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Turn an Old Chair into a Beautiful Swing
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Turn an Old Chair into a Beautiful Swing

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Like most DIYers, I hate wasting good things. When a piece of furniture breaks, like this dinner chair, it’s often tempting to just throw it out. Instead, Amy at This DIY Life knew it would make the perfect backyard attraction to hang from their old maple tree and be a hit with her nieces and nephews.

Removing the legs and painting the chair was the easy part but hanging it securely from the tree took a little trial and error. It turns out that simply throwing some rope over a tree branch can seriously damage the tree. Luckily, one of the experts at This Old House had helped another reader with this same dilemma.

How to Hang a Tree Swing

The first step is to find a strong branch at least 8 inches in diameter where the swing can hang at least 3 feet from the trunk. But hanging your swing too far out overstresses the branch and it could eventually snap off so keep it closer to the base. Use 5/8-inch or larger stainless steel eye bolts and drill holes through the limb to install them. Secure your eye bolts with a large washer and 2 nuts. The second nut locks the first one into place. You’ll need a thimble to tie a “bowline” knot to the eye bolt.

How to Hang a Swing from a Tree

The next step is securing the rope to the chair so it swings in a stable manner. Amy’s husband drilled 2 holes through the top of the chair’s back, 2 on the back of the seat that matched the ones on the chair back and 2 on the front of the seat. Pull the rope through the holes until the chair is 1-2 feet off the ground and tilt the chair back so it is reclined a bit. Amy discovered that without a bit of a recline the chair tips forward and you slide right off. Tie a large knot on each rope under the chair and cut off the excess.

For less than $30, Amy and her husband created a one-of-a-kind piece for their backyard and share fond memories every summer. The adults even manage to get their turn on the swing too!

For more details and photos: Amy | Just-a-Swingin’ | This DIY Life