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DIY Tree Swing

Boy on tree swing

Building your own DIY tree swing will give you a great excuse to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air! They’re fun for the whole family and can easily be built in a day or less. We’ll show you everything you’ll need and give you step-by-step instructions to create your very own swing.

Skill Level: Intermediate
  1. Step 1 Choose the Spot for your Tree Swing

    Tree in field

    When selecting a spot for your new swing, pick an area that is free of obstruction and rocks. This ensures that no one gets hurt while swinging or jumping off the seat.

    Next, find a sturdy, healthy branch at least eight to 10 inches in diameter on a strong, healthy hardwood tree. Make sure it’s no more than 10 to 15 feet above the ground and long enough to have the swing seat at least 3 feet from the trunk of the tree.

  2. Step 2 Create your Seat Board

    Woman cutting wood board

    Using pressure-treated hardwood like cedar or oak, cut a 2-foot long 2 x 8-inch seat. Be sure to use hardwood as softer wood like pine may split under pressure.

  3. Step 3 Shape the Swing Seat

    Shape the Swing Seat

    To make the swing more comfortable, you can round the corners of the seat. Find a circular object like a paint can or spray bottle and trace around the edge, then use a jigsaw to cut the rounded edge.

    Once you’ve got the shape you like, measure 2 inches from either side of the board, find the center and drill two 5/8-inch holes for the rope to go through and tie off.

  4. Step 4 Sand and Paint your Swing Seat

    Person sanding the swing seat

    With your seat shaped and drilled, sand it smooth, making sure to get all the edges and the tops and bottoms of the holes you drilled for the rope. This will ensure that no one gets a splinter while using it.

    Once it’s sanded, you can either stain it for a natural finish, or prime and paint with an exterior paint in any colour you like to really make it unique.

  5. Step 5 Hang the Chains

    Chain around a tree

    To hang the swing, you’ll need two 1/4-inch galvanized or stainless-steel chains. Measure the circumference of the branch and add three inches to get the length you’ll need. Leave a few extra links in the chains in case the branch grows. This will allow you to adjust them later. Then use two 5/16-inch galvanized or stainless-steel anchor shackles with screw pins. They will help lessen the stress on the rope and make it easier to move the swing later if needed. Attach the chains at least 20 inches apart on the branch.

  6. Step 6 Prepare the Rope


    Now it’s time to add the rope. Use 100 feet of 5/8-inch diameter, hollow-core braided polypropylene rope for the swing, something with a little grip that can be held onto firmly. You'll also need two 5/8-inch fender washers.

    Attach each end of the rope to each anchor shackle and adjust the rope so the center hits the ground. From the ground, pull the ropes to make sure the knots will hold and that the chains on the branch don’t move around.

    Locate the middle of the rope and cut through it with a utility knife and melt the rope end with a lighter so it so it won’t fray. Use the 5/8-inch fender washers and place them underneath each hole in the board and thread the ends of the ropes through the holes and the washers. Tie secure knots at each end of the rope so the swing hangs about two feet off the ground.

  7. Step 7 Test your Swing for Safety

    Woman on tree swing

    Make sure that both sides of the seat are level and equal distances from the ground. Sit on the seat to ensure it bears weight and have a swing in it. This will tighten the rope knots and set them. You can now enjoy your new DIY tree swing!

What You Need for This Project

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