Hanging a tire swing | Living the Country Life

Hanging a tire swing

This will get the kids outside

We put up a tire swing on a big tree in our back yard and the kids were on it for hours. We used an old tractor tire, but that's not the only option anymore.

Barbara Butler designs and builds outdoor play structures, and says you don't have to resort to old tires if you're not comfortable with that.

"You can buy tires just for swinging nowadays, they're either real rubber tires that are cleaned, or you can also buy these plastic fake tires that are really nice, the kids love them," says Butler. "But, you know, if you're going to use a regular old around-the-property tire, the thing to do is clean it really well first."

If the tire isn't cleaned, your kids will come in the house filthy and smelling like rubber. Also don't forget to drill a few holes through the bottom of the tire so the rain doesn't collect in it.

Choosing the right rope for the swing is important. Butler suggests natural manila because it holds up well and the kids will feel like they're pirates. It should also have a large diameter, around one-and-a-half-inches.
Over time the rope will start to fray where it's attached to the tree branch. You can help it last longer – and preserve the bark on the tree – with a piece of rubber over the branch.  

"What I do is take an inner tube and cut it and lay it flat on the branch, like a pad, and then I tack that to the tree branch with some small nails. Then your rope goes over top of that," says Butler. "And then when the rope wears, it's wearing on the rubber, not on the tree branch."

How your tire swings is your preference. Some people like to hang it vertically with the rider sitting on top of it or on his belly through the hole. Others will hang it horizontally, supported by three ropes attached to the branch.

You'll need a soft landing pad, so lay down some mulch and make sure there aren't any hard or sharp objects on the ground.

Find more tips for hanging a tire swing

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