step Five: Google  ”how to make a tire swing” and attempt to read instructions like this and this. Get overwhelmed by the details and number of steps. Decide you’ve got the gist of it.

Step Six: Show your tire swing sketch to your dad (a retired engineer) and get “the look” when 90% of his questions are answered with “Oooo…didn’t think about that” or “Huh. I’m not really sure.”

Step Seven: Decide you don’t really need your dad’s help and that you are going to build this thing yourself. (Dammit.)

Step Eight: Take your sketch to the hardware store to buy supplies. Get “the look” from Ed when 90% of his questions are answered with ”I haven’t exactly figured that out yet.”

Step Nine: Drive around with hardware in your car for several weeks. Finally admit that you actually do (very much) need your dad’s help.

Step Ten: Spontaneously decide you are ready to do this and that it has to be done TODAY. Call your dad to see if you can work in his driveway (and use his tools). Go to tire shop to get an old tire. Arrive at your dad’s 30 minutes later.

Step 11: Drill holes in the bottom of the tire. (To let rain water out.)

Step 12: Figure out how to measure an equilateral triangle on top of the tire, drill three more holes and attach hardware.

(See detailed instructions in the links above – or consult with an engineer. 😉

Step 13: Guestimate how much chain you need. Drive back to the hardware store. Tell Ed how well the project is going and purchase the chain.

Step 14: Attach chain. Thank your dad for his help and race home to test out tire swing. Quickly realize that you seriously over-estimated the amount of chain needed (unfortunate because it’s very expensive). Get totally frustrated and give yourself a talking to about not being so impulsive and in a hurry all the time as the tire scrapes the ground.

Step 15: Figure out how to tie chain in a knot so that kids can ride on it anyway. Spend entire weekend taking turns soaring on the new tire swing and forget about tiny miscalculations.

(Take lots of photos to share on your blog.)

Step 16: Return to hardware store a week later to see Ed. Explain miscalculations (didn’t account for the give in the branch, the weight of the chains, the slope of the hill, and the stretch in the climbing rope). Feel relieved when Ed tells you he probably wouldn’t have thought of all of those things either. Get chains cut to correct length.

Step 17: Return home and hang up new – perfectly measured – tire swing. Feel much satisfaction (and very little desire to share tire swing with the children it was allegedly built for).

Step 18: Start sketching out plans for the ZIP LINE!

(Thanks for your help – and patience – Dad!)

Category: crafts, kids, play, preschool, tweens


Erin Barrette Goodman

about the author ()

Erin is a multi-media artist, interfaith minister, yoga teacher and passionate builder of community. She is the founder of the Rhode Island Birth Network and the creator and host of Behind the Blog. As a mother of two, she also packs lunches, drives the carpool, and bows to the power of PBS Kids.

Comments (1)

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  1. Erin Goodman says:

    LOVE your intro, Anisa.

    And am honored that you think of me as a kindred spirit. I feel the same way about you!

    This was indeed a very satisfying project to complete and we are still very much enjoying our tire swing!

    ~Erin

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