Riding a rope swing brings back so many great memories from childhood. And I bet you want your kids to experience that feeling of exhilaration of flying though the air on a rope.
There are several parts to a rope swing. All of them are important, but the most important for making sure your rider stays on is the seat.
There are few ways you can make a seat for your rope swing. You can tie a knot on the rope to make a seat. You can use a wood plank tied on both ends or with a hole through the middle. The third option is to make a round wood seat for your rope swing. A fourth option is to tie a stick to the end of your swing to use as a seat.
In this article we are going to discuss how to make all of these seats.
How to tie a rope only swing seat
A rope only swing seat is a great option if you have older kids who can already hold onto the rope while they’re swinging back and forth. You also only need a rope and master a few knotting skills to make this happen.
If you want a rope swing with the rope as the seat, you will have to use thick rope. 3 inch manila rope will work well for this type of rope swing.
To tie your rope swing seat, an overhand knot near the end of your rope. Leave a 12 inch tail to allow for possible slippage.
How to make a wooden swing seat
A wooden tree swing seat is a classic. It’s fun and enjoyable for both kids and adults if built properly.
A wood plank with rope tied on both ends
To make the seat, you need a 2-inch by 10-inch by 22-inch board.
Start by trimming the rough edge of the board. Then, sand the board to make sure that it's smooth and comfortable to sit on.
Mark the locations of your four 1-inch holes where the 3/4-inch rope will go. These holes should be about 2 inches from the edges of the board. Basically, you are putting a hole in each corner of the board. Drill these holes and sand the top and bottom edges. Round all the sharp edges of the seat.
If you choose to paint the seat, you need to apply one coat of primer, let it dry and sand out any uneven spots. Then, you can apply two coats of paint to make your wooden seat pretty. Some people also just leave their wooden seat as is or apply some wood varnish to make them shiny.
A wood plank with a hole in the middle
You will see the piece of wood with a hole through the middle more than any other seat for a rope swing.
Start by cutting a piece of 2x4 16 inches long. Drill a one inch hole through the middle. Next, sand all of the sides and round the edges. Follow the instructions for painting above if you want a painted surface.
Finally, pass your rope through the hole and tie a single overhand knot or a double overhand knot. Leave a 12 inch tail below the knot. Tie an addition over hand knot about 3 inches below the knot that is holding the seat in place. This is a stopper knot in case the first knot fails to hold the rider.
You can also tie a knot before passing the rope through the 2x4. Then, once you have slide the rope through the 2x4, you can push the 2x4 up to the top knot and secure the bottom with another knot.
How to make a round wooden swing seat
A round wooden swing is another classic addition to your backyard. It’s perfect if your kids are already big enough to hold onto the swing safely. A round swing is a lot safer than the rope only swing since your kids can sit on something larger while swinging back and forth.
To make the round wooden swing seat, you’ll need to cut a 12 to 14-inch wide circle from a ¾ inch plywood. You’ll also need to cut a second circle that’s half the size of the first disk. You will use this to make your round seat more stable and strong once you attach it to the rope.
Sand both disks to smooth out any rough spots. Then, you need to drill a 1 inch hole through the center of both disks. You also need to drill four 3/32 inch holes about ½ inch from the edges on the smaller disk.
You then need to use a 3/8 inch drill bit to drill only ¼ inch deep into the four holes to countersink the screws so it’s easier to plug the holes. To make sure that you don’t go into deep, you can practice on scrap wood first. You can use a drill press to avoid drilling deeper than you would like or buy a drill bit with a countersink on it.
Once all the holes are drilled, you can join the two disks together by applying a thin layer of wood glue to the underside of the smaller disk. Make sure that both holes on the center of the two disks are properly aligned as you glue the two pieces together.
Insert the screws on all four holes and clamp the two disks together for a few hours to make sure that they are perfectly glued together. After the disk is ready, you can opt to paint it or just leave it as is.
Then, tie an overhand knot in your rope swing. Leave a 22 inch tail below this first knot. Then pass the rope through the round swing seat. Butt the round wooden swing seat up against the first knot. Be sure that the larger disk of the seat is on top.
Next, tie another overhand knot below the seat. Finally, about 3 inches below the other bottom knot, tie a overhand knot to act as a fail safe.
Use a stick as a rope swing seat
The final option for your rope swing seat is to tie a stick to the end of your rope. This option gives you a wider seat than a rope only seat. It is also just as easy to tie a knot to secure the stick to your rope.
The first thing you need to do is make sure your stick is strong enough to support the load you will place on it. A 2 inch dowel made of hardwood should be strong enough to support a single rider on your rope swing according to a report written by a faculty member at Perdue.
To secure your stick to your rope as a seat tie a swing hitch knot around your stick. You can find an animated tutorial on tying a swing hitch not at http://howset.com/animated_show/swing-hitch/.
Wooden swing seat dimensions
You need to decide on the proper dimensions of your wooden swing seat depending on who will use it. The standard dimensions for a swing that can be used by both kids and adults is 17 to 22 inches long by 8 or 10 inches wide by 1 to 2 inches deep.
But if you’re building a wooden swing seat for a toddler, it needs to be a bit smaller at 12 inches long by 8 inches wide.
How to hang a rope for a rope swing
Start by choosing the right tree limb to hang your rope swing. It should be at least 8 inches in diameter to support the extra weight without breaking off. From that limb, take your measurement to know how long the rope needs to be.
Make sure that there is enough space from the ground to the bottom of the swing to prevent it from touching the ground.
Make a bowline knot on one end of the rope. Throw the rope over the tree limb. Then pass the end of the rope with no knot on it through the loop formed by the bowline knot. Pull the through the knot until the knot rises to the limb and is secure against the limb. There should not be any play between the rope and the limb.
If you are hang a rope swing with a seat that needs two ropes, repeat the process of hanging a rope again.
Finally, tie your seat to your rope using the steps provide in each of the seat sections above.