How to Make a Rope Swing

Three Methods:Creating a Wooden SeatPreparing the RopeSecuring to a Tree

A rope swing is a good weekend project that anyone can create. There are certain things you can do to make your rope swing last generation after generation. Everyone will appreciate a comfortable rope swing over a hard to use tire swing. You’re never too old for rope swinging fun!

Method 1
Creating a Wooden Seat

  1. 1
    Gather your supplies. To create a sturdy rope swing you’ll need a 36" 2x8 wooden board. Make sure the wood you use is strong like Oak or Walnut. You’ll also need two seat reinforcements that should be the same type of wood and 4” of 2x8. For a long lasting swing, pressure treat the wood before constructing.[1] You’ll also need the following tools:
    • Saw
    • Drill
    • Nails
    • Hammer
    • Measuring tape
    • Pencil or marker
    • Lighter or matches
    • Two climbing carabiners
  2. 2
    Cut the wood. Measure 36 inches of 2x8 and mark it. Saw the main seat out of the 2x8 and then measure out two 4” blocks. Saw off your reinforcement blocks. You can also go to the hardware store with your measurements and they’ll cut the dimensions quickly.[2]
  3. 3
    Attach the reinforcements. Align the 4” blocks at the two ends of the main seat so that the corners are smooth. Position the wood so the two reinforcements are underneath the seat. Use your hammer to apply two nails on each side.[3]
    • If you want to be more secure, you can add more nails to the reinforcements.
  4. 4
    Drill the holes for the rope. Use a drill to create two ¾” holes on each side. Drill through both the seat and the reinforcements. The holes should be evenly spaced on each side. Use a marker and measuring tape to ensure you create even holes.[4]

Method 2
Preparing the Rope

  1. 1
    Acquire a rope. To create a lasting rope swing, you'll need to use a ⅝” braided hollow core polypropylene rope. This is a strong and durable rope used for climbing. You can find this style of rope at an outdoors store if you didn’t see it at the hardware store. The length of the rope depends on the height of the tree limb. For a twenty foot branch, you’ll need 80 feet of rope.
    • Make sure you buy braided rope![5]
  2. 2
    Keep the rope from unraveling. Cut out two five foot strands of rope and heat each end with a lighter until they begin to melt. Stop heating once they begin to melt. Thread one end through the top and make an overhand knot underneath the seat. Repeat this with the opposite end of the rope into the open hole on that side.[6]
    • Do this to both sides of your seat. The result will be two hoops secured onto the seat.
  3. 3
    Attach a carabiner. Make sure you use a climbing carabiner and attach one to each side of the seat. This will attach the seat to the ropes that are secured to the tree.[7]

Method 3
Securing to a Tree

  1. 1
    Find a tree. Scout your property for a good sized tree and make sure it is sturdy. Look for thick tree branches that extend at least 15 feet from the ground. Make sure the tree is in good health and can take the strain of a rope swing.
    • You don’t have to use a ladder to tie the knots.[8]
  2. 2
    Measure the rope. Once you’ve found a good branch, you need to measure the height from where the swing will hang. You need to leave three feet of slack for knots. Once you’ve measured how long each rope should be, cut two identical strands of rope.[9]
  3. 3
    Tie a double-bowline knot. This is a common knot for creating a rope swing. Create two small coils close to each other and then layer them on top of each other. Thread the closest edge of the rope through the two coils. Then swing that edge around the rope above the two coils and thread it back through the coils.
    • Open up the hole underneath the coils and secure the knot that the coils have created.[10]
    • You’ll need to make this knot for each strand of rope.
  4. 4
    Secure the knot to the tree branch. Toss the knotted edge over the branch you’ve selected. Pass the other end of the string through the hole and tighten it until the knot is in place on the branch. Repeat this process to the other rope.
    • Adjust your rope into the right position before tightening.
  5. 5
    Complete the rope swing. Once the two ropes are in the proper place, tie an additional double-bowline knot onto the dangling rope. Once you’ve secured the two holes, attach the two carabiners to the ropes end. You should now have a balanced and sturdy rope swing.[11]


  • Supervise your children if you think they should be supervised while playing on a rope swing.
  • Ensure that the tree branch is living and sturdy.

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Categories: Backyard Games | Outdoor Play Equipment