Introduction: How to Make a Foldable Swing
Have you ever wanted to just take a break and do something fun outside? I have a solution. Now you can swing anywhere you want with this foldable swing! It hardly takes any space and it's super light so you don't have to drag along a heavy swing, which you can't even hang properly in a tree. And there's no complicated system, the swing just pops open almost ready to use.
Here is a step by step instructable on how to make this foldable swing.
If you want to take a look at the design process, take a look here: http://devoogtjoyceswing.blogspot.be/
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Step 1: Materials
For this swing, you will need:
- Rope: 1 thin and 1 thick: I used white nylon rope with a diameter of 4 and 10 mm
- Fabric or cloth: Thick, strong, durable; 1 square meter
- Grommets and a simple punch: I used 10 grommets with a diameter of 12 mm. The larger the swing, the more grommets you'll need. The diameter of the grommets should be bigger than twice the thin rope
- Carabiner: Look at the specifications because it needs to be able to bear your weight
- Steel ring: Big enough for 6 thin ropes. Make sure it's strong enough so it won't crack.
- Springsteel: I used one of 4 mm wide and 3 m long
- Duct tape
- Aluminum pipe of at least 50 cmlong and with a diameter about 2 cm
You'll also need a few tools to make the swing:
- Sewing machine + chalk
- A round file for metal
Step 2: The Ring Out of Springsteel
The springsteel ring should fold like picture 1. I've got my springsteel ring out of a princess tent for children (picture 2) but you can also buy it.
Lay the springsteel in a circle with the desired diameter (picture 3). Measure the diameter (picture 4). Mine was 74cm so I'm going to work with that distance. You can make it much smaller if you want. As you can see in the next pictures the swing is really big.
Cut the unnecessary part off with the wire-shears (picture 5). Connect with duct-tape. The tape is temporarily.
Optional: You can make a little connection piece (a small tube) (picture 6) for extra strength. You still have to connect it with duct-tape or the springsteel will slip out.
Step 3: Sewing the Fabric
Lay the ring on the fabric and mark a circle (diameter + 10 cm) with chalk around it (picture 1). Now cut it out with scissors (picture 2). Zigzag stitch the border of the fabric (picture 3 and 4). Fold the extra 10 cm fabric on the inside and pin it down. Use your sewing machine to hem the border , approximately 1-2 cm from the border (enough space for the ring) (picture). Leave 5 cm open to put the ring back in. The sewing is now done.
Step 4: Placing the Grommets
Divide the circumference of the circle into 16 equal parts. If you know the diameter, you can calculate the circumference easily and divide it by 16 (3.14 * 79cm = 248 cm; 248 / 16= 15.5 cm). It's easy to begin with folding the fabric in half, then again in half and marking the edges (picture 1). Now you have 4 perfect quarters. Take a tape-measure and mark every 15,5 cm (picture 2).
Take your scissors and make a tiny opening (it must be tinier then the grommet if the fabric is elastic) in both layers about 1 cm from the sewing (picture 3). You can choose how many openings for the rope you want. I made 16 openings (picture 4) but used only 10 (5 each side).
Put the ring back in the fabric with duct-tape (if needed also the connection piece).
Take your grommets, the punch and a hammer (picture 5). Take the punchplate, lay the bottom grommet on it, put the opening in the fabric round it, place the upper grommet on it and then the punch (picture 6 and 7). Hit it all together with a the hammer. Do this at every opening. It should now look like picture 8, 9 and 10.
Step 5: Practice the Folding
Take the ring with a hand at each side. One handpalm up and one handpalm down. Fold each side at the opposite direction until you have and eight-shape (picture 2). Keep doing this until one side goes under the other and you get a tinier circle (picture 3). It's actually really easy. You just have to know how to do it.
Take a look at the video so you can see the right technique.
Step 6: The Ropes
Lay the ring on the ground (picture 1). Hang the little metal ring above it at 1-1,5 meter (I choose 1,10 m).
Go with the thin rope through the ring to the bottom into the first opening (picture 2). Now go over the edge and go through the same hole (picture 3). Go under the ring to the opposite opening (picture 4). Put the rope through it, again over the edge and into the same hole (picture 5). Then go back up through the metal ring above (picture 6) and repeat the same at the next openings. I did 5 at each side. (picture 7)
Tie both ends to the metal ring with a simple (overhand) knot (picture 8). Make sure one end of the rope is still long enough so it can go through the pipe (next step).
Take the thick rope and make a knot at one end (picture 9). Take the noose and attach it to the carabiner. Throw the other side over the branch. Now choose the desired height of the swing and make another knot at this side. (picture 10)
Step 7: Aluminium Pipe
Measure the distance between your shoulders (mine was about 42 cm). Now add about 5 cm + 2 cm (for the gaps) to it. Mark the pipe at this distance (for me 50 cm) and cut it with a metal saw. You can also use a circular saw or another machine. (picture 1) This distance doesn't have to be precise.
Drill a hole in the middle of the pipe (picture 2). The drill should be bigger than the thin rope (I used a drill of 8 mm so the rope of 4 mm could pass easily).
Take a round file for metal and make a gap at both sides in the middle about 1x1cm (picture 3). The ropes should fit in it.
Make sure there are no sharp edges that can cut the rope! Use your file to make the edges smooth. The pipe is now finished. (picture 4)
Take the end of the thin rope and go through the hole and make a knot (picture 5 and 6). Place the pipe between the ropes (picture 7). You are now done!
Step 8: Enjoy!
Take your swing to the park and enjoy!
Steps in the video:
Find a tree. Unwind the rope and unfold the swing. Throw the carabiner over the branch and let it come down. Take the carabiner and attach it to the swing. Attach the pipe between the ropes. Make a noose at the desired height and attach it to the carabiner. Enjoy the swing! Detach the pipe and swing when you're done. Take the rope out of the tree. Fold the swing and wrap the robe around it. Put the pipe between it. Now you are ready to leave.