girl and dog on a swing

DIY Pallet Swing Project: Do it this weekend!

We have a big beautiful tree in our yard close to the garden. From the first time I saw it, I knew that some sort of swing belonged there. It looks like the perfect spot for making tons of childhood memories. I had to do something about the great big branch with nothing hanging from it. Time for a DIY pallet swing project!

Luckily, my Dad has a giant stack of wood pallets just sitting around, waiting for someone to turn them into something new.

A pallet platform swing! Perfect! I can just see myself lazily swinging in the summer breeze, ice-cold strawberry lemonade in hand, while my children weed the garden, feed the animals and fan me, well, either that or my 2-year old getting hit in the head when the swinging gets out of control.

Get Swing-ing!

First I sanded the pallet. Rough edges and splinters won’t do. I recommend a palm sander for this, but since our useless farm dog chewed up the cord on mine, I used a belt sander…. Until the belt broke. Hand sanding it is!

After spending waaay too long smoothing out the old rough pallet, I ran down to my local hardware store to grab the rest of the items I needed. Here’s what we used:

DIY Supplies

After the sanding marathon was complete, I got busy painting the pallet. It’s amazing what a fresh layer of paint will do to transform an old wood pallet and help protect it from the elements for years to come.

I gave my hubby the privilege of scaling the wobbly extension ladder that was leaned precariously against our chosen tree branch, while small children repeatedly attempted to climb up behind him to “help”. While balanced at the top, he drilled 2 – 7/32″ pilot holes in the underside of the branch, about the same width as the pallet, ours was 48″ wide.

After the holes were drilled, we attached the i-hooks to the tree. The first few twists were easy, but you’ll want a screwdriver or something similar to use for extra leverage when screwing in the hooks, because lets face it, no one wants one of those suckers coming out mid-swing.

Next up, tie on the rope. I wish I could give you the fancy name of the complicated knot I used to tie the rope to the hook, but I’m pretty sure there’s not a name for it. Any 9-year-old boy-scout will probably laugh at the knot tying standards we set around here. The ropes aren’t coming off, that’s what really matters. You might want to do some user testing on this part before inviting your mother-in-law to try it out.

After you’ve cut and tied 4 strands of rope that reach from your tree branch down to the ground, make sure to melt the ends to avoid any pesky rope unraveling. Any standard lighter will do the trick for this part.

Finishing up

After your painted pallet is nice and dry, you’ll need to drill some holes in it. A 5/8″ hole in a sturdy spot near each corner of your pallet will work just fine. Next, set the pallet on a level box or upside-down bucket where you want to hang it. Feed the rope through the holes you’ve drilled. Then tie some sort of boy-scout approved knot to keep the rope from coming back through the hole. Adjust the height of your knots to level the swing.

Voila! DIY pallet swing project done. Now, just put a kid on it and give it a great big push while you go fix yourself some well-deserved strawberry lemonade.