Tiny Gum Wrapper Swing Set




A miniature swing set made using foil gum wrappers.
Features swing that actually works!
Materials required: 10 gum wrappers
Complexity: Medium to Low
Cost: $0.00 (or three easy payments of $0.00 - Visa and Master card gladly accepted)
(for swing only)

Background art for sale:

Remember when you were in grade school and you had to take turns on the swing? We had a rule where, if you were waiting you would count our slowly to 21. When you got to 21 the kid on the swing would have to get off and it was your turn. It was a lost memory until I started building one of these and recalled that from first grade. It was always an argument too - "you counted too fast" "did not" "did so" etc. Well, enough of my wasted youth - let's get started...

Step 1: Fold Sticks

If you've read any of my other instructables, you're already familiar with this.
We need to create nine (9) gum wrapper sticks for the construction of the swing set.

Lay a wrapper out flat with the serrated edges facing up. Make sure the little flaps at the ends are unfolded all the way.

Fold in half lengthwise. Try to make the fold as exact as possible.
Keep folding in half a couple more times lengthwise. When you get to where you can't fold it, crease it down the middle again lengthwise with your thumbnail. Keep in the middle as much as possible.

Fold around the crease as best you can. Then roll the piece between your thumb and fingers to produce a cylindrical stick made of aluminum.

Repeat this process process nine (9) times. I make these quite a bit while watching TV or riding my exercise bike. It doesn't take a lot of concentration and is kind of a bad habit for me now.

Step 2: Create Connections for Cross-bar

Now we'll make the connections for the cross-bar.
There will be six connections in all made the same way.

Take two sticks and cross them at a 90 degree angle. Use about 1 inch of one stick to wrap around the other in a tight spiral keeping the 90 degree angle as much as possible. This will form a spiral connector that the cross-bar slides into.
Repeat six times.

Four are needed for the end supports.
Two are needed as the swing chains.

Step 3: Create End Pieces

In this step you'll create supports that will hold the end pieces together and provide stability for the swing.

Take two straight sticks and cross them like you're forming a capital "A" and one of the is the middle piece. Use about a third of the cross piece and wrap it in a tight spiral up the straight side of the "A".
Try to maintain the angle you established when you put them together in the half - "A" shape.
Repeat on the other side by adding another straight stick and wrapping a tight spiral up the "A" with the same size connector on that side.

Repeat this to make another cross member support for the other side. Try to make both the same size and keep the angles consistent on all sides.

Next, slide four sticks with connectors into the cross member connectors as shown to form two "A" supports for each end of the swing. The cross-member connectors at the top of the "A"s.

Step 4: Attach to Overhead Cross Bar

Next step is create the swing chains.

Take one of the pieces with connectors on one end (you should have two left).
About an inch and a half up from the bottom of the straight end, make a crease of about 45 degrees. This crease should be in a plane perpendicular to the direction of the cross-bar connector. In other words - if you put a stick in the connector end pointing straight up, this fold needs to be made on the flat ground - left or right. If the fold makes the straight end go up or down vertically, you've folded the wrong way.
Now measure up from the bottom of that piece one inch and make a fold in the opposite direction in a 135 degree angle This will form kind of a lopsided "V" on the end with no connector. The long part of the "V" should be perpendicular to the long portion of the swing chain. This is how the seat connects to the swing chain. (don't worry about all those degrees - just make it close and ensure the seat is flat).

Repeat this for the other swing chain making sure the lengths and folds are the same for both swing chains

Step 5: Fold the Seat

Now the seat needs to be folded so it will attach to the swing chains.

Take a new wrapper (you probably need another piece of gum by now) and fold it in thirds lengthwise. You want it to be about 3/4 inch wide. If it's a little over or under it won't hurt anything.

Now determine how wide you want the seat. The one here is about 1 inch wide. Take the wrapper and make two folds from each end so that the one inch is centered in the folds. So in my case, with a wrapper 3 1/2 inches long, that leaves 1 1/4 inches on each side so that it's centered. Again, you don' t need to be exact. You just need enough on each side to wrap around the swing chain connectors. Your wrapper should now look like a big "U" shape.

Take a straight stick and roll up one leg of the "U" all the way to the middle in a tight roll.
Do the same for the other leg and put the straight stick back out.

(I've got to work on my photograhy!)

Step 6: Assemble the Overhead Cross-bar

This step you'll assemble the overhead cross-bar to the side supports and the swing chains.

Take one of the "A" side supports created earlier. Turn the connectors on the top of the "A" so that the spiral legs point out from the middle where they meet. Slide the straight stick through the connectors.
You may need to twist a bit to get them through. I like to have the supports for the "A" pieces on the outside of the swing on both sides.

Next put the swing chains on the bar. Thread the swing chains onto the cross-bar so that the bottom connectors face in opposite directions. The connectors at top don't matter - you'll have plenty of room for the spiral connectors up there. Position the swing chains in the middle of the cross-bar about an inch apart from each other.

Now put the cross bar through the top connectors of the other "A" support. Again - make sure the spiral connectors face outward from the point the two connector touch.

Step 7: Put on the Seat

Final step is to assemble the seat.

Take the seat and slide the straight part of the swing chain into the hole formed on one side of the seat. Repeat on the opposite side going the other direction.

Congratulations, you did it!
I made one of these on a plane trip from California. It took a couple of hours. It is probably a lot quicker now that I've got instructions!



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    20 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    thank you, thank you!! I had to make a really quick project and this was perfect! Alas, no gum wrappers, but aluminum foil did the trick! great instruct able!!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    hoho, insnely creative! do u think u could do a slide,monkey bars,etc? Like a whole playground :D pleaze reply

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Couldn't tell if you were serious.
    That describes this instructable

    The swing is just one of many things I've made. Just look at my other instructables to see them.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Cogni, I think it would work with aluminum foil. I haven't tried to make anything from plain foil. The large wrappers on the outside of the gum packs have more foil content and they work very well. I would just make sure that the length to width is about 3 to 1, otherwise you won't be able to make good spiral connectors. Good luck and let us know how it goes (post a picture!)


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Yes it does work with aluminum foil. Plain foil makes nice tight even sticks it turns out.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, congi. That's especially nice to know since Wrigley's, in their infinite wisdom, is discontinuing the inner foil wrappers on all Extra gum.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    You know you could do a commercial for Wrigley's gum with all the different creations morphing from a pack of gum! Someone get Wrigley's ad agency on the phone!

    2 replies

    11 years ago on Introduction

    You make such awesome stuff! I always like seeing new ones of these :)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Another great Instructable. Keep up the great work, I like your friend's art. :P +1 rating.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    You certainly do like your Chewing Gum wrappers. Nice Instructable