How to Make a Classic Tree Swing

In just an afternoon, you can create a classic tree swing for the whole family to enjoy from a simple plank of wood.
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Materials Needed:

  • 5/4"-thick pressure-treated deck board
  • (2) 3/16 eyehooks
  • (2) 3/16 bolts
  • (2) 3/16 washers
  • (2) 5/16 quick links
  • approximately 40' of metal chain
  • flat finish white spray paint
  • miter box saw
  • drill fitted with 3/8" drill bit
  • blowtorch for antiquing wood (optional)
  • measuring tape
  • pencil
  • chain or bolt cutter

Select Wood Then Measure and Cut

Pick up a 5/4-inch-thick piece of pressure-treated decking board from the home improvement store. Other woods with similar thickness will work but decking is one of the most affordable, sturdy and readily available types of wood. Using a tape measure, mark 20 inches from the edge of plank with pencil, then cut board using a miter box saw (Image 1).

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Mark Then Drill Holes for Hanging

Using a pencil, mark the board 2 3/4 inches from top to bottom and 1 inch in from the board's cut edge to create a crosshair (Image 1). This is where the eyehook will be attached to secure chain. Repeat on the opposite side. Drill a hole straight through the board in the center of the mark using a 3/8" drill bit. Repeat on the opposite side (Image 2).

Paint Board Then Antique Wood

Use a flat finish white spray paint to lightly cover both sides of the board; paint should be light enough that you can still see wood grain. Optional: Once paint has fully dried, slowly sweep the blowtorch across the board to brown the paint for an antiqued look (Image 2).

Attach Eyehooks

Secure 3/16 eyehooks in each hole with washer and bolt. The opening of the eyehook should face the board's cut edge.

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Measure Then Cut Chain

Determine the length of chain needed by measuring from the tree branch to the ground using a measuring tape. With the chain securely looped around the branch, measure 20 inches up from the ground on one side of the chain and cut using chain or bolt cutter. Measure the other side of chain then cut so the two chains are level. Tip: A height of 20 inches is ideal for kids and adults of average height but adjust these measurements to suit your family.

Attach Chain and Test Swing

Attach both chains to the board with a 5/16 quick link (Image 1). Before letting kids use the swing, have an adult test it out first.

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