Swinging fun DIY

 

We installed a couple of simple swings for the children and I wanted to share how we made them. A friend suggested swings to me as a good thing for certain of my children who seem to need a lot of physical attention.  Of course, like any plaything it’s sometimes great and sometimes a source of utter contention, but in general it’s been a good addition to our home, and it’s very easy to confiscate and subsequently replace, which is important to me, especially when I hear myself saying “Take turns on the swing!” for the fifth time in an hour.

I try to find a $1-2/yard deal on KNIT fabric and get 3-5 yards. I have one swing that’s about 2 yards (looped, so it hangs down 1 yard) because it is over a bunk bed, and one that is about 4 yards (looped, hanging down 2 yards) in the family room. Keep in mind when in use, it will be much lower, so it still needs to clear the floor and any objects underneath it. I guess about 1.5 x the hanging length is a good estimate, depending on how stretchy the fabric is. I’m not exact on this, since I usually just eyeball it.

I use some rings that are meant for making maya type ring slings (I get mine at slingrings.com -the large size) and just to be cautious I use 2 together. I then loop the entire width of knit fabric through both rings and sew a 1″ french seam stitching the two ends of the fabric together. This is usually about 60″ wide so it’s quite a long seam. I then stitch the french seam down to the fabric in about 2-3 zigzag rows for security.

Now the swing part is complete, and here are instructions from Handyman Dave on how to install it.

1. Locate position on ceiling joist approximately 60″ from walls.

2. Using a 1/4″ drill bit, drill a hole about 2″ deep into the joist. Make sure the hole is as close to vertical as possible and as close to the centre of the joist as possible.

3. Insert a 3/8″ x 2″ eye lag screw until eyelet is completely flush with drywall. Use a long pipe inserted into the eyelet (3/4″ pipe works perfectly) as a cheater bar to tighten lag screw completely.

4. Once the eye lag screw is inserted, attach a carabiner to the eyelet. Both the eyelet and the carabiner should have a working load limit of at least 225 lbs.

If you can’t use a carabiner, then an S-hook will work fine:

 

5. Attach the fabric with the two (2) metal rings to the carabiner and you’re done.

 

Cost:

Rings: about $10 or cannibalize from an old ring sling

Knit Fabric: $5-10 depending on sales

Eye lag screw: $2-3 at the hardware store

Carabiner: $2-3 at the hardware store

 

So it’s possible to make yourself one of these for under $25.

Common sense safety disclaimers:

Obviously playing with these can lead to a fall, or kicking a sibling in the face. Use caution and supervision.

I keep mine high enough that the younger kids need to be helped into it, so supervision is sort of self-enforced that way. At the same time, it’s low enough for them to touch their feet to the floor when holding on to the bottom of the swing, so they can let themselves out carefully.

Keep an eye out for wear or holes in the fabric.

It’s important to keep the weight evenly distributed (not standing, for example) so that holes and tears and subsequent falls are avoided.

Put the eye lag screw in as straight  (perpendicular to floor) as possible and screwed in as far as it will go. Otherwise the not-so-strong part of the screw will take the brunt of the weight and possibly shear off. Don’t ask me how I know this.

One kid at a time is also a good rule. Again, don’t ask how I know.

Let me know if you try it!

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