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Picture of How to make a tire swing!
This explains how to build a tire swing. On the surface, a simple tire with a rope would seem to be a good tire swing. After all, it worked for us when we were children. But, these days, just tying a rope to a tire is not good enough. For purchased play sets, tires are now mounted horizontally instead of vertically, and that presents an entirely set of its own challenges. Here is how I succeeded in building my children a professional looking tire swing for half the cost!

Let me note at the onset that this instructable is not a joke. It is long and detailed, with lots of pictures. If you're really not interested in building a tire swing, then don't waste your time looking through it. But, if you are truly interested in building a tire swing, then this is serious and detailed instructions that ought to give you every tool to be successful. Good luck!

Step 1: Pick out a tire!

Picture of Pick out a tire!
First, pick out a tire. Thinking that "Bigger is better" will only get you in trouble here. Without being indelicate, consider the size of the derrieres that will be riding the swing. For smaller children, a big tire just won't do. For large adults, a smaller tire should be fine - as long as it's bigger (the tire, not the derriere) than the one on your wheelbarrow! I was looking at a tire from a pickup truck, but realized our 2 1/2 year old twins wouldn't get near it. So, I settled for the tire I'd just taken off the 15" rear wheel of my motorcycle. Perfect!

Once the tire is chosen, look at both sides of it and determine which side looks better. This will be the top side. Flip the tire over and drill holes in the bottom sidewall. To do this, set the tire on a surface that will be at a height appropriate for drilling without straining your back. I used our new picnic table & it did the job perfectly. Use about a 1/2" drill bit and drill holes around the sidewall, ever few inches. The holes don't have to be perfectly spaced, but it'll drain better if the holes are more evenly spaced. I used the tread pattern to space the holes. Here's a picture of the bottom of the tire with the drain holes already drilled.
 
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redcodefsu made it!1 month ago
I made the swing and it came out great!
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JoshuaG101 month ago

This inspired me to get a tire swing! I found a used tire place that GAVE me the "junk" tire. I bought chains and links rated 660-2200 lbs so, no issue on whomever was going to get on it. I forgot the swivel. so I'm headed back tomorrow to get that! Thanks for the help!

JoshuaG101 month ago
Mechymom made it!2 months ago
I followed your instructions to a point, I used an old swing to hang over the tree, all my parts came from an old swing set and I used a 19 inch tire. Except instead of using chain I used rope and its holding up, to me, my older daughter and my 3 year old
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JamieR73 months ago
we made ours but the only problem is when our daughter (who is 3) sits on one side opposite side lifts up as she swings and there is slack in the chain. any ideas to correct this?
Stichter made it!3 months ago
Thanks for the detailed instructions. We just made this swing this weekend and it took about an hour and $80 worth of hardware. Our branch is pretty high and the tire is really big so we got heavier load capacity components and chain. We also added braided rubber tubing as a means to protect the branch and the kids' fingers; just thread the chain through the tube or pull like you would wire through conduit.
One note our tire is pretty big and is steel reinforced so drilling the cores on the bottom was pretty tough!
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Appreciate this alot. We decided to do this before we saw your project. We googled the how to and this came up first. It helped us finish what we already figured out.
For an even more frugal project, we used swing hardware salvaged from an old metal swing set we found. Thanks again.
We are using your instructions to build this swing for our little guy this weekend, as an Easter present. We really appreciate your clear and thorough instructions. Thank you for sharing, and I will posts some pics as soon as we unveil!
nvahalik made it!6 months ago

We used an old car tire for this one. Works like a charm and can hold almost the entire family! I didn't use a clip hook, but instead opted for some extra connector links to put it all together.

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Great directions! You made it easy for us tool challenged people.

ChuckB11 year ago

It's not clear to me why you have the clip hook and how it'd be used to adjust the height of the tire from the ground. Hooking to the chain anywhere gives you the exact same height. The only obvious (to me) way to change the length from the tree is to use the connector link that closes the chain to close it with a shorter chain loop (i.e., leave some links out of the closed loop).

hreamer1 year ago
hi this is excellent!! I just bought all my hardware yesterday... will rope work as well as the chain? and how did you decide the 3 pieces of chain should be 3'? and how tall off the ground you say?
Thank you so much for sharing this very detailed and thorough tutorial. I just "acquired" a tire from my car and have been dying to make it a swing for my 3yo, but had no idea where to begin except the ol' school rope-over-a-limb approach. I'm super excited to get this going for my first Spring project of the year!
Angelarae2 years ago
Another Tire Swing tutorial suggested running the part of the chain that will touch the limb through a piece of heavy duty garden hose to protect the tree limb. What are your thoughts on that? Also, we will be using our swing in our front yard only when our grandkids come to visit a few times a year. It appears that your system would allow us to take it down when not in use and easily re-hang it when the kids come. Is that possible with this design?
The garden hose will certainly help - I'd even go a step further and suggest wrapping the branch with a carpet sample square (usually available for a few dollars @ a carpet store). You basically want to avoid any rubbing of the bark. The concept is the same as wearing leather gloves when working with shovels/axes/etc. - the in between layer takes the brunt of the friction so your skin (or bark, if you happen to be an Ent or some other type of tree) stays safe.
McBane2 years ago
Ran across this post last week, after a friend gave me a very nice "used" tire from a previous tire swing (roped) and about $50 in materials, I now have a wonderful tire swing that can support a minimum of 800lbs :) Thank you for the how to and here's to the many hours of fun and enjoyment my boys will get out of this swing!!! p.s. I used a sadle connector due to buying too big a hook for my chain :)
JAH12 years ago
This is great tire swing. It is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you for letting me know the weight limits too. My only real problem is I am hanging it from the walk-way on my dock which is metal. I am hoping if I add hose around the top chain, it will minimize the loud metal and chain clanking or grinding.
What about using rope instead of chain? Does that work?
philandy2 years ago
Just finished ours, thank you so much for the idea - our monster tire and 800 lb rating can fit up to 3 heavy adults safely. However, check if all the components fit together at the shop! Also, check the weight ratings (some brands only rate to 20 lb, especially on the S hooks). I can see this being a 10+ hour project and future headache if you don't. If I build another my shopping list would be the tire, the 3 "complete" eye bolts, 6 C links, the swivel, and the 4 chain lengths; 3 C's would be to connect the chains to the tire (instead of S hooks), 1 to connect the 3 chains together to the swivel, 1 to connect the other end of the swivel to the long chain, and 1 to adjust the long chain length. The 1/4" C links are rated for heavier than the 3/8 and 1/2" S hooks (at least at Lowe's). This project cost about $100 for me with a free tire, however I can see it being under $50 if you can get the chain online / on sale.
taragl3 years ago
Thanks for this great Instructable. We followed your instructions and ended up with a perfect tire swing for our three-year-old. He's thrilled!
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bkessler8263 years ago
Excellent instructions, thank you! A few variations: instead of all chain, I used 3/4" nylon 1,450lb WLL rope from the limb (16' up). To attach to the tire, I used "swingset chain" that was already coated with plastic. Instead of 'S' hooks, I used quick-links. Everything else was exactly the same as yours. My 8yo son and I did this together as a father/son project, and he was absolutely giddy about it! :-)
JB4ever3 years ago
what would be the weight limit for this swing?
rickluc3 years ago
I've got a 4x6 beam, about 9 feet off ground, setup for a couple of swings for my 4 and 7 year old grand kids. Wondering how much room would be needed between support post for a tire swing with one of those swivel brackets? Or I could do the swing like in this forum and how much space should I leave?Thanks
pulrich13 years ago
Does anyone know what to coat the tires with to get them to be hard and shiny and smooth, like on a playground? I'm thinking of using Krylon plastic spray paint. That way they tires won't leave marks and detriorate in the heat/sun as the rubber leeches out its checmicals that make it soft.
cia0cicci04 years ago
thank you for the easy-to-understand directions and pictures. the swing (and your yard in general) are very handsome.
ljennings4 years ago
A suggestion. Wasps/hornets are territorial. If they find an existing nest they won't build in that area. I've seen decoy nests on Gardener Supply Company's webpage. Hang one of those near the swing and they shouldn't be a problem.
alaskanjer4 years ago
Does the swivel get any side load when the kids are swinging? I am about to build this for three 7 year olds and I know they will test the limits of its range of motion. I would guess the swivel's rating doesn't factor anything in besides tension.
Also, the weight rating on the components you selected assumes a static weight. A 200 pound person swinging probably produces a lot more tension at the bottom of the swing arc than a 200 pound person just sitting on the swing. That said, in addition to the safety factor that you used, there is probably also a safety factor built into the numbers printed on the packaging.
michael.su5 years ago
Thank s a bunch for this idea and great instructable! -Mike
wbentrim5 years ago
Excellent instructions and photos. I thank you and I know my grandkids will thank you. Bill
Hey ya'll if you have a 1" hole saw or a big drill bit drill 3 holes in the bottom side of the tire. This will let all the H20 drain out. most side walls are reinforced with nylon not steel belts. But I have a problem, my tire is several years old the black coming off is excessive. How do I stop it? I power washed it, can I wax it?
jonband5 years ago
Great instructable here. Here's my 2 cents (from an aerospace engineer working in structures). For any given swing, if you were to start 90 degrees from the vertical, the tension in the chain at the bottom of the arc will be 3 times your weight. Therefore, PLEASE PLEASE make sure that your rope or chain working load limit (WLL) is at least 3X the maximum load of the swing. I wanted my swing to accomodate a 250 lb adult, and therefore needed components with a 750 lb WLL. The big weak link in your design here are the eyelets. I could only find eyelets with a 80 lb WLL after searching around! This means the swing is really only safe with a 80 lb child ((3-80lb eyelets * 80 lbs)/3MG)=80 lb. I strongly recommend using ubolts instead for the chain-to-tire attachments, especially if your swing will be used by adults and is potentially dangerous (my chaiin length is over 20 ft!)
jonband jonband5 years ago
Forgot to mention my advice is against the non-welded eye bolts as pictured in your tutorial. Welded eye bolts are another story and are much stronger (but also harder to come by - neither home depot or lowes sells these in my area)
Jayefuu5 years ago
Brilliant ible :D

Just thought you might like to know that the "connector link" you describe is commonly used in climbing and is called a maillon (pronounced may-on not mal-eee-on), can be bought for a few dollars from climbing shops. Thought it might help people find them.
bellas nana5 years ago
Instructions were great!  DH just hung our swing last weekend after purchasing everything we needed at Lowe's and he did a fab job!  We have plenty of trees in the back yard but none with an appropriate limb for the swing. My husband (former boy scout and retired Navy) advised me it was no problem...he would "lash some boards to the trees."  I was the doubting thomas but it all worked out great.  He screwed together 2 - 2x6 boards for strength and lashed them in between 2 trees, nothing was screwed into the trees.  He tested it with his 200 lb weight and all is well.  Now we just have to wait for the grandkids (7 and 5) to arrive from Germany for the month of July.  I am sure they will have tons of fun!!  Thank you adlabens for taking the time to post these instructions and inspiring us all!  I have been unable to upload photos...sorry.
Hey I just wanted to say that I used your directions and built a killer tire swing. I had rented a 43' lift for the day to cut down some tree limbs and thought ahead of time that that would be a great idea to put up a tire swing the same day. I spent about $65.00 in materials by using a heavy duty manilla rope 3/4'' that has a weight capacity of 640lbs and bought 15' of chain for the triangle down to the tire itself. The tire was free from my local motorcycle shop. They were more than happy to give away as many tires as I could take. So I grabbed 5 of them. One suggestion if you have the option is to try the tire out on your backside first before stringing it up. I had one of the five picked out but then asked my wife to see what she thought and she went and put it on her tushie and said no go. She proceeded to try out the other ones which were of different diameters and found one that "fit good"  It happened to be the Harley Davidson tire. Everything looks great and the kids love it. I've roped the tire up to an eye bolt running through a limb about 30' feet up so the kids have a nice big swing. The swivel works great and I used lithium grease on it to keep it quiet. Good suggestion.  One more suggestion that should be obvious to most folks. Watch out where the tire swings to. We have some electrical wires that our tire could hit if you were to swing high enough but most of our kids won't be swinging that high. But it could happen. I'm just saying that folks should check that before stringing up. Thanks soooo much for your helps and suggestion. They saved me money and time.
All my best
Brian Bartlett
liandyk5 years ago
Great instructions! All supplies were at Lowes and a tire store gave us a free tire. Swing is over 50 feet high and my kids love it! It cost half the cost to make than it would cost to purchase from a swing-set store. Thanks for the Instructable.
adlabens (author)  liandyk5 years ago
Liandyk, I was at a tire shop the other day, and talked with them about building another tire swing. They offered to give me one of their used tires for that purpose - they service tractor/trailers, so it was a HUGE tire & would have sat at least 4 kids, maybe 8! So, if folks are nice & don't want to use the tires for their vehicles, it seems this is a good way to get a tire! Also, with a tire that size, I'd have used four supporting chains rather than the 3 I used on the motorcycle tire. And, with 4, even on the motorcycle tire, it would have made it easier for two children to share it. That may be the only mistake I made.
ncurrier6 years ago
Ok guys...I'm a 56 year old school teacher (white haired and female) and I made one of these for my 2 year old granddaughter. It was easy, the directions are great. I did add the tubing over the chains to avoid pinched fingers. She loves it! I got all the components at Lowe's and it was worth every penny. It is the first thing she goes for when she gets out of the car. We expect many years of use. Thank you, Aldabens...good job!
adlabens (author)  ncurrier5 years ago
NCurrier, I am humbled by your praise. I'm just 6 years younger than you, but my children (ages 7 & 3 & 3) love it also. Yep, I started a bit late. But the kids love it just the same! Thank you.
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