Every kid deserves a swing, and this version can be used inside or even moved for people like us who live in a rental.
Atti’s favorite activity in therapy, hands down, is getting to go on the swing. That was one of the first requests he was able to make – right after “Cheerios?” it was “Swing?” and he’s absolutely shameless about flirting with his therapists and begging for swing time after the tiniest amount of work. Luckily he’s now progressed to the point where the swing is really beneficial for him and not just pure playtime, as he struggles to maintain his balance in a sitting position and even works on using his legs to push.
Of course, like everything therapeutic, buying a swing of our own was nearly impossible. We’re talking more expensive than my car. And after searching and searching I couldn’t find a typical swingset that didn’t need to be cemented into the ground, which wouldn’t work for our rental. So I figured I better make something.
A 2 ft by 2 ft square of plywood. This is easy to find in the scrap cuts available at your home improvement store. I always have them cut it for me right there.
3 10 ft conduit pipes, available in the electrical department. I used 1″ pipes, but whatever you use, just make sure you’re consistent.
2 conduit elbow pipes, in the same size as your straight pipes
4 couplers, same size as above
2 5/16″ carriage bolts and nuts
2 5/16″ eye bolts and nuts
about 10 feet of rope
upholstering supplies – batting and vinyl to cover board
primer and spray paint
a saw or pipe scorer
drill with a 5/16″ bit and a 1/2″ bit
Using the 1/2″ drill bit, drill a hole in each corner of your plywood, about 3/4″ in from each edge. The exact placement isn’t important as long as you’re consistent in all four corners to keep the swing balanced.
Cover the swing with your vinyl and staple in place. I used a leftover piece of vinyl from another project to make sure I covered up every inch of the plywood. I want to keep this as safe from sprinkler damage as I can.
Cut a hole in the vinyl by jabbing a pair of scissors through where your drilled hole is. The vinyl stretches easily so I didn’t need to cut any away, and that leaves a little more coverage against the elements. Thread your rope through and tie a big knot on the bottom.
Now it’s time to make the frame. Cut your pipes so that you have four legs 5 ft tall, and one crosspiece 6 ft long. Another set of hands makes a world of difference as you try to cut through without it wiggling away from you.
Drilling the holes is the hardest part of this whole project. Get a strong drill bit and then drill slower than you would normally. That was a tip from the guy at Home Depot. The harder the substance you’re drilling, the slower you go. Be patient, it will work.
In each elbow piece, drill a hole down all the way through the center. It’s really important that these holes line up cleanly, so drill straight through the pipe instead of trying to match up a top and bottom hole.
In your crosspiece, drill a hole about 3/4″ in from each edge, and then two holes for the bolts that will hold your swing, all the way through the pipe. You’ll want to triple measure to make sure these are centered with the width of your seat fitting evenly between the frame. Trust your own measurements, but it’s roughly 24″ in from each edge.
Now it’s time for assembly. Take one of your carriage bolts and thread it through one of the elbow pipes, and then through one of the end holes on your crosspiece. Tighten with a wrench as tight as you can, this will make a big difference in the stability of the swingset. (Don’t worry about your paint job, just give it a touch up when you’re all assembled.)
Since Atti’s little and not very active, I took a couple of short cuts. If you want to make sure the swing will hold up to a climbing kid, I’d not only drill holes in the legs to make the couplers fit tight, but I’d also add another couple of crosspieces supporting the legs, installed with a couple of bolts just like the top crosspiece.
I left the swing pretty low to the ground since Atti’s working on pushing with his feet, but as soon as I’m ready to raise it I can just untie those knots and use a little less rope.
This swing is pretty much what we use in therapy, but I think it would be perfect for any kid who needs a swing on a smaller scale. Now that fall is here and playing outside won’t be an option for much longer, this is a great addition to a playroom without having to drill holes in ceiling studs. It’s an indoor/outdoor swing that any kid will love.
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