Installing a Horse Tire Tree Swing

What You'll Need
Old tire
Poster board
Razor Knife
Nuts and bolts
Drill and bits
Nylon rope

An old tire hung from a tree with simple rope is good for hours of summer fun for kids, but with a little more work you can give them a more unique toy. The finished product looks amazing, but this DIY isn't all that difficult.

And the Horse You Rode In On

You don’t even have to be a great artist to turn an ordinary tire into a horse tire swing. You just need the right tools.

Step 1 - Find a Tire

This might be the hardest part because you don't want a steel belted tire. They're too hard to cut and the finished product would have dangerously sharp edges. Find a non steel belted tire from a trailer or off road vehicle.

Step 2 - Trace and Draw

Trace the outer and inner circle of the tire on a piece of poster board. The stiffness of the paper makes the template more durable, and poster board comes in large sizes that are big enough to accommodate a tire.

The space between the two circles is where you’ll draw your entire design. Once the design is cut it will be pulled out and up, but you’ll draw the design in a bent position. Image the horse bent down into a U shape, and draw the head, ears and tail. Don’t get too intricate, because you have to cut out this design in the actual tire, not just on paper.

Cut out the template and tape it down on the tire. You can glue the template down, but you’re going to have to remove it later so keep this in mind.

Step 3 - Cut Out the Tire

Use a razor knife to cut into the tire, using the template as your guide. You want to cut through both sidewalls evenly to get the right shape. With a 1/4-inch bit, drill matching holes on either side of the nose, cheek, neck, belly, rump and tail.

Step 4 - Turn It Inside-Out

Starting with the head, turn the whole thing inside-out. This is very difficult, and requires a generous amount of force. You may need to enlist someone’s aid to complete this step. Secure it with 1/4-inch bolts through the holes you drilled as you flip, and watch the horse take shape.

The joints of the tire will work against you, particularly along the head and neck. Use a bolt through the nose and cheek to hold the design. Insert a bolt in the neck. Bolt it again along the belly and rump of the horse. Pull the end of the tail back toward the base, and use a bolt to secure this loop. Cap your bolts so they won’t harm anyone.

Step 5 - Add the Rope and Reins

Thread a length of rope through the tail. Thread a second piece of rope through the top of the head. Place a bolt here to make the design sturdier. Add the horse’s reins. A loop of rope or any sturdy strip of material will do for this.

Step 6 - Pick the Right Tree

Prepare to hang the tire swing. For any type of tire swing, you want to choose a hardwood tree. An ash, maple or oak is appropriate. Look for a branch that’s 8 inches in diameter at least, and at least 9 feet off the ground. The branch shouldn’t jut out from the trunk in a V-shape. You’re looking for a branch with an L-shape connection. The branch must also be long enough so the swing can be hung with at least 6 feet of clear space around it on all sides. The swing should be 6 feet away from the trunk as well.

Step 7 - Hang the Swing

Hang the horse swing. Drill a hole through the tree limb, then attach an eyebolt. Secure the bolt with a washer and nut. Secure the swing with sturdy nylon rope, and attach it to your eyebolt.

Better-Looking Swinging

Use your creativity and DIY skills you've created a better-looking tire swing, and your yard will be the talk of the neighborhood. With just a few more steps, you have a swing the kids will remember for a long, long time.

Photo by Tom Check