We’re swinging!

I’m pretty sure I mentioned a DIY project for the kids Christmas present? More than a month later I’ll tell you about it shall I?

There are a dwindling number of old nail boxes in Andre’s garage and I’m doing my best to wrangle them out of there for higher purposes. I’ve sidelined three of ’em for my gardening supplies and managed to empty another into a junky old red tub and promote it to chief swing.

As you can imagine, Andre wasn’t having anything to do with it so for once he let me be with the drill and hacksaw, so be I did.

Here’s my supplies for turning one old nail box into the coolest kids swing in the ‘hood.


My first step as paranoia mama was to strengthen all joints with way too many screws. I just want to swing my kids, not take them to A&E.


Then, with chubby legs in mind I measured out some leg holes.


With corner holes drilled I got the coping saw sawing (the least fun part) but halfway down I ran into a problem… ie. the top of the box/swing. Hence the saw blade duct taped between two pieces of scrap timber. Even less fun going with that flexi blade that kept jamming. Still no help from Andre (fair enough… he was busy welding the gate frame). Haha… look at all those screws! It looks like I was trying to bling this swing but I promise it’s all about safety first.


Muttering… perseverance… more muttering…. more perseverance… and two chubby leg holes got done! I filed off the edges a bit so they weren’t all rough and nasty. Those chubby legs are precious.


Aaahh lookee who we have here now for the fun part?! It’s not every day you get to drill through a tree branch. Actually I was just too short for this – I got to swing off the branch instead as an attempt at creating some resistance for the drill to get through.


Two eye bolts later and we have one tree ready for hanging a swing. As ruthless as this method may seem it is apparently the kindest way to hang a swing from a tree. Drilling right through a branch damages it less than tying rope around it. Ring bark is just not nice.


Because this little project (of mine) was so much more awesome than building fences Andre couldn’t give it up now so he carried on with drilling into the swing to attach the rope. Mama’s second safety request was that the rope run twice under the bottom of the swing as backup to those blinging screws. Phew! To provide maximum in-swing room (comfort is second after safety) we opted to run the rope down the outside of the sides, loop it through the bottom corners, across the bottom and up again. Which meant drilling the bottom corners through on an angle…


Which was a bit much for the on-the-way-out cordless drill. Time to bring out the big guns:


Because it’s a skill every DIY dad needs to master Andre chose to splice the rope at the swing end. It’s also stronger than a knot (safety step #3). Splicing by YouTube:


And finally the grand hanging…


And maiden voyage!


Sheer delight! I think she was copying my face!


Update: If you’ve come here via Apartment Therapy or Flipboard, welcome! If you want to see some more DIY projects for kids, we’ve also made an Eames style kids table, an easy sandpit (and again!) and a truly gorgeous play kitchen. Thanks for looking!


9 thoughts on “We’re swinging!

  1. miss browne design

    cool!! we currently have a no swing no slide playgym that ryan built as the old slide gifted to us by our neighbours finally rusted out, and the swing (seat made from many layers of lino) was taken down in favour of a bar for no. 1 to practice her budding gymnast moves on. that came down because no. 3 could also reach it with a stool then was too petrified to drop off – not too keen on running outside 5 times a day to rescue him!! will need a rethink on the swing – at least the playgym still has a climbing wall on one side though, otherwise it’d just be a weathered A-frame sculpture in the backyard!! love how happy miss e is!

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